Maryland falls to Xavier 76-65 in first round of NCAA tournament

Despite earning a six seed from the selection committee, the Terps could not survive their first round matchup against 11 seeded Xavier, losing 76-65.

The game started with both teams under-performing on offense but the Musketeers were able to make some adjustments and pull away with a 12-0 run.  Maryland took a little longer to find their groove. By the 10 minute mark the Terps were just 2-9 from beyond the arc and were struggling as a whole on offense.

In the NCAA tournament cold streaks are unacceptable. You have to find a way to score even if you are cold and Kevin Huerter was able to do just that by getting to the free throw line on back to back possessions. These free points finally reignited the Maryland offense and brought the Terps back within two.

At the break, the Terps held a slim 36-35 lead. A quick 6-0 run, capped off by a Melo Trimble fast break steal, gave Maryland the lead. Their three-point shooting improved and Xavier turned the ball over a lot down the stretch. Both of these factors combined for a Maryland comeback and a close halftime score.

The momentum stayed in Maryland’s favor as the second half began but a 15-4 run by the Musketeers made the game neck and neck with ten minutes to go. After tying the game up, Xavier stepped on the gas pedal and stretched the lead to 11 in a matter of minutes.

As the clock winded down, the Terps slowly chipped away at the lead and cut it to six with just under three minutes to play.  However, some unnecessary fouls by Maryland quickly put the Musketeers back up with a more comfortable lead. They would hold onto this lead as the final minute concluded and cruise to a 76-65 win.

This concludes the Terps 2017 season. What started as a rebuilding year, ended with a third straight trip to the NCAA tournament for coach Mark Turgeon and Maryland. As the season progressed the freshman starters began to show the common signs of fatigue that come with playing over 30 games in a season.  

Whether or not Melo Trimble returns for his senior year, there is a lot to be excited about for this young Terps team.  The core of Huerter, Cowan, and Jackson will continue to grow and hopefully lead Maryland back to another tournament appearance next year.

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Maryland loses to Northwestern 72-64, makes early exit from conference tourney

Maryland made some impressive runs in Friday night’s matchup against Northwestern but couldnt keep the pace and ended up losing 72-64. With the tournament being held in D.C, the crowd of over 20,000 favored the hometown Terrapins greatly but the Wildcats were able to outlast the Terps

Maryland started the game with a consistent attack on the boards, picking up a majority of their points by driving. Unlike many of their recent games, the Terps did not shoot a lot of three pointers. This change in game plan worked well for them too as they pulled out to 14-8 lead by the 13 minute mark.

Maryland also took advantage of nine Northwestern turnovers in the first half. This was a surprising amount considering the Wildcats have averaged just over 10 turnovers a game all season. The Northwestern game plan relied heavily on the three point shot. At the half, the Terps had a slim 36-34 lead but the Wildcats were shooting 50% from beyond the arc.

At the start of the second half, the Terps exploded out of the gate with an 8-0 run and quickly extended their lead to ten. This would end up being Maryland’s biggest lead of the game. The Wildcats went about five minutes without a point during this run but were still able to go on a run of their own and tie the game at 46 by the 12 minute mark.

From here the Maryland offense completely disappeared. Northwestern regained the lead and never gave it back, added to it down the stretch. The game plan that helped the Terps early in the game had been ignored in favor of the unnecessary three point shooting that we have seen recently.  Essentially the shots just weren’t falling.  

The problem was that the Wildcats never slowed down. The three point shooting from the first half continued and played a big role in their lengthy runs. They finished the game 7-15 from three and also dominated the boards, out rebounding the Terps 32-24.

With about two and a half minutes to go, Northwestern held a commanding 64-54 lead and the hostile crowd had been silenced. The fans headed for the exits and the Wildcats set their sights on a matchup with Wisconsin as they closed out a 72-64 victory.

Kevin Huerter had a standout performance for the Terps. The Freshman finished with 19 points, four assists and three steals.  Melo Trimble scored 20 and added six rebounds.

After this loss, the Terps will wait another week before they play again. The national tournament begins on March 16. Maryland will find out their seeding and first round opponent this Sunday night.  

