Terps Can't Get Over The Hump, Fall To Pitt

Free throws become the demise for the Terps as they go 14-30 from the line.

It’s generally no secret that hitting your free throws is the key to winning games. Unfortunately, nobody seemed to have told the Terps.

Maryland went 0-for-7 from the line in the first half, and finished 14 of 30, ultimately falling to No. 4 Pitt 79-70, in the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament semi-final at Madison Square Garden.

“We make our free throws in the first half, we probably have the lead,” said Williams after the game. “We’ve got to make our free throws, we’ve been doing this a long time. If a guy ever came out with a book that could teach people how to shoot free throws, he wouldn’t be coaching, he’d be on some island in the Caribbean.”

Despite not hitting a free throw in the first half, the Terps only trailed by 4 going in to the break.

The Panthers (4-0) came out of the gate strong in the second half, and quickly expanded that lead to 13 points. However, Maryland managed to rally back, tying the game on a three-point play by Berend Weijs with 12:47 remaining in the contest.

On the ensuing possession, Pitt responded with a three-point play of their own, regaining a lead that they would not relinquish.

“It was the first big game for a lot of our guys,” said Williams. “It just so happened to be at Madison Square Garden.”

The Terps had trouble with Pitt’s size and aggression on the boards, getting out rebounded 49 to 28. Coach Jamie Dixon utilized his frontcourt depth to his advantage, keeping a rotation going, making subs at seemingly every dead ball.

Forward Talib Zanna notched a double-double for Pitt, scoring 14 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.

“They were fresh,” said Maryland sophomore Jordan Williams of the Panthers’ big men. Williams, who came into the game averaging 13.7 rebounds, racked up 8 to go along with 14 points. “You get tired playing against guys like that, and they kept switching up who was guarding me. It’s not very often you play a team like that.”

Senior Cliff Tucker led Maryland with 17 points, on 7 of 15 shooting, and added three rebounds and five assists.

However, Jordan Williams took some positives away from the loss. “They’re the No. 4 team in the country, and until there were 30 seconds left in the game, nobody in the building thought we were out of it,” said the sophomore.

The loss dropped Maryland to 3-1 on the season, and the Terps will take on No. 13 ILLINOIS in the tournament’s third-place game, Friday at 5 p.m. on ESPN2.

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