Maryland basketball suffered its first loss of the season Tuesday night at the hands of Pitt, 73-59, in a game that was only close for the first and last 10 minutes.
The Terps have made a habit of waiting until late in the second half to come back or put teams away, and that finally caught up with them against the Panthers.
Maryland got off to a 6-0 start thanks to threes from Melo Trimble and Justin Jackson, but things immediately got worse, and didn’t get better until it was too late. The Terps tightened what was a 25-point deficit to only eight points with three minutes left, but couldn’t complete what would have been their most outrageous comeback yet.
Jamel Artis and Michael Young powered Pitt, just as they have all season. They outscored Maryland by themselves in the first half, and only let up slightly in the second. The duo finished with 47 points combined.
Maryland couldn’t buy a bucket from deep until the final minutes, but insisted on hoisting shots up anyway. The Terps sunk three of their first four attempts from beyond the ark, then missed their next 15 before Kevin Huerter finally nailed one with 12 minutes left. The Terps finished 10-of-36 (28 percent) from three-point range, and that kept them out of the game.
Pitt neutralized Trimble, as Maryland’s star guard couldn’t consistently make shots or get to the line like he usually does. Trimble finished with 13 points on 4-of-13 shooting and turned the ball over three times.
Everyone not named Justin Jackson (8 points in the first half) or Melo Trimble (7) had a pretty quiet first half. The Terps shot 35 percent in the opening 20 minutes, and that only got marginally better in the second half.
Things got out of hand quickly. A 26-20 game rapidly turned into 39-20 as Maryland’s offense stalled. The Terps couldn’t hit threes whether they were open or contested, and didn’t have an inside presence either.
But just as they have in almost every other game this season, the Terps made things interesting at the end. Xfinity Center erupted with every made shot as Maryland kept chopping down Pitt’s lead, but it was too little, too late. Young hit two free throws to stop a 7-0 Maryland run, and that silenced the comeback.
The loss drops Maryland to 7-1. The Terps are in action again on Saturday against Oklahoma State.
Three things to know
- Maryland was going to lose eventually. The Terps played teams like Towson and Richmond closer than they should have, and we could kind of see this coming. A loss by any score isn’t the end of the world, especially with a young team, and the late comeback was encouraging.
- But it didn’t have to be like this. Maryland was utterly overmatched for long stretches against a team that didn’t have any sort of significant talent advantage. Pitt isn’t particularly better than a lot of the teams Maryland will face in Big Ten play, so the Terps will have to figure out how to play opponents that have size and talent.
- Melo Trimble and the freshmen struggled, but didn’t get much help. Maryland was due for a night where its best contributors were off their game, and the best this team could hope for was that the supporting cast would be there to pick up the slack. Besides Dion Wiley and Michal Cekovsky, it didn’t.