Maryland has the second most efficient offense in the ACC, behind only Duke, and it's not a wide margin. If you just started watching tonight, though, you'd have no idea. Actually, if you just started watching tonight, you might think Maryland was the worst offense in the ACC.
They turned the ball over 26 times, shot 25% from deep, and scored just 53 points (they average 80+ a game) in likely the worst offensive performance of the season. Clemson's ultra-high pressure defense contributed to plenty of that, but it was still plenty ugly to watch. In the end, Maryland couldn't overcome that offensive tragedy of a performance and fell back to earth after a four game winning streak, losing 62-53. For what its worth, the game was closer than the score, but not by all that much.
This entire loss can be really narrowed down to two things: turnovers and rebounding. It's almost impossible to win when a team turns the ball over as many times as they did. The second major issue was offensive rebounding, where Clemson dominated. They didn't get an absurd number of second chance points, but they did grab 20 rebounds. I'll repeat: twenty. It's demoralizing and disrupts the flow of the game for Maryland.
Does this terrible performance mean that Maryland's previous awesome performances were simply products of poor opposition? Not necessarily. Few teams play like Clemson, who pushes the ball at a ridiculous helter-skelter pace and plays very, very high-pressure defense. It's jarring for any team. I'm confident that Maryland is better than they played and is still an NCAA tournament team.
At the same time, perhaps its time to temper the views of this team. They looked awful tonight in basically every aspect of the game, and that usually doesn't happen for ACC-leading teams.
I will say this, though: this team continues to show a ton of heart, fight, and persistence. They could've given up when down 11 in the second and unable to hold on to the ball. They didn't though, never panicked, and slowly fought their way back into the game.
I'm not really going to talk too much about individual performances, but its clear that this entire team was out of sync tonight. If each player really is this bad, then they don't have much of a chance in the ACC, and I don't believe that to be true. Like Coach K said yesterday, sometimes it just doesn't work. (Yes, I will go wash my mouth out with soap for referencing Coach K).
I will, however, talk about Jordan Williams, who was simply outstanding against one of the best post players in the country in Trevor Booker. He put up 13 points and 13 rebounds for his third double-double of the season, and he kept Booker to his lowest point output on the season. He also had a completely monstrous dunk that would've made the Comcastle collapse at it been at home. His progression has been truly remarkable.
The key for this two game road trip was to split one of the two. That can still be accomplished. They'll have to forget this and go win at FSU on Thursday.