Trimble’s game winner pushes Maryland past Michigan State, 63-60

Maryland closed out the regular season on Saturday with a 63-60 win over Michigan State. Melo Trimble’s late game three-pointer also secured the #3 seed for the Terps in next weeks Big Ten conference tournament.

Both teams played poorly in the first half but with an extremely fast pace. The 28-27 halftime score favored the Spartans, but also showed how many missed opportunities there were for both teams. Maryland shot an abysmal 3-13 from beyond the arc in the first half. Michigan State was much better from three, shooting 50%, but had a low overall shooting percentage of 33%.

Maryland’s leading scorers at halftime were Anthony Cowan and Melo Trimble with six points each. With the three point shooting not falling through, the Terps were able to stay in the game by shooting 6-8 at the free throw line. The Spartans did not shoot any free throws in the first half.

The second half started with some more bricked three’s for Maryland but the offensive rebounding by Dodd and Jackson kept the Terps’ possessions alive and the score close.

Just a few moments later, Anthony Cowan drove to the basket against some tough defense to take back the lead. On the next Maryland possession, Kevin Huerter scored his first points of the game with a big three pointer, bringing the crowd back into the game. Trimble followed with a three of his own and gave the Terps their biggest lead of the afternoon.

Michigan State responded and quickly erased Maryland’s eight point lead at the 10 minute mark. Throughout the entire game, both teams got hot and cold at the same time, causing the score to be tight all afternoon. Neither team was able to pull away for too long. One of these cold streaks came during the final minutes of the game when both teams were tied at 60. Each team had a handful of chances to take the lead but could not score. Layups, jumpers, three pointers, and free throws were all attempted but nothing fell through.

With six seconds to play, Maryland had one last chance to win. The ball was inbounded to Melo Trimble, who raced down the court and put up a desperation three pointer. The shot went through and the Xfinity Center exploded.

After looking at the replay, the refs put one second back on the clock, giving Michigan State a chance to send it to overtime. The Spartans inbound pass was perfect and allowed Miles Bridges to get a clean shot off but the ball hit the front of the rim and the Terps’ celebration resumed.

Trimble finished with 16 points and six rebounds. Since his freshman year there have been many rumors that Trimble would declare for the NBA draft. The rumors have not been as loud this season but the senior day festivities combined with the game-winning shot put everyone in a different mood. The student section chanted “one more year” as Melo left the court, hoping this would not be his final game in College Park.

This win gives Maryland the #3 seed in the Big Ten tournament next week. The Terps will get some much needed rest since they won’t be playing until next Friday. With the tournament being held just a few miles down the road from the University of Maryland, the team can take even more time to prepare instead of traveling.

Terps suffer 83-69 beatdown against Iowa, extend losing streak to three

The Terps came into Saturday’s matchup against Iowa looking to bounce back but suffered a 83-69 loss instead. The loss marks the Terps’ first three-game losing streak of the season.

Both teams came out of the gate with fast paced offenses. Iowa found most of their success from beyond the three-point line, starting the game 6-8. Maryland scored a similar amount but needed twice as many shots to match the Hawkeyes.

This pace of play continued throughout the first half as both teams found success from their three-point heavy offense. As a result, the score remained close. At the break Iowa led 47-40. Both teams scored half of their points with the three ball, shooting a combined 32 three pointers.

At the break, Justin Jackson and Jaylen Brantley led the Terps with eight points each while Tyler Cook led the way for the Hawkeyes with 15 points and seven rebounds.

In the second half, Maryland briefly cut into the deficit but Iowa quickly regained control and extended their lead to 14 by the 15 minute mark. Jordan Bohannon was lights out for the Hawkeyes, knocking down a handful of three pointers during their run.

In an effort to keep up with Iowa, the Terps put up a lot of three pointers. The problem was, they didn’t have the same touch that the Hawkeyes had all night. A lot of these shots were taken early in the shot clock and were just plain unnecessary.

