Winning ugly is always better than losing pretty. Maryland knew the latter pretty well after their two close, impressive losses in New York City. They got well-acquainted with the former against Penn State, defeating the Nittany Lions 62-39 in a nearly-unwatchable game.
Maryland went scoreless for the first five minutes of the game. They turned the ball over 17 times. They took 20 fewer shots than their opponent. They didn't have a real semblance of a half-court offense. And they won going away.
A lot of that is credited to Penn State. There's not a lot of good going on for the Nittany Lions. Maryland's defense was solid, but it wasn't less-than-a-point-per-minute, 20% from the floor, 11% from 3 solid. That offense is bad.
But Maryland was good in its own right. They shot nearly 50% from the field - in this game, that's like 70% - and hit 4 of 9 from beyond the arc. They didn't let a below-average Penn State team get away. And they fought their way out of a hole caused partially by their own carelessness, partially by solid defense, and mostly by questionable refereeing, coming back to blow out inferior opposition.
Sometimes, you just have to get ugly wins. When you get those ugly wins by holding the other team short of 40 points and winning by 22, you'll take it.
Maryland's halfcourt offense was particularly bad, with a dearth of set plays and a complete lack of rhythm for much of the game. It's no coincidence that Maryland really started to pull away when they opened up the game in transition and started running, where their athleticism was too much for PSU.
Particularly disconcerting was the lack of touches for Jordan Williams, who was ignored as the game went on for possessions at a time. Williams still got his double-double, unsurprisingly, with 15 points, 11 boards, and a small cut on his head (don't worry, he's fine). But instead of jacking up outside shots, Maryland probably would've been better served to let Williams go to work against a thin frontcourt.
In terms of individual performances, there's not a lot to talk about. This was an ugly game, even with the margin being as large as it was, and not a lot of players shined, not even Penn State's Talor Battle (and his island chops). Williams reasserted his dominance, for one. Dino Gregory continues to look solid, with 10 points and 9 boards. And Sean Mosley - no, really, listen to this - hit two three-pointers. If that's not the most encouraging thing out of this game, I don't know what is.
There's some holes still on this team. The biggest is still at the point guard position, where the Terps may or may not have a confident ballhandler; Adrian Bowie played the role the past few games, but certainly didn't fulfill it today. Also lacking was a perimeter scorer to create his own shot; Maryland really needed that in the halfcourt today and didn't have it.
But still, Maryland played terribly and a beat a team that was thought to be at least decent. A win's a win, no matter how ugly. And after losing pretty, I don't think anyone's turning down an ugly win.
(This was an incomplete recap thrown together in short time. I'll look more at the game/stats in due time, but don't take it too seriously.)