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Maryland-North Carolina reaction: Three things we learned from the Terps' loss

In their final regular season meeting as ACC foes, the North Carolina Tar Heels defeated the Maryland Terrapins 75-63. Here is what we learned from the match-up between the two middle-of-the-pack teams.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

In what could have been a momentous occasion for the Maryland Terrapins, they fell flat on their face, falling to the North Carolina Tar Heels 75-63. From the beginning, the game was not as close as it appeared at times, with the Terps falling behind early 17-3. From there, the Terps would cut the deficit to three, but would never get closer en route to the 12 point loss. Here is what we learned from yet another disappointing output from the Terps.

The Terps have to learn to play defense without fouling.

It sounds so simple and silly to even type it. Coaches will preach it every day of the week. A team cannot survive a game when they foul people. The Terps were tacked with 29 fouls on Tuesday night, with Charles Mitchell fouling out of the game. Four out of the five starters committed four fouls, with Jonathan Graham committing four fouls off of the bench. Shaquille Cleare committed two fouls within the first ten minutes of the game. This simply won't get it done for the Terps moving forward. Luckily, the Tar Heels hit just 51.4% of their free throws, but against better teams like Syracuse and Duke, they will not get away with this.

Of course, it didn't help that everything seemed to be called a foul Tuesday night, but that is a discussion for another day. Graham and Cleare have shown in the past that they struggle to stay on the floor due to foul troubles, and that is something that cannot be understated. The Terps don't have a lot of big bodies on the team at this point, so the big guys will have to get better with staying on the floor, most specifically, Cleare.

Consistent shooting is still A problem.

From the inside out, the Terps don't have one player that they know can can shoot consistently. Dez Wells has the ability to drive to the hole and make some mid-range jumpers, but it is no secret that he won't torch the net from the outside. Evan Smotrycz can shoot from the outside, but he struggles to finish near the rim at times. Jake Layman has the outside touch, and can drive to the rim, but he is still very passive and needs to get stronger when he attacks the rim. The list can go on, but no one wants to be bored by the list. The facts speak for themselves. The Terps turned in another dismal performance beyond the arc, going 6-23, good for 26.1%. The Terps as a team shot 39.3% from the field, while the Tar Heels shot 49%. The Terps shot five more times than the Tar Heels, and still came out on the short end of the stick. Obviously, free throws helped in the final result, but the Tar Heels capitalized on their opportunities, while the Terps did not.

We can go on and on about the shooting woes, but we don't need to. Anyone who watched the game can see how bad it was at times.

Decision-making is not up to par.

This is something that is best displayed through example. The Terps were fighting back, and Smotrycz got the ball beyond the arc in transition, and instead of finding the open man, he launches a three and the ball went the other way. Shooting a three in transition is not always a bad idea, as it gives a shooter an open try at a three, but in that situation, the Terps needed points. Hoisting a three was not a good idea given the situation, and that is something coach Turgeon cannot be happy with.

The second example is the Roddy Peters pass in transition in the first half. Peters passed it towards the middle where three Tar Heel defenders were standing, somehow hoping to hit a cutting Terp. The decision didn't make much sense, but in this game, a lot didn't make sense.

To put it simply, these errors cannot continue to happen if the Terps want to be successful. These are mental errors that players at this stage of their career should not be making on a consistent basis, and unfortunately, this group of players are.

Other Notes

  • The Terps got out-rebounded 40-32, which isn't surprising given the Tar Heels ability to rebound the ball.
  • Charles Mitchell collected 13 rebounds for the Terps, good for 40% of the teams output in that area.
  • Uncharacteristically, Dez Wells missed three free throws in a row after getting fouled on a three-point attempt. Not something you see from a guy shooting 80% from the line.
  • For those who dislike Karl Hess, he was the ref who officiated the game, so all anger can be directed his direction.