A weekend to forget is the only way to characterize Maryland men’s basketball’s time in the Asheville Championship. After falling to Davidson on Friday, the Terps doubled down on Sunday with a stunning 66-63 loss to UAB.
Maryland entered as the tournament favorites, but leave with two resume-deflating losses and a 1-2 overall record with a road matchup against Villanova on tap this coming Friday.
Here are some takeaways from Maryland’s loss to the Blazers.
Maryland has a serious issue scoring the ball
There remains to be little fluidity within Maryland’s offense. It was shown in the loss against Davidson, and its inability to shoot the ball was further exploited against UAB.
Maryland went a lowly 6-for-23 from beyond the arc. What is more puzzling was how it managed to record only 30 paint points, eight less than the Blazers. Despite fielding a much larger lineup, too many attempts inside were weakly taken, as evidenced by UAB’s nine blocks.
“They went small on us. That’s two games in a row that the small lineup has hurt us,” head coach Kevin Willard said.
There’s also disappointment with the Terps missing seven free throws, while UAB went 21-for-23 from the line.
To make matters worse, Julian Reese never got going and fouled out late in the second half after managing just five points and three boards.
But what sheds more concern is the lifeless possessions, which end in the form of turnovers or forced shots. Look no further than the final possession, when Maryland failed to get a clean look with the game on the line for the second straight game.
The Terps lost the turnover battle, 15-14, with its most efficient offense not coming until the final five minutes of the game.
Transition defense killed the Terps
When the offense isn’t going, what ensues is easy points for the opposition after lazy turnovers and long rebounds off forced shots.
UAB ran the floor with ease against the Terps, especially on the defensive end. The Blazers scored 22 points off 15 Maryland turnovers and scored 17 fast-break points to Maryland’s nine.
UAB scored in bunches, too, giving it extended momentum while the Terps continued to leave possessions empty-handed. The Blazers had two separate 10-0 runs, coinciding with two five-minute field goal droughts for the Terps.
And it was those periods of dominance which helped UAB lead for the final 15:19 of the contest.
An embarrassing second half encapsulated a weekend to forget
Maryland played well for the first four and final six minutes of the second half. The other 10 minutes were uninspiring and downright concerning.
In the 10 minutes after the 16:07 mark, Maryland was outscored, 26-15. The start of the stretch included a 15-2 UAB run as well. Maryland made 10 field goals total in the half, went 2-of-11 from distance and missed five free throws.
The Terps had four different stretches of close to three minutes without a made shot, and only scored on back-to-back possessions twice before their comeback attempt in the final three minutes.
Willard continued to experiment with his lineups, trying to inject some life into the team. But it hasn’t worked. He elected to start Noah Batchelor, who finished with a team-worst -10 plus-minus and was the only player to have a negative efficiency rating (-4).
“I think I’m seeing guys get a little more comfortable out there,” Willard said. “It’s still a major work in progress.”