The University of Maryland Terrapins fell to 14-12 overall (6-7 in the Atlantic Coast Conference), with a 69-67 loss at #8 Duke. Maryland competed hard, but there are no moral victories to be had. The Terps had the chance to improve their resume, and make the last 5 ACC Regular Season games matter. Instead they suffered a crushing loss, and another missed opportunity.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
What did we see?
1) Maryland went to the half down only 6 points. That was fairly remarkable considering MD had 9 turnovers, 13 fouls, and 0 points from Dez Wells. In the 2nd half, Wells took over. With MD down 1 point with 18 seconds left, the Terps had the ball and the opportunity to pull the upset. However, the last shot attempts did not go to Wells, but to Charles Mitchell – as the Terps attempted to take advantage of Mitchell’s size advantage. Mitchell had two good looks in the last 6 seconds, and missed both.
1a) The Terps shot 42% from the field (26 of 62), but were just 12 of 19 from the FT line. In comparison, Duke was 18 of 54 from the floor, but 28 of 34 from the line.
2) Wells picked up his 3rd foul with 7 minutes left in the 1st half, forcing him to the bench. Prior to that 3rd foul, he had hoisted just 1 shot, and had not scored. He missed the first 4 minutes of the 2nd half as well. After his first basket (with 13 minutes left), he put MD on his shoulders. He continued to put his head down, and attack the rim. The Terps took their first lead (54-52) with 8:27 left on a layup from Wells. Wells finished with 17 points (7 of 11 from the floor) with 6 boards, and 3 assists.
3) If you are going to challenge Duke, history has shown you have to score. With Wells and Allen not providing any offense in the 1st half, Layman stepped up. Layman was 4 of 9 from the floor (including 2 of 3 from 3) for 12 points. He was being aggressive, looking for his shot, and also being active competing for rebounds. His steal at the top of the 1-3-1 lead to a breakaway dunk 3:10 left. For the game, Layman finished 18 points, and 6 boards.
4) Smotrycz came out firing, missing 4 quick shots. It’s been said all year, but bears repeating. If Smotrycz is not scoring, he is largely a liability on the floor. At times he can help rebound some (tonight was an example), and facilitate for others – but not enough of either to make up for his defensive limitations. Back on the court to start the 2nd half, he missed 3 more shots in the first 4 minutes of play. Smotrycz finished with 6 points (2 of 9 from the floor), 8 boards, 2 assists, and a steal.
5) Maryland had a 23-16 edge on the boards in the 1st half. For the game, MD won the boards 43-36.
6) Charles Mitchell had a nice first half with 8 points (4 of 9 from the floor) and 5 boards. However, he picked up his 3rd foul with 2 minutes left in the half. In my opinion, it is inexcusable that Mitchell was on the court at that point to be in position to pick up the foul. After Cook’s jumper with 5:11 left, Duke was up 8 points. If you wanted to roll the dice to keep Mitchell on the court with the lead at 8 – you can argue the merits of that. You could say that you were worried about the deficit ballooning, and you wanted to keep your best players on the court. However, over the next 3 minutes MD went on a 7-0 run. At some point, while MD was pulling closer, the opportunity was there to get Mitchell off the floor. As the 2nd half started, Mitchell had MD’s first two baskets to pull MD within 2. He then picked up his 4th foul with 16 minutes left in the game. Prior to his two misses to end the game, Mitchell’s last FG attempt came with 17:22 left. You have a chance to steal a win on the road, and you go to the guy who hasn’t had a shot in 17 minutes? I don’t want to be harsh to Mitchell. He battled hard tonight, finishing with 12 points (6 of 15 from the floor), and 6 boards.
7) Faust has always thrived in open-court games. His play in the 1st half (7 points, 3 boards, 1 steal, 1 block), was huge off the bench. 2 of those 7 points came off a great follow dunk. He did not score in the 2nd half though.
8) As mentioned above, MD had 9 turnovers in the 1st half. For the game, the Terps finished with 14 turnovers. A pretty good showing, playing in that environment.
9) Allen struggled at-times with his decision making in the 1st half, as he had 3 turnovers. He also was just 1 of 4 from the floor. Allen finished with 7 points (2 of 6 from the floor, 0-3 from 3), with 2 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block. Allen is a creative scorer. Facing a lot of pressure from Duke tonight, his scoring was mitigated.
9a) Peters got some time in the 1st half, with Allen on the floor. If Peters is going to be on the court with Allen, Peters should be the PG, allowing Allen to get some rest off the ball. Nobody respects Peters shot (with reason) but he has to be able to handle the ball pressure from Duke to be on the court.
10) Graham, Dodd, and Cleare had a combined 20 minutes on the court. Together they had 6 boards, and 0 points (1 FG attempt). Graham played hard when he was out there. Cleare was glued to the bench. I thought Dodd was a defensive presence when on the court, but he only had 1 board in his 7 minutes. He also missed both of his FT attempts, and that proved to matter.
11) Maryland was able to compete in this game for several reasons. One, MD played hard throughout. Two, the style of play of the Blue Devils allows for a transition game. This up-and-down game allowed MD’s guards and wings chances to attack the rim. Helped by the fact that Duke lacked a real rim defender. The reminder that MD has enough talent to go on the road and compete against a Top 10 team is somewhat irritating. Just further illustrates there have been other games where MD should have played better.