I'm not sure what it is about Maryland that makes opposing players have career days, but it seems to happen a lot. A game after Rion Brown exploded onto the scene, Maryland gave up a career-high 25 points to Sammy Zeglinski and a career-high-tying 15 points to Assane Sene as Virginia rolled over the Terps on Senior Day, 74-60.
UVA's style is dependent upon minimal turnovers and good outside shooting, and they had both today: they finished with only four turnovers and shot 47% from three. Maryland, meanwhile, turned in one of their worst performances on the season, right up there with the Virginia Tech home loss. They struggled in every aspect of the game, particularly on defense, on the way to a depressing season-capping loss.
The symbolism of the loss shouldn't be lost on anyone. It was Maryland's Senior Day, and it ended in a manner that some would call fitting. I don't know if I'd go that far, but if any recent senior class was going to end their careers this way, it would be this one.
Virginia went into the break with a surprising 4 point lead. Maryland's poor defense was a big reason why: UVA shot 6-11 from 3 in the first half, with Zeglinski alone shooting 4-4 from beyond the arc. On top of that, the Cavs only turned the ball over twice in the first half. It's easy to be winning with that statline.
Things improved little in the second half for Maryland. UVA stretched the lead to 11 five minutes into the second half, which was their first double-digit of the game. Maryland made a few runs, but things didn't get serious until they cut a 13-point lead down to 5 with about three minutes left in the game. UVA answered with a 7-0 run, though, ending any and all hope of a comeback for the Terrapins.
If Virginia can shoot from deep and not turn the ball over, they can win: that's their recipe, and they carried it out perfectly.
This wasn't the normal Maryland loss, where some kind of singular implosion - a ridiculous scoring drought, an inability to guard outside shooters, a bunch of turnovers - caused the loss. No, the Terrapins simply lost this one; they were outplayed by a team that isn't as good.
So we can look at quite a lot to figure out where things went wrong. We can look at defense, for instance. Maryland couldn't get a timely stop in the game was almost out of hand. They allowed 47% shooting from deep. They only forced four turnovers. They let two offensively-limited players have career highs.
We can look at rebounding, too. Maryland finished with only 6 offensive rebounds. I don't think they had more than one, maybe two second-chance buckets all game. I'm not sure how many second-chance points UVA finished with, but it had to be around 10 or 12 or so. And considering that Gary Williams doesn't teach boxing out, I suppose that's purely a hustle stat. It's not a good one.
We can look at offense. Though things were fine for the most part, Maryland was working at two big deficits: three-point shooting and turnovers. As mentioned above, UVA only turned the ball over four times. That makes Maryland's 11 turnovers look gargantuan by comparison. And three-point shooting reared its ugly head again: the Terps were 2-7 from deep. UVA made 8 threes; that's giving up 18 points behind the arc. Maryland's 44% shooting percentage wasn't enough to make up for that deficit.
And yes, we can look at the oddly poetic "lack of senior leadership" reason. Cliff Tucker and Adrian Bowie, in their final regular season games, finished with a combined 10 points on 2-8 shooting. This is more important than it would usually be, because Terrell Stoglin was held to just 9 points. Stoglin not scoring is okay: he's a freshman, bound to have some bad games. But when he doesn't score, someone else has to, and no one did. Maryland, particularly on the perimeter, has almost no margin for error.
Did it hurt more than that, in some kind of intangible mumbo-jumbo way? That's not for me, or anyone else, to know. But the lack of scoring options definitely hurt.
With all the criticism that'll be flying around, let's take a minute to praise Jordan Williams and Dino Gregory. Gregory is pretty much the only successful senior, and he played like it: he had 15 points, often acting as Maryland's best offensive weapon. Williams, who has taken some flack lately around here, had one of his best games in recent memory, with 16 points on 6-8 shooting and a ridiculous 6 blocks. He was hurt on the boards by Will Sherrill, of all people, and gave up 15 points to Assane Sene, but he reemerged as an offensive weapon today.
For the record, Mychal Parker also had a lot of playing time. That's his second straight game with more than five minutes, and it's a good sign. He didn't do a lot of positive things, though he did have a great pass to Dino Gregory for a slam, but that will come later. Now, you're just trying to get him up to speed and ready for next year, when he should move into the 6th man role.
I don't want to be too critical of the seniors, so I'll say this about their time and nothing more: there were ups, there were downs, and I'm just glad it's over. Maryland's moving into a new era next year, hopefully one with more success, and we'll see where that takes us. I have no qualms with the individual players (I do with the recruiting) but the class as a whole definitely leaves a bad taste.
I'm fully expecting a ****storm in the coming days. I don't like to incite things, but I'll call it like it is: Maryland just capped a 7-9 ACC season (in a down year, no less) with a home loss to UVA by 14 on Senior Day. Things don't get much worse than that.
The future has better things in store, or so it seems. It can't get here soon enough.