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Maryland men’s basketball flounders in 57-40 loss at Villanova

The Terps spent nearly the entire second half down by over 20 points.

Maryland v Villanova Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The only bright spot of Maryland men’s basketball’s performance against Villanova was that it managed to avoid a program-low of 28 points scored in a game.

Everything has gone wrong for the Terps to begin the season. That was all encapsulated in Friday’s 57-40 loss at Villanova.

“The last couple of games, we shouldn’t have lost, and that’s all on the team,” said Donta Scott.

Expectations were sky-high for the Maryland men’s basketball team (1-3) entering the season. After a strong year during which energy was brought back to College Park, it was more than reasonable to believe in loftier successes.

Through four games, head coach Kevin Willard’s squad has not been able to effectively defend, score or ultimately give fans faith that it can win many basketball games. The Terps were humiliated against Villanova (3-1), and have now won just two of their last 13 true road games.

“I think our biggest problem is that we’re just not scoring so we’re not being able to set up our defense,” Maryland head coach Kevin Willard said.

Villanova, fresh off a loss to Penn, tormented the Terps from start to finish. Just minutes in, the Wildcats took a 13-2 lead. That then became 23-9, and eventually ballooned to 33-13 with 3:40 to go in the half. It was an embarrassing 39-15 deficit at the half.

Every Terp that saw the floor in the opening 20 minutes had a negative plus-minus, while the Wildcats combined for a plus-106 rating. Jahmir Young and DeShawn Harris-Smith combined to make 2 of their 12 attempts and Jamie Kaiser Jr., who got his first start, only took two shots and missed them both. Scott and Julian Reese were the Terps’ most efficient players, but combined for just 10 points.

“I gotta come up with something quickly because the lineups out there aren’t [complimentary],” Willard added. “It’s on me.”

Altogether, Maryland shot 14.8% from the field in the first half.

“I didn’t think we would struggle this bad offensively to start [the year], but I do know where we’ll be at the end of the year,” Willard said.

On the other hand, Villanova could not miss, making 13 of 21 shots overall and 6 of 11 from distance. A majority of those scores were wide-open looks, created from defensive lapses by the Terps.

If you thought the second half would be better, you were wrong.

Villanova scored the first 11 points of the half. Maryland’s first five possessions resulted in three missed field goals and two turnovers. Willard had to call a timeout just after the three-minute mark.

The Terps didn’t score their first point of the period until close to five minutes had passed. Their first made second-half 3-pointer came with nine minutes left in the game.

Maryland scored 13 points in the final 3:19 after Villanova took out its starters. That was about the Terps’ only positive stretch from the game.

The disparity in offensive efficiency was glaring at the final whistle. Maryland shot 24% from the field compared to 45% from Villanova. Villanova had almost double the number of points in the paint and shot nearly 20% better from three.

Said Willard: “We don’t have a whole lot of confidence right now ... but we’ll get there. Again, I have great confidence in this team.”

Maryland didn’t look like it belonged on the same court as the Wildcats.

Three things to know

1. Maryland’s discouraging start to the season continued. The high expectations of this team have slowly dwindled. It can’t score or get a stop when it needs one.

2. The offense is ugly. Forget the Terps’ dismal 3-point shooting — just look at the overall offense. They shot 35.1% from the field against Davidson, 38.6% against UAB and 24% against Villanova.

It’s only been four games, but there is no fluidity and all five players on the court look confused.

3. Jahmir Young looks like a shadow of himself. Last season, Jahmir Young was one of the top point guards in the nation, leading Maryland to a 23-11 record. He has not looked like the same player this year, and against Villanova, he finished with nine points on 10 shots and committed four turnovers.