Maryland had yet another horrid start on the offensive end, but battled back in the second half, taking the lead before falling out with a whimper to the visiting Boston Terriers, 83-77. The Terrapins struggled on offense yet again, turning the ball over 17 times, shooting under 60% from the free throw line and looking completely disorganized against another zone-based team.
The game started frenetically, with the two teams trading turnovers for a minute before Shaq Cleare recorded the first pair of points with a dunk. Maryland's offense struggled with Boston's zone early, as two dunks by Cleare were the only made baskets on their first nine attempts.
After Boston jumped out to a 12-5 lead, Dez Wells hit a three-pointer for Maryland's first field goal in nearly five minutes. The Terriers responded with a three, and Jake Layman hit one of his own to keep the deficit at four points. After a layup by Boston, Nick Faust hit a three and Layman broke on the fastbreak (after a fantastic steal by Faust) for a layup to bring it to 17-16. Evan Smotrycz drove in to the lane and made the layup, giving the Terps their first lead since the beginning of the game.
Boston went on a 9-0 run from that point, taking a 26-18 lead with just more than six minutes to go in the half. Layman hit a three, Dez Wells hit two free throws and Layman hit another three to make it 28-26. The Terriers then went on a 12-3 run, making it 40-29 just before the half. The half ended with Boston holding a 42-32 lead after Roddy Peters hit a buzzer-beating layup.
Maryland struggled with the Terriers' zone in the first half, turning the ball over repeatedly and proving an inability to create their own shots. The Terps turned the ball over ten times in their first 25 possessions, including a three minute period that saw them give the ball away five times. Maryland's offense looked once again completely unprepared to handle a zone defense -- while they at least tried to move the ball around, their passes were repeatedly either not crisp enough or not accurate enough. The Terriers had 18 points off 11 Maryland turnovers in the first half -- instrumental in building the double-digit lead.
The Terps scored first in the second half, as Evan Smotrycz muscled his way in for a bucket, Mitchell hit a layup and Wells converted an and-one to quickly cut the deficit to five points. Smotrycz hit three shots early in the half, helping break a seven of 48 shooting stretch that had spanned a few games. With just over 14 minutes left, Maryland looked like their offensive flow came back, as Peters found Jonathan Graham cutting on the inside for a bucket to make it a two-point deficit. After a Boston bucket, the two connected again to keep it a two-point game.
With under 13 minutes to play, Faust stole the ball and drew a foul, and on the ensuing possession found Wells on an incredible curling alley oop layup to tie the game up at 51-51. The Terriers took the lead back soon after, but the Terps tied it up again at 54-54 on another Smotrycz jumper. Maryland took the lead with about nine minutes to go on a Dez Wells jumper 56-55 -- their first lead since early in the first half. After Boston responded with a basket, Smotrycz missed a three pointer, recovered his own rebound and put on a nifty spin move to take the lead again. Boston took it back, expanding their lead to nine with three-and-a-half minutes to go. The Terriers were able to keep the lead at around the five-to-nine point level for the rest of the game, earning the road victory.
It's pretty safe to say the "it's just one game" defense is pretty spent by this point of the season -- the team looks absolutely awful against anybody playing a zone, and the offensive gameplan is nearly non-existent. We'll see how the team progresses heading into ACC play with Seth Allen expected back in two weeks, but the NCAA Tournament hopes are dying rapidly.