Maryland-Pittsburgh recap: Sloppy play costs Terps in loss to Panthers, 79-59

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

After being 3-0 with him back in the lineup, Maryland dropped their first game since Seth Allen's return due to poor shot selection and bad transition defense.

Pittsburgh defeated Maryland Monday evening, 79-59 in the Panthers' first ACC home game as a member of the conference. The Panthers were led by Lamar Patterson's 19 points. Durand Johnson (17) and Talib Zanna (13) also finished in double digits.

Pitt used defense and a well executed offense to move to 14-1 on the year as Maryland dropped to 10-6 and 2-1 in the ACC.

Maryland stuck with the same starting lineup as their previous game against Georgia Tech, with Dez Wells, Jake Layman, Roddy Peters, Evan Smotrycz and Shaq Cleare getting the start against Pitt.

Maryland controlled the starting tip and immediately attacked the basket with Shaq Cleare, who quickly scored and got off to a fast start. Tabib Zanna answered for Pitt, getting a quick basket and drawing an early foul of Dez Wells.

The Terps quickly got to the basket, but both Roddy Peters and Dez Wells lost control of the ball driving to the basket and Pitt quickly scored on the other end, as Maryland was unable to get into any type of transition defense, their biggest problem in their previous game against Georgia Tech.

Each team struggled in the early going with ball control, combining to turn the ball over five times in the first five minutes while also struggling to run their half court offense. But teams continued to trade baskets, but Pitt slowly built a small lead midway through the half.

Following an Evan Smotrycz three pointer that cut the lead to one, Lamar Patterson caught Shaq Cleare on a pump fake and forced the sophomore into committing his second foul of the half, which sent him to the bench. Cleare would finish with just four points.

Both teams continued trading baskets, but neither could build a substantial lead. Maryland didn't do itself any favors by committing more turnovers in the first half (eight) then they did in the entirety of their last game (six).

After the Terps built a small four point lead, Pitt responded with an 8-0 as Maryland went over four minutes without scoring. Pitt pushed their lead to six as the first half came to a close, 36-30. Lamar Patterson led all scorers at the half with 12 points. Evan Smotrycz, who hit three three pointers in the half, paced the Terps with nine. Maryland also held a 19-13 rebounding edge against the Panthers.

After struggling in the first half, Mark Turgeon elected to start Seth Allen and Nick Faust over Roddy Peters and Jake Layman. Allen made an immediate impact, draining a transition three following a slick behind the back pass from Dez Wells.

Pitt pushed their lead to eight, but Seth Allen found Nick Faust for an alley oop after Faust slipped behind the 2-3 Pitt zone defense that looked like it might spark the Terps.

But the Panthers quickly pushed the lead back up to 11 as Maryland found themselves on their heels midway through the first half. Seth Allen sank a much needed three pointer to pull the Terps back within eight. But Josh Newkerk answered with a three of his own.

Pitt's defense seemed to throw a wrench into Maryland's offense, which had looked much better since Seth Allen's return. But Pitt's offense might have out shined their defense, as the Panthers started the half shooting an incredible 11/16 from the field before cooling off and finishing the game shooting 52.7% from the field.

Maryland just couldn't put a run together, with Pitt answering every time they tried to claw their way back into the game. Even when the Terps could get a defensive stop, either poor shot selection or turnovers gave the ball right back to the Panthers.

Seth Allen finished with a team-high 18 points. Evan Smotrycz was the only other Maryland player to finish in double figures with 14.

Maryland must now regroup before taking on Florida State on the road on January 12th.

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