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'Everybody knows what's at stake' as Terps continue push for NCAA Tournament

Maryland hosts Michigan State on Sunday
Eric Ayala
Posted at 4:05 PM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 16:05:52-05

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The University of Maryland men's basketball team knows there is a path to the madness. Its quest to get there continues this weekend.

"No room for error. No room for excuses. Everybody knows what’s at stake. Everybody wants to pay in the tournament," said Terps guard and leading scorer Eric Ayala.

To earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tourney the Terps (14-10, 8-9) need to finish strong. They have three regular season games to go.

"The sense of urgency to win games has definitely been in the air," added Ayala.

That urgency is apparent on the defensive side of the ball. Maryland has been suffocating teams as of late. That formula has led to four straight wins.

"Just with our chemistry, I think we trust each other on the defensive end. Everybody is buying in. We are all on one page," said Ayala. "We lack size so it’s even more important for us to be in the right positions and the right spots for us to be successful on the defensive end."

They’ll need to bring their best Sunday when they host Michigan State at 2:00 p.m. The Spartans (13-9, 7-9) are having a down year but are coming off back-to-back wins over No. 5 Illinois on Tuesday and No. 4 Ohio State on Thursday. That’s what Sparty traditionally does late in the season.

"Their culture and reputation speaks for itself," said Ayala. "A Michigan State team is always going to come and compete."

As for Darryl Morsell there is no official word yet from the team, but according to a source he will be ready to play Sunday. The senior guard has been dealing with shoulder issues and left last Sunday’s win over Rutgers twice.

Follow Shawn Stepner on Twitter @StepnerWMAR and Facebook