Maryland men’s basketball dropped its third conference game of the season in a 65-62 loss to Minnesota on Sunday.
Here are three takeaways from the game.
A sloppy first half
Both teams were lackadaisical with the ball to begin the game, with close to a dozen turnovers in the opening 10 minutes. Maryland turned the ball over 15 times in the first half, five of which came in the opening five minutes.
From Donta Scott trying to play point guard to idle passes, the Terps gifted Minnesota an early lead. Jahmir Young, who has played relatively clean of late, led these efforts with five turnovers in the first half while only dishing out just one assist.
“You’re gonna have some turnovers,” Maryland head coach Kevin Willard said. “But, you know, we gave them almost 22 points off our turnovers. On the road, it’s just — it’s a little bit perplexing.”
On the opposing side, the Golden Gophers did not do much to help secure that lead. They committed six turnovers in the first half and settled for inefficient shots early in the shot clock. The most egregious example came from Elijah Hawkins, who hoisted up a prayer from deep 3-point range with more than 20 seconds remaining on the shot clock. Minnesota shot 1-of-14 from three in the first half.
Things cleaned up as the game went on, but Maryland was lucky to hold a seven-point lead at halftime.
Julian Reese bounced back
Against Zach Edey and Purdue, Reese had one of the worst performances of his career. He went scoreless in 34 minutes of action — the first time he’s done so in his collegiate career when playing at least 15 minutes — on 0-for-4 shooting from the field.
Additionally, Reese posted just one point and fouled out with more than five minutes remaining two weeks ago against UCLA.
Willard voiced his displeasure with Reese following the loss to Purdue, saying, “Julian, he’s got to realize that he’s No. 1 on the scouting report … He’s got to bring it a little bit more than he has the last couple of games.”
Reese responded adequately against the Golden Gophers, recording 14 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.
He got into foul trouble early in the second half, though, and the Terps lead suffered as a result. Reese was substituted out with 16:50 remaining when Maryland led by nine, and just over eight minutes later, the Terps trailed by two, forcing Willard to call a timeout to put Reese back in the game.
“When [Julian] went out, that was huge,” Willard said. “I trust [Julian] with three fouls. I did it last year, and the fourth one, man, that was just a bad call.”
Reese slowed Minnesota’s run, but could not fully reverse the tide.
A drop-off from last year
Maryland’s conference record now stands at 1-3 — the second worst in the Big Ten — and an NCAA Tournament berth seems less likely with each passing game.
Last season, the Terps obliterated Minnesota both at home and on the road, defeating the Golden Gophers by an average of 26.5 points. In addition, the Golden Gophers were the worst team in the Big Ten last year, making this loss even more, as Willard would say, perplexing.
While Minnesota is a different team this season, so is Maryland. As currently constituted, the Terps seem far from a tournament-caliber team.
Unless Willard can figure out the offensive inconsistencies and the supporting cast surrounding Jahmir Young and Julian Reese can contribute on a regular basis, the Terps are in for a long season.