This loss really was heartbreaking - Maryland was winning, then went on an almost 6 minute scoreless streak to lose the game. On senior night, and in a game that would've nearly clinched an NCAA bid, it's unacceptable.
It's obvious how much the Terps need Greivis Vazquez. He was playing poorly in the second half for whatever reason, and no one else was able to do anything. Outside of Dave Neal's senior night moment, Maryland scored just 22 points in the second half.
A lot of people will talk about the rebounding problem, and it did exist. Maryland was outrebounded by 18. Had it been more even, they almost certainly would've won. But everyone knew there was going to a huge rebounding advantage for Wake. We expected it. The bigger problem was the inability to score. If the offense doesn't grind to a stop (literally) Wake could've gotten all the rebounds they liked, and the Terps still would've won. Maryland lost by two points. I think they would've scored more than two points in that five minute scoreless stretch.
Another huge problem was free throws. There were some questionable calls throughout the game, and Maryland couldn't seem to get a call when they went inside. Despite the color guy consistently saying "Maryland needs to go inside and get fouled", I think it was the right decision not to try to go inside. When the refs aren't blowing the whistle, there's no reason to go get beaten up on the interior. Still, free throws were a big part of the loss. Only two free throws all game - the Terps normally gets 18. They win the game if the free throws are at a normal pace.
Of course, Dave Neal deserves to recognized for his performance. It was outstanding, and was a great senior night. I just wish they could've made it a perfect night.
On a less negative note, the minutes were interesting again. Again, Burney got zero minutes, but this time it makes sense - he was in street clothes and a walking boot. Brax ended up getting 4 minutes, and four points. It wasn't a great performance, but it wasn't a disaster. I wonder if Gary will up his minutes in the future. Cliff Tucker only played 12, which is a shame, because Maryland needed his offensive ability. I love Eric Hayes, but when he's not hitting wide open shots, Tucker needs to be in.
Maryland seems to be capable of playing well for about one game at a time. Beat Virginia Tech, lose to Clemson. Beat UNC, lose to Duke. Beat NCSt, lose to Wake. While this pattern bodes well Virginia, it's frustrating to see (nevermind about this being the exact reason we need Lance Stephenson). Still, Maryland's in great shape to make the NCAAs (or "the March Madness" as the color guy would say). Win the next two games - Maryland will be favored in both - and they're in. It's as simple as that.