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March 14, 2015

Richaud Pack

Evan Smotrycz

Mark Turgeon


Michigan State – 62
Maryland - 58

COACH TURGEON:  You hate to lose, but it was a good tournament for us.  We had great‑‑ we had a lot of people here, which was tremendous to see all the Terp fans come all the way to Chicago.  We started out great today making some shots.  They weren't making shots.  Second half we just kind of lost our rhythm.  If we just could have made a couple shots in that stretch or had a couple really good possessions in that stretch or got to the foul line, could have stemmed the tide a little bit, and I think the outcome might have been different, but we couldn't.  Give them credit.
But this has been great for us.  We played a team that plays really fast and spreads the floor in Indiana with great guards, and then we come play Michigan State who's a really physical, well‑coached team, and it's going to prepare us for what lies ahead for us next week.  We got better this weekend.  We got better this week.  I'm proud of my team.  27 wins now.  We're looking forward to what lies ahead.

Q.  Evan and Richaud, the fact that you guys have won so many close games and had that streak going of winning close games, does that make it easier to weather this one or make it harder?
EVAN SMOTRYCZ:  I mean, losing is never easy.  Like you said, we've won a lot of close games, so I think that gives us confidence moving forward, if anything.
RICHAUD PACK:  I agree with Evan.  We've won a lot of close games, and we usually make some big plays down that stretch.  We'll just try to do that moving forward.

Q.  Evan, you've matured into playing almost a point forward role at some points in the game.  Can you describe the progression this season and how well you've been handling the ball outside and those three‑pointers?
EVAN SMOTRYCZ:  Yeah, just try to give us another look, another dimension.  It's been a tough year, but just trying to make plays in March.

Q.  Richaud, you guys went about seven minutes there at the beginning of the second half without scoring.  What happened to the offense?  Was it a matter of shots not falling, or what really happened there during that drought?
RICHAUD PACK:  We were stagnant for a little bit with the lead and whatnot, and we had some shots, and we just didn't knock them down.

Q.  Evan, Coach said that this was a good tournament for you guys, prepares you for next week.  What are some of the specific things that you took out of this weekend moving forward into the NCAA Tournament?
EVAN SMOTRYCZ:  I think conditioning is a big part, that we didn't just come here and play one game.  We got to play two real good teams.  I think we get better every game, so we'll just take what we learn here and kind of translate it into practice, and hopefully continue to get better and move it into next week.

Q.  Coach, Michigan State had a bunch of big offensive put‑backs in the second half.  With Damonte Dodd being in foul trouble, was there a reason John Graham didn't get any run?
COACH TURGEON:  Coach's decision.

Q.  Can you just talk about how the world is round and things go back and forth.  Do you think that's what it was today or do you think it was something different that Michigan State made the big plays that you guys usually make?
COACH TURGEON:  One, they're really good, and Michigan State has been playing really good.  They've had a tough schedule down the stretch, and really the difference‑‑ the question he was asking is they did get some lay‑ups in the second half, second chance points and lay‑ups, and it hurt us.  We tried to spread the floor with Evan on offense but we don't rebound as well on the other end.  I think the difference was we gave them lay‑ups, staying too long on ball screens, rolling guys in for lay‑ups, and we weren't getting those in the second half.  Everything was a tough, contested shot.  We didn't get to the foul line.  When you get lay‑ups, it gives you a chance to be successful and they probably had seven or eight lay‑ups in the second half they made.

Q.  Your thoughts on Melo's development this year?
COACH TURGEON:  Melo has been terrific.  Of course he started out great, our offense was clicking early, had great spacing, we played inside out, and he made some shots.  But he's become a better leader, and I thought he really competed defensively this weekend, had to guard good players this weekend, and I thought he really competed.  It's great to see.  Happy for him.  I think he got a little bit tired.  We couldn't get him a lot of good looks.  He got a couple late, one went all the way in and came out, a big three, I think we were down one, it would have put us up two.  He's terrific.  There's a reason we're 27‑6, because we have a really good point guard.

Q.  How big was it for you to have a guy like Evan, a guy who played in this event before coming in?
COACH TURGEON:  Oh, I think experience helps.  You look at close games, coaches always have their most experienced players out there.  Tom did the same tonight.  We did it.  Did it help?  Yeah, I'm sure it helped Evan, but what helped Evan more than anything is he's feeling the best he's felt all year, physically and mentally.  He's in a good spot right now.  That's probably helped more than anything.

Q.  27‑6, obviously a great season.  Did you learn anything from the game today?  Was there anything that surprised you?  We know we had three threes go in and out, could have changed the whole thing, but was there anything else you learned?
COACH TURGEON:  Yeah, I've got to do a better job when the game is on the line, when they're making their run, getting us to the foul line or getting shots, getting Dez involved.  Give them credit, but I've just got to do a better job during that stretch, so that's what I learned.  Our half court offense has been pretty good.  It's been getting better.  So hopefully I'll learn that and I'll help get us better shots next week.

Q.  Jake seemed a little out of sorts offensively today.  Any reason for that?
COACH TURGEON:  Yeah, Michigan State is really good defensively.  They switch 1 through 4, and they're really aware of Jake, probably more so than anybody we play, and they do a great job of switching out.  Whenever we'd run a play for Jake, he looks like he's going to be open, and then all of a sudden they switch out.  They do a good job on him.  We moved him to the three one time and I thought we were going to get an open look for him.  He dribbled out of bounds.  But give them credit.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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