Fallen heroes: Jacks falls short to Maryland

The SDSU mens basketball team remained winless in the NCAA Division I Tournament Friday afternoon. As they came up short, falling to Maryland 79-74 in Spokane, WA at the Spokane Memorial Arena.

 “Really proud of our guys,” SDSU Head Coach Scott Nagy said. “I thought we competed really well the whole game.”

 The Jacks trailed by 18 points with 8:49 left in the game and would cut it to 70-59 with 3:53 left. The Jacks would then cut the lead down to 70-65 after back to back threes from senior guards George Marshall and Deondre Parks. They would then cut it all the way down to 72-70 when Marshall picked up his fifth foul on a call that most of the SDSU fans and players did not agree with.

 “Out of all the people in the gym calling this game is the job I want the least,” Nagy said. “That call was not the reason we lost the game I can tell you that.”

 Maryland led 76-74 and sophomore guard Jaylen Brantley went to the free throw line with 13 seconds left. He made one of two giving Maryland a three point lead and the Jacks a chance to send the game to overtime. Senior guard Keaton Moffitt took the ball up for the Jacks and passed into the hands of Rasheed Sulaimon who took it the other way and slammed it home to cap off the Terps 79-74 victory.

 “If I had the final play over, I would’ve called timeout,” Nagy said. “We know what play we’re running, we knew what to do, we just had some personnel in there that we don’t usually have in those situations.”

 It was a heartbreaking way to end the season for the Jacks and the careers for the four seniors and Nagy knows it.

 “I told the guys after the game this is what living feels like,” Nagy said. “When you put your heart into something sometimes it can be exhilarating, but it can also be heartbreaking which is what these guys felt today.”

Parks and Marshall we’re a big reason why the Jacks found themselves with an opportunity to send it into overtime. Parks led the Jacks with 22 points while Marshall finally started hitting some shots scoring 15.

 “I’m really proud of these guys,” Parks said. “I’m guessing a lot of people thought the game was over at one point, but we just kept fighting.”

 There is one bright spot for SDSU and that’s that they will return their leading scorer in center Mike Daum, who is only a redshirt freshman. Daum had a tough challenge going against the size of Maryland but finished with 16 points and 6 rebounds.

 “We’re losing a lot of the leadership on this team from the seniors,” Daum said. “But with us young guys, we’re just going to have to come together and work real hard in the offseason and we’ll be back at it again.”

 This was the closest the Jacks have been to winning a tournament game and Nagy feels that the seniors are leaving the program in a good place.

 “Hopefully the work that Deondre, George, Keaton, and Jake (Bittle) did have solidified that if you’re going to come here, you’re going to have a great opportunity to be successful,” Nagy said. “If you’re not tough, you’ll end up leaving here and these four seniors have done that and have been committed to our program.”

 SDSU finished the season with a 26-8 record and will start next year with the same goal. That’s to get that first NCAA Tournament victory.