COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WDVM) – Coming into the day, senior guard Darryl Morsell was a game-time decision for the Terrapins’ game against Michigan State.
Not only would Darryl start the game later that afternoon, but would hit the first shot for the Terps; sparking an early 11-0 run for Maryland, and shutting Michigan State out for the first five minutes of the game.
“I wanted to play.” said senior guard Darryl Morsell. “Wanted to be out there with my guys.”
“We had to hit them first, you let them hit you first; it’ll be a long game.” said Darryl. “So for us, to find rhythm, get some shots early; it was big. But I think our defense needs to continue buying into.”
“Our defense was shot out a cannon, at the start of the game.” said Head Coach Mark Turgeon. “We were really good defensively, probably for thirty six minutes today. So, is it our best all around performance? I think we’ve had some really good ones. I think offensively, we’ve gotten a lot better, that’s really what’s made us.”
Darryl Morsell would finish the game with 11 points, three rebounds, a block, and a steal; as he adds to his case for the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year award.
Maryland relied on their defensive pressure through the entire game, building and maintaining their lead, without giving it up once against the Spartans. They outrebounded Michigan State, 28-20; as Coach Turgeon says their larger wings helped with that against an atypical lineup for the Spartans, who played with four guards on the court.
“It’s crazy though, cause we had some rim protectors, with Bruno [Fernandez] and Stix [Jalen Smith]. said Darryl, “But I think on ball defense, just straight up guarding the ball; I think this team is the best at it.”
“As a team, that’s what we count on going into games.” said junior guard Eric Ayala.
Eric Ayala lead the way for the Terrapins on the scoresheet, with 22 points; including a perfect 13 of 13 from the free throw line.
“I was impressed with myself on the defensive end.” said Eric Ayala. “Just moving my feet, and I was able to beat a couple guys to the spot. I got some guys on ball, I got some guys helping my shots, you know it was definitely a well rounded performance. Not getting awfully excited, there’s definitely a bigger picture. It’s just one stepping stone, we’re trying to do. I want to keep winning.”
“We’ve got some guys who have been here before.” said Darryl. “Our whole starting five was on the championship team last year. Who won a whole bunch of close games. So we’ve def got guys who knows what it takes to get it done.”
The Terrapins will have to get it done on Wednesday, when they travel to face Northwestern on the road.