About four minutes into Maryland men's basketball's 74-68 loss to Michigan State, Spartans forward Jaren Jackson collected a pair of offensive rebounds before guard Dion Wiley fouled him.
When the whistle blew and the Terps moved toward their huddle, assistant coach Bino Ranson yelled "Box him out!" and head coach Mark Turgeon looked toward his players and tossed his hands in the air.
Keeping No. 6 Michigan State off the offensive glass was "No. 1 on our scouting report," Turgeon said, but the Spartans had three in the first five minutes. By the final buzzer, they'd matched their season high with 19, including a few down the stretch that secured backbreaking second chances and prevented Maryland from executing a comeback in the final minutes.
"We just couldn't get a rebound," Turgeon said. "That's the game … A lot it's the size and athleticism they have, but other times it was just that we didn't get it done."
Leading by four points with about two minutes left, two offensive rebounds from Spartans forward Nick Ward extended a Michigan State possession to nearly 50 seconds, squeezing precious time off Maryland's comeback effort.
The Terps cut the lead to two points with 1:16 remaining when Michigan State forward Miles Bridges missed a jumper that could've given Maryland a chance to tie the game. Instead, Spartans guard Joshua Langford corralled the miss, was fouled by guard Anthony Cowan and drained both free throws to give Michigan State a two-possession lead.
"In the last two minutes, [they wanted it more] 100 percent," guard Kevin Huerter said. "Those are three rebounds that, if we want to win games, we gotta come up with. No excuses."
Maryland is smaller than it was entering the year due to season-ending injuries to forwards Justin Jackson and Ivan Bender, cratering its chances to contest inside against talented bigs like Ward and Bridges.
Center Michal Cekovsky and forward Bruno Fernando, meanwhile, were riddled with foul trouble, as they've been for much of Big Ten play.
"We have however many guys we have right now, and that's who we've got to win with," Huerter said. "We're good enough to win with the people we have now."
On Sunday, however, the Terps didn't maintain the level they needed to upset the Spartans. They allowed 10 second-chance points after halftime. Some were the result of multiple men contesting shooters and leaving the glass unguarded, a sign of the dribble penetration Michigan State was utilizing.
"When you're scrambling, you don't rebound as well," Turgeon said. "The no box-outs finally caught up with us."
Other instances, though, the team blamed on a lack of effort, a head-scratching explanation for a team still in need of a statement win to help its case for an NCAA tournament bid.
"We have to want it a little bit more and want to win these games because we're right there," Huerter said. "We're losing the same way. It's all the little stuff."