Comeback Falls Short at Miami

The Terps were unable to finish off the comeback against Miami as they fell 90-86.

An outstanding display of heart and endurance came up just short Wednesday night, as the Maryland Terrapins couldn't capitalize on an outstanding comeback in Coral Gables, falling to the Miami Hurricanes by a final of 90-86.

Terrell Stoglin poured in a career-high 33 points while freshman Alex Len added 11 points and eight rebounds. Miami's Durand Scott had 24 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for the Canes.

With the loss, Maryland remains winless against Miami as an ACC opponent, dropping all six games they've played as conference foes.

The Terps shot a horrendous 8-for-27 (29.6%) from the field in the first half, which surprisingly proved enough to hang around. Maryland pounded the ball down low to James Padgett and Alex Len to try and break a half-long slump by guards Pe'Shon Howard and Terrell Stoglin. The two sophomores were a combined 2-of-10 from the field in the first half.

Stoglin, the leading scorer in the ACC, was rendered largely ineffective by guard Shane Larkin. The speedy freshman guard was relentless in his pursuit of the Terps' main scoring threat, constantly face-guarding Stoglin no matter his whereabouts.

After a few uncharacteristic turnovers by Howard, the Terps got back on track midway through the first half, ending a brief drought with a highlight reel Mychal Parker slam. However, the impressive dunk did nothing to kick the slumping Terps into gear.

The Terrapins went on to close out the half missing 14 of their final 16 shots, while Miami ripped off a 14-1 run to head into halftime, leading 34-23. Durand Scott led the Hurricanes charge, finishing the half shooting a perfect 5-for-5 from the field, registering 12 points, four rebounds and four assists. Maryland star Terrell Stoglin, on the other hand, was limited to only four points.

As flat as the Terps were to end the first half, they began the final half with an equal amount of urgency. Alex Len had two early baskets and an important hustle play defensively that led to Terrell Stoglin's first three of the evening, cutting the lead to 36-30 barely two minutes in.

Miami then went on a small run of their own after Maryland got as close as four, building their lead back up to 10, but the Terps refused to lie down. A technical foul on Miami forward Raphael Akpejiori set off another Maryland run, this time cutting the Hurricanes lead to 48-44 with 10:40 remaining.

In what was a back and forth half, Miami quickly rebounded with a string of stops and impressive long-range shooting that ran their lead up to 11 with 7:30 remaining.

Coming out of a timeout, guard Nick Faust grabbed a loose ball forced by the swarming Maryland full-court press. As he drove to the basket, a Miami player quickly stepped in to draw contact, which the referee signaled to be a charge, much to the dismay of Terps' coach Mark Turgeon. After voicing his opinion, Turgeon was hit with a double technical, resulting in an ejection. Suddenly, the 11-point Miami lead grew to 62-46 with 7:30 remaining.

Perhaps inspired by Turgeon's fire, Maryland quickly cut the deficit back to 11, where the two teams remained in an offensive deadlock until a series of events with just over five minutes remaining changed the course of the game.

As Nick Fast drove to the basket, a Miami defender stepped in and was called for a blocking foul. The momentum from the drive carried Faust into the middle of the paint where he was met by a bear hug around the neck from Miami center Reggie Johnson, who was then hit with a technical.

Maryland took advantage of their opportunity, hitting all four free throws and cutting the lead to 62-57 after an Ashton Pankey put back.

Just when it looked as though the momentum had swung to the Terrapins, a turnover and a foul resulted in four Miami free throws, opening the lead back up to 9.

Yet, with Miami's two biggest players on the bench, Maryland was able to crawl back slowly but surely. A series of made baskets and defensive pressure brought the score to 69-64 with 2:12 remaining.

A Miami foul off of a turnover brought the lead to 69-66 with 1:37 left, until another turnover resulted in a Stoglin three, drawing the score even at 69-69. A series of missed shots by both teams in the closing seconds sent the game into an extra period after the 23-7 Maryland run in the final 7:05 had knotted it all up.

Early into the extra period, a Stoglin three-pointer gave Maryland a 72-71 lead, their first since early in the first half. The Canes were quick to answer, as a confused Trey McKinney Jones launched a 35-foot three as the shot clock expired somehow managed to find the bottom of the net, putting his team ahead 74-72 with 2:25 remaining. On the other end, an Alex Len dunk and block on the defensive end gave the Terps an opportunity to take a decisive lead.

Instead, a failed possession led to a Durand Scott bucket on the other end. Yet, a quick Scott foul with just under a minute remaining allowed Pe'Shon Howard to once again tie the game up, this time at 76-76 with just over 0:35 remaining. Missed shots by Malcolm Grant and Howard as time expired sent the game into a second overtime.

In the second overtime, the Terps simply ran out of gas. The Canes came out strong, hitting on both of their first two possessions and widening their lead to 83-76 with 2:00 remaining. A Terrell Stoglin three, one of his six on the evening, cut the lead down to 83-79. After a defensive stop, an unlikely turnover and foul by Sean Mosley gave Miami a convincing six-point lead with under a minute left.

Three free throws by Stoglin weren't enough, as the Canes closed out the game with a solid effort from the line, surviving the Maryland scare by a final of 90-86.

Maryland used their strong second half and overtime performances to boost their shooting percentages, going 27-of-66 (40.9%) from the field and 26-of-35 (74.3%) from the line. They struggled, however, from beyond the arc, shooting 6-of-27 (22.2%).

With the loss the Terps fall to 3-4 in the ACC and will look to right their ship Saturday afternoon at home as they take on the conference-leading Tar Heels of UNC. Tipoff is slated for 4 p.m.


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