With just over five minutes to play, Iowa took a 77-56 lead and the Xfinity Center erupted with boo’s. The Hawkeyes held onto their lead throughout the final minutes as the sellout crowd headed for the exits. When the final buzzer sounded Iowa had finished off an impressive 83-69 win.

Iowa’s Bohannon finished with 24 points and five assists, shooting 8-10 from beyond the arc. This performance was just a microcosm of the entire Hawkeye team. Yes, Maryland did play poorly but Iowa was unbelievable, especially from beyond the three point line. I could have see them easily winning even if Maryland was on their game.

We knew coming into this game that the Terps would not be ranked on Monday but this loss hurts their resume even more. Getting blown out by a bubble team at home is unacceptable. The final two games just became must win scenarios for Maryland. It starts on Tuesday when the Terps travel to play a last place Rutgers team.

Turgeon’s temper flares as Terps lose to Minnesota 89-75

Coming off of a tough loss at Wisconsin, the Terps ran into a hot Minnesota team and lost 89-75 on Wednesday night. 

Last time these teams faced off, Maryland was able to pull out a close win, but not without a fight. That win still stands as one of the Terps’ best wins on the season but the Gophers have not lost since then.

The teams traded punches in the first half with Maryland leading 35-34 at the break. Both teams’ shooting percentages were very close with Minnesota sitting at 45% and Maryland at 42%. The turnovers and fouls were also even. The only major stat advantage went to Maryland on the glass.

The biggest surprise of the first half had to be the play of Ivan Bender. His 12 points led the team at the break and served as a career high for the Sophomore big man. With Michal Chekovsky out for the remainder of the season, Bender has to step up and simply play better. Many Maryland fans have questioned Bender’s ability all season but he certainly looked like a different player in the first half of Wednesday’s game.

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For the second game in a row, Mark Turgeon has hurt the Terps with a technical foul in the games final minutes.  Source: Nick Wass, AP

Minnesota quickly took the lead in the second half with pair of back-to-back three pointers but the score remained within one possession until the 11 minute mark. Everything was shaping up to look like a clone of when these teams met earlier this season, a close scoring slug fest down the stretch.

A few minutes later, the Gophers started to pull away and soon found themselves up 10 by the six-minute mark. During this span, Maryland was taking some unnecessary three pointers. The three-point shot was not the Terps’ strong spot all night, so there was no reason to keep shooting them while Minnesota pulled away.

For the second straight game, coach Mark Turgeon was assessed a technical foul during crunch time. With the Gophers up by eight and Maryland struggling to find the basket, Turgeon’s temper spilled over and Minnesota was given two free throws to regain a ten point lead. With under two minutes to play, Minnesota stretched their lead at the line and held on for the 89-75 win.

Minnesota is a tough team to beat but the Terps could not afford to give this game away. I could excuse Turgeon’s outburst on Sunday because of the intensity surrounding the game and the other factors that led to the loss. This time, there is no excuse. Turgeon cannot do that two games in a row with the game on the line and expect his players to overcome it.  It’s embarrassing, plain and simple.

This loss guarantees that the Terps will be dropped from the Top 25 next Monday.  They will host Iowa on Saturday but a win in that game will not negate the effects of tonight’s loss.

Terps lose important game against No.11 Wisconsin, 71-60

On Sunday Maryland lost a very important game against Wisconsin, 71-60, and once again found themselves without a win against ranked competition.

In the early minutes Maryland was taking most of their shots from beyond the arc.  Enough of these shots went in to make it a close game, but it was obvious that the Terps did not want to be shooting that many threes. The Wisconsin defense was not allowing anything inside, forcing Maryland to put up some desperation attempts late in the shot clock.

The match-up remained closely contested but some questionable calls on both teams put a brief damper on the game late in the first half. During the last four minutes of the half there was an influx of foul calls that brought the flow of the game to a halt. To make things worse, both teams missed a fair share of these free throws, making the end of the first half even harder to watch.

At the break Maryland led 33-27 courtesy of shooting 50% from the three point line. However, the Terps were at a severe disadvantage in the turnover department.  Wisconsin was not shooting very well but the extra opportunities they got from Maryland’s turnovers definitely contributed to the close game.

