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The good, the bad & the ugly from Maryland basketball’s loss to Seton Hall

Foul shooting and starting both halves poorly proved too much for the Terps to overcome.

Maryland basketball Eric Ayala vs. Seton Hall Lila Bromberg / Testudo Times

Maryland basketball went back and forth with Seton Hall all evening Saturday, but let the game slip away late and fell 78-74. The Terps fell to 9-3 this season, and they’ll have one more game before conference play when they host Radford in a week.

This contest was close in most statistical categories. Maryland shot 46.6 percent from the field to Seton Hall’s 45.6 percent, while the Pirates heated up from three in the second half, finishing 8-of-21 to the Terps’ 8-of-25. The margin mostly came from points off turnovers (Seton Hall led 16-7 despite just a 10-8 turnover difference) and free-throw shooting (Maryland was 12-of-20 and the Pirates were 18-of-21).

Here’s what went right, what went wrong and what went really wrong in the loss.

The good: Bruno Fernando

The sophomore center posted his fourth double-double of the season with 19 points and 10 rebounds, including 13 and six in the first half. Seton Hall presented arguably his toughest test of the season thus far, as the Pirates moved 7’2 center Romaro Gill into the starting lineup and threw double teams at Fernando more often than not.

“I thought Bruno was terrific. Bruno was amazing,” head coach Mark Turgeon said after the game. “Four assists, two turnovers, handled double teams better, he was a beast. He rebounded well. Bruno was terrific. He gave us everything he had in the first half when we were struggling.”

Fernando is averaging 14.2 points and 9.4 rebounds per game, second and first on the team, respectively. With him and Jalen Smith in the post, Maryland has won the rebounding battle in 11 of 12 contests so far, including a 36-31 advantage Saturday.

The bad: Starting halves

Maryland didn’t look ready to play at the start of the game, missing shots on offense and allowing good looks on defense. Just 3:53 into the game, Seton Hall led 11-2. That lead stretched to 14-3 and 16-5 before the Terps found their footing and went into halftime with a 34-30 lead.

Coming out of the break though, Maryland was sluggish again. The Pirates opened the period on a 9-3 run, including seven unanswered points, to take a 39-37 lead.

“We didn’t start either half very well,” Turgeon said. “We looked like we hadn’t played in a while, and they looked like they had played Saturday, they played Wednesday. You’ve gotta give them a lot of credit. That’s a really good team that’s getting better and played really well today.”

The ugly: Free-throw shooting

This was .... yikes.

The final tally of 12-for-20 is rather generous to Maryland, as the Terps made their last four attempts. They started 8-of-16 and missed the front end of a one-and-one twice (which counts as one miss but has the effect of two). Jalen Smith and Darryl Morsell combined to go 1-of-5 at the charity stripe, while Fernando and Eric Ayala missed two shots each in a a 9-of-13 combined effort.

Free throws haven’t been a strength for Maryland this year, but until Saturday, they hadn’t been a weakness either. The Terps entered this game shooting 71.6 percent from the line as a team and went 17-of-19 against Loyola (Md.) in their last outing. Maryland’s only particularly poor showing at the line was a 7-of-13 against Hofstra, a game the Terps won by 11. But the quantity and timing of misses was incredibly costly this time.

“I think there was a time where we had a four-point lead and if we made the free throws, we would’ve extended the lead a lot more,” Fernando said, “but we didn’t make them, and Seton Hall did a great job getting to the line and making their foul shots. So gotta give them credit, and we’ve gotta get in the gym and start working.”