The Scene After The Loss
Adrian Bowie and Eric Hayes got to do probably the last thing on Earth they wanted to do today with a collection of reporters at Comcast Center -- relive their team's shortcomings during its worst performance of the season, Sunday's loss to Georgetown.
I asked Hayes to set the scene in the team locker room in the moments immediately following the final horn. As it turns out, there wasn't much to report.
"It was pretty quiet; disbelief," Hayes said. "We couldn’t believe we’d been beat like that. I know I’ve never been beaten like that in any of my games ever in my career, so you know it was just something new for all of us cause I’m sure nobody else (on the team) has lost like that. We were pretty embarrassed by the way we played. Pretty much the whole ride back it was pretty quiet. We were all disappointed in the way we played there and it was something that you’re pretty mad about after the game, so there wasn’t much talking."
As for Coach Gary Williams's message to the team after the defeat, Hayes said it was less fire-and-brimstone and more re-affirming.
"He was disappointed in the way we played, obviously, but he just reiterated that we did beat the No. 5 team in the nation and after we did that our expectations have to be a lot higher than we showed the way we played the next two games (after beating Michigan State)," Hayes said. "He still has confidence in us. He knows we have a great opportunity coming up here against Michigan and the following games here that we can have a pretty good record heading into the break."
Bowie and Hayes both said there were no signs earlier in the day or during pregame warmups on Sunday that the team's energy level was sub-par. In fact, Bowie said he was confident each player had the necessary attitude heading out onto the court.
However, there were certain plays, Bowie said, such as Georgetown's effectiveness running backdoor screens early in the first half that indicated his initial observation of the team's energy level and focus was off.
"It wasn’t a matter of what they did because we scouted them well," Bowie said. "We had their plays down pat. It was more of us breaking down and not talking to each other, just not having the energy to play defense at the time. The backdoor cuts they had, we’ve done that in practice so we should have known they were coming and we should have had help-side defense, which we didn’t have."
Hayes agreed with Bowie's assessment of the Terps play on defense and said Maryland made the Hoyas' offensive tasks much easier to accomplish.
"We definitely knew what their offense was about and what they wanted to do," Hayes said. "For whatever reason, we weren’t as quick as we were in the Michigan State game. We weren’t pressuring the ball. They were just catching it and looking around, surveying the court without really any ball pressure. You make their offense a lot easier when you’re kind of just going with the flow with them. It’s a lot easier to work on offense when the defense is playing like that."
As for positives to be taken out of a sizable defeat, Hayes said he wasn't sure there were any at all. The one thing that should stick with the players, Hayes said, was the reason for the silence that lingered throughout the locker room and on the ride back home on Sunday evening.
"There’s not much you can draw out of that," Hayes said. "It was a pretty bad game all around for everybody. I mean, I guess you could take out of that a prime example of how not to play and how we shouldn’t play, but you know, it’s just something we look back on and just say that’s what happens when we play like that. Nobody wants to have that feeling again."
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