Early in the second half, the Badgers quickly erased the Terps’ six point lead and established a substantial lead of their own with a 19-5 run. The energy inside the Kohl Center had drastically changed and Maryland was not able to find the big shots they had in the first half to silence the crowd.

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Melo Trimble led the Terps with 27 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists.  Source: Andy Manis, AP

With just over nine minutes to play, Maryland was crawling back and had made it a one possession game. Following an aggressive play where Damonte Dodd got out wrestled for the rebound, Coach Mark Turgeon received a rare technical foul.  Turgeon is very animated, like many other college coaches, but rarely oversteps his boundaries. The foul allowed Wisconsin to regain control and extend their lead once again

 

If the Terps were going to come back, it was going to be an uphill battle. The shooting percentage difference from the first half had almost evened out with both teams floating around 40%. The Terps were also losing the turnover and rebound battles. Wisconsin took advantage of the Terps’ second half struggles and never looked back. They held onto a double digit lead through the final minutes and finished with a 71-60 victory.

Coach Turgeon will surely get a hefty amount of blame for his technical foul.  While I do think it is absurd to place the loss on his shoulders, the outburst came at the worst possible time for Maryland.  That being said, I could also point to the turnovers, the overly sensitive foul calls, or the complete lack of a backbone on the glass as the reasons for this loss.

My only hope is that this loss does not outshine Maryland’s impressive win against Northwestern on Wednesday. I believe the Terps are due for a boost in the rankings on Monday but we will see.  The good news is that Terps will play three of their final four games at home with the sole road game being against the last place Rutgers.

 

Trimble drops 32 as Maryland gets big road win against Northwestern

On Wednesday the Maryland Terrapins picked up what could be their best win of the season when they defeated Northwestern 74-64.

Coming into Wednesday, the Wildcats certainly had the most to gain. On Saturday they defeated a top ten Wisconsin team and they had another opportunity to knock off a ranked opponent. Their offense got started with an emphatic dunk, bringing the crowd to an early crescendo, but the Terps responded with a quick 9-0 run to take control of the game.

Northwestern’s troubles didn’t stop there when star point guard, Brian McIntosh, found himself on the bench with two fouls in the game’s first three minutes. With the Wildcats struggling to get any offense going, there were plenty of opportunities for Maryland to take advantage. Northwestern was taking terrible shots, and when they did get an easy layup opportunity, they missed.

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Melo Trimble scored a career high 32 points in Wednesdays win over Northwestern

Playing on the road against Northwestern, a lead of any size is a great thing but the Terps were able to gain an 10-point lead by the end of the half. Maryland took advantage of the Wildcats’ sloppy play and were able to find an effective pace. Every Terrapin rebound was instantly passed towards midcourt where Trimble or Cowan would be waiting to run with it. Northwestern was unable to adjust to this fast pace and simply didn’t have the offense to keep things close.

Early in the second half, the Wildcats came through with a much better offensive attack. Maryland was able to keep their double digit lead by taking smarter shots and switching up the pace. When the Wildcats started to come to life, you could sense that they wanted to run like Maryland did in the first half. However, the Terps continued to dictate the pace and slow things down as Northwestern attempted to come back.

 

With a little over 10 minutes remaining, the Terps stomped on the gas peddle and extended their lead to 20. Northwestern would not go out quietly though. The Wildcats clawed their way back and made it a nine point game with two minutes to play. This brought the crowd back into the game but it was too little too late as Maryland went to the free throw line and closed out an impressive 74-64 victory.

There were plenty of impressive stats to look at after this win but you gotta give it up for Melo Trimble. This is the type of game where you look to your older players to lead the way. In a hostile environment at a crucial point in the season, Trimble did just that. The junior finished the game with a career high 32 points and shot 4-5 from beyond the arc.

Coming into this week we knew that Maryland was going to be playing two of their toughest games of the season.  Realistically, I thought they would lose both games but tonight’s win has given me a more optimistic view on the Terps’ future. Sunday’s matchup against Wisconsin is sure to be a great one and will have major implications on the Big Ten standings.