The Maryland men's basketball team almost took one of its worst losses in years on Wednesday, when Penn State waltzed into Xfinity Center and carried a double-digit lead into the final minutes before a Diamond Stone-fueled comeback salvaged a win for the Terps.
"Hopefully, that's as bad as it gets for us this year," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said afterward.
The bright side: It probably is, at least in one important sense.
Not that Maryland won't lose games this season, because it will certainly lose several. But Maryland's shooting against Penn State was so unusually egregious that it's hard to expect it will ever be that bad again, and the Terps didn't even earn a loss for their troubles. In fact, in some ways, they played one of their best games.
Here's how Maryland fared across the "four factors" in team efficiency: effective field goal percentage (eFG%), turnover percentage (TOV%), offensive rebounding percentage (ORB%) and free throw attempts per field goal attempt (FT/FGA).
Maryland: 37.7 eFG% / Penn State: 48.1 eFG% / National average: 49.5 eFG%
Some days, there's an invisible lid on the hoop. For most of Wednesday, that's what Maryland seemed to be facing. The Terps' 37.7 effective field goal percentage was their worst of the season by a full 12 percent, and it was their second-worst output of the last two seasons. (The only one worse was their win at Michigan State in two overtimes last winter.) It's quite possible – likely, even – that Maryland will never shoot that badly again. Defensively, things were normal. Penn State shot about two percentage points better than its own average and one point off the national average.
Maryland: 10.9 TOV% / Penn State: 15.5 TOV% / National average: 18.7 TOV%
This was actually quite encouraging. Maryland's 11 percent turnover rate was its best of the season in any game, and was basically half of the 20.6 percent figure the Terps posted in their previous game against Marshall. The Terps continue not to force many turnovers on defense, but the showing of ball security on offense surely pleased Turgeon.
Maryland: 41.7 ORB% / Penn State: 23.1 ORB % / National average: 30.3 ORB%
If Maryland had made anything in this game, this would have been a total blowout. The Terps grabbed back four of every 10 missed shots on offense, which is a massive clip. By this metric, it was their best rebounding showing of the year.
Free throw attempts
Maryland: .474 FT/FGA / Penn State: .245 FT/FGA / National average: 0.364 FT/FGA
The Terps got to their bread and butter – i.e., the foul line. Penn State has had problems with fouling too much this season, and Maryland exploited those expertly. Stone took a non-typo 25 foul shots all by himself, or nine more than Penn State's entire team took.
For a detailed accounting of Maryland's advanced-stats efforts in every game so far, go here.