More frustration for the Maryland Terrapins who fell under .500 in the ACC at 3-4 as they dropped their second game against ACC newcomer, the Pittsburgh Panthers 83-79. Maryland showed some heart late as they attempted to make a run but fell short due to an inability to get stops when they needed it.
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What did we see?
1) The Terps started quickly and jumped out to a 9-2 lead, turning the Panthers over 3 times and showing aggressiveness in the lanes to gather a few easy chances. It’s a shame that Maryland couldn’t continue this style for an entire game much less one half. Pittsburgh regrouped and slowly gained the lead at 18-16 with about 8 minutes in the first half.
2) Lamar Patterson who had a game-high 28 points continued to give the Terps fits on the offensive end much like he did in their first meeting. Not only was he able to get to the rim he did plenty of damage at the line going 12 for 14. He displayed a complete game nabbing 7 boards, dishing 7 assists and notching 3 steals.
3) I loved the fact that the team continued to play hard through some rough stretches but I still scratch my head at why they occur. This team continues to struggle with the most basic basketball concepts; defending ball screens, stopping the ball in transition, rotations in help defense to protect the basket and setting screens on offense. A lack of fundamental basketball hurts them from winning a game against a team that understands exactly what they need to do to win in Pitt.
4) On that topic it’s amazing how an Out-of-Bounds play under your own basket can turn into such an advantage for the opposition when you don’t cut hard or screen well . By my count the Terps gave up three baskets just on turnovers on their own baseline. Unbelievable.
5) Usually for Maryland to have success they need to shot well from three point land. They did not as they went 4 for 17 from behind the arc. Credit some of that to the Panthers defense but Maryland rarely was able to generate open looks from the offense either.
6) Dez Wells lead the Terps with 19 and did a nice job getting to rim as the Panthers were slow on their rotations a few times. He was active defensively as he pilfered 5 balls on defense. Jake Layman also had a nice game adding 18 points on 7 of 12 shooting (1 for 3 from 3). Layman has struggled since the start of the New Year so it was a good sign seeing him being aggressive and not just as a standstill jump shooter.
7) It was a shame that Maryland couldn’t have played a bit smarter because they did make Pitt. play too fast for their liking and did force 17 turnovers of their own. The difference was the Panthers ability to get to the foul line (32-47 – 68%) against Maryland (23-30 – 76%), that 17 more chances at the line. Pittsburgh dominated inside the paint and sometimes literally pushed the Maryland front-court around. They were out-out-rebounded 39 to 27 and this is where Maryland’s glaring lack of toughness inside showed against a battle hardened Big East style club.
8) The Maryland Big Men continue to underwhelm. I liked that in the First Half the offense included some inside looks but being undersized usually meant that they were forced to heave up baby hooks. At least Charles Mitchell got to the foul line 6 times. Speaking of Mitchell I’ve never witnessed a worse screener. He’s a 6’8″ widebody and usually whiffs on his assignment or gains a foul for improper technique. Not that many Maryland players impress me with little things like off ball screens anyway but it seems even worse for a big to be guilty of such basic skills. Damonte Dodd made a few cameo appearances and the only thing I remember from him was improperly playing a ball screen, then leaving the ball so the ballhandler could score a layup.
9) Speaking of Freshmen Roddy Peters got a few runs tonight but didn’t do much with his time. I’m a bit concerned that his minutes seem to be shrinking and I worry about his confidence. He has great potential and displays more of the traditional PG skill set but he needs to learn on the job and that means living with some mistakes. However with mistakes all around maybe I can understand Turgeon’s reluctance to ride through the rough patches with him.
10) The Terps 1-2-1-1 Full Court pressure was effective up front at times but lacked proper rotation on the back end to truly merit multiple downs with it. The traps must be “Hard Traps” for the interceptor to commit and once the ball is near half court all second traps are off and players must scramble to find their man. I’m unsure if this is Turgeon’s way of playing pressure or if it was a communication breakdown. Either way it hurt their comeback attempt by giving up too many easy buckets on the back end.