Defense a Priority After Loss to Oregon State

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- With President Barack Obama looking on, Maryland let down against Oregon State, 90-83, Sunday evening at a packed Comcast Center.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Security was as tight as it has ever been in the Comcast Center Sunday night. Except around the Oregon State basket.

That's where the visiting Beavers did most of their damage en route to scoring a 90-83 victory over Maryland before a crowd of 14,776, that included President Barack Obama, brother-in-law of OSU coach Craig Robinson. With the President's large security detail in tow, fans found a more stringent search entering the building and much tighter security throughout the arena.

Didn't seem to bother the Beavers (2-1), who shot 59 percent from the field and got 60 points from two players, the inside-out combo of guard Roberto Nelson and 6-8 big man Devon Collier. Nelson, averaging 30 points per game this season coming in, got 31, and Collier set up camp in the paint with 20 points and 11 rebounds.

"That's all we talked about in the scouting report was those two kids," lamented Maryland coach Mark Turgeon. "We were trying to guard those two kids and obviously we didn't do a very good job. Nelson kept getting to the rim and Collier was just a beast. We had no answer for him."

Maryland (1-2) closed to within three points five times in the final 3:30 but could never get closer. "We couldn't really get the stops we needed and that was killing us," said forward Evan Smotrycz. "We would cut it down and they would get some easy buckets. We weren't very good defensively."

Oregon State, which lost to Coppin State a week ago, shot 59.1 percent in the first half, 60 in the second, and finished hitting 31-of-52 for 59.6 percent. The Beavers sat back in a 2-3 zone most of the game, their length making that strategy more daunting than it sounds. Maryland's lack of flow in the half court (Seth Allen please pick up the courtesy phone) hurt the Terrapins all night, too. The Beavers had a 29-14 edge in points off turnovers.

"I rely, as a coach, on us being good defensively," added Turgeon. "Almost all my teams I can remember could guard, and this one right now is not doing a very good job of it. We've got to build depth and some how, some way guys have to play better."

Dez Wells led the Terrapins with 23 points, hitting 7-of-16 shots and all eight of his free throws. He played the final five minutes with four fouls. The Beavers hit 23-of-30 at the line, their final eight over the last 5:07 to stave off the Terrapins.

"Defensively, we can do a lot better job in help-side and things like that," said Wells. "We'll get back to practice and work on those things and get better."

The Terrapins, who don't play again until Friday at the Paradise Jam in The Virgin Islands against Marist, have some time to fine-tune, and try to correct mistakes, though Turgeon made that sound daunting, too.

"I just can't get our guys to box out and I'm doing some things in practice I've never done," said the coach. "There are so many mistakes happening I can't keep up. I can't correct them. There are so many things happening. We'll watch the film and we'll try to get better.

"Sometimes you just have to tip your hat to (the opponent). They just kept making play after play after play."

Freshman Roddy Peters was a bright spot with career highs of 10 points and six assists. Smotrcyz finished with his best night as a Terp, too, with 16 points, five rebounds and three steals. He hit three three-pointers in six attempts. Jake Layman had 15 points, hitting 6-of-12 shots, 3-of-8 from three-point range.

Charles Mitchell had 10 points and eight rebounds, seven on the offensive end where Maryland stayed in the hunt by doubling OSU 24-12 in second chance points. But Mitchell, like all his big brethren, was over-matched by the long, 6-8 Collier, who hit 11 of 17 shots and had two blocks. Collier was 7-of-12 at the free throw line.

"We didn't have help-side when we needed to and that allowed him to get rolling," explained Smotrcyz. "He finished and he's tough down there. We gave up a lot of and-ones, which I think is a product of (not being physical). He was kind of able to back guys down and get right there."

The Terrapins, who had trailed by 12, came down the stretch with a chance, though, if they could just get a defensive stop. They could not.

Nelson hit a tough 15-footer with Wells all over him at 29 seconds to make it 86-81, and then Nick Faust turned the ball over, the Terrapins trying to hurry into a three-point chance. Challe Barton would hit four consecutive free throws over the next two OSU possessions to seal the victory.

Maryland hadn't been able to get within one possession for most of the second half until Smotrcyz faked a defender in the air and hit a three to make it 76-73 at 3:30. But the pesky, deceptively athletic Nelson drove inside to score.

At the other end, Mitchell kept the ball alive and Smotrcyz ended up with two free throws. Collier got a lay-in, part of his 18 second half points. Wells' steal and subsequent free throws cut it back to 80-77 at 1:49.

Wells would hit two more free throws and then score on a quick drive but each time, OSU answered. His drive and score at 1:02 made it 84-81, but that was as close as the Terrapins could get.

"The most disappointing thing was we had our students here and they were ready to cheer," said Turgeon. "It's hard to yell and cheer when you can't get stops."

The Terrapins had trailed 57-45 after a turnover and Collier bucket on the break. Turgeon took a timeout and the Terrapins had one of their best possessions of the half, reversing the ball against the OSU zone and finding Layman open for a three.

But Maryland still didn't have an answer for Collier as he scored inside, his fourth basket in the first six minutes of the second half. Peters scored on a tough drive, and after a rare stop, Smotrcyz scored inside, too, to make it 59-52 at 12:33.

Collier answered but Wells got a three-point play on a drive to cut the deficit to 61-55 with 12:06 to play.

Peters scored on a drive. Then after a turnover, Layman missed but Smotrcyz got a steal in the backcourt. He missed in traffic but Faust followed to pick up a foul, the Terrapins looking much more energized than at any time in the game.

But Faust missed the front end and Collier stuck in a Nelson miss. Smotrycz knocked down a three to make it 63-60 at 10:02, but Collier hit a turnaround over Smotrycz.

Layman got a three and now it was 65-63. Maryland got the ball with a chance to tie but Faust turned it over trying to dish in the paint. Victor Robbins then hit a big three from the corner to make it 68-63 at the 8-minute mark.

The Beavers pushed the lead back to nine. The Terps were struggling on offense when Faust picked up a loose ball in the corner and nailed at three to make it 72-66 at 6:14. Faust had six points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals in 36 minutes but was just 2-of-8 from the field.

Wells drew a charge on Nelson and then Peters drove to feed Mitchell to cut the lead back to four before Barton hit two free throws to make it 74-68 at 5:07.

"Our defense was sloppy," said Layman. "We needed to come out in the second half and have more energy than we did."

The Beavers started the second half strong, running off the first eight points of the frame to open a 46-38 advantage at 18:01 on Barton's jumper. It was the largest lead of the game to that point.

Collier scored on a stickback and was fouled. He missed but Angus Brandt stuck that one back in for a 50-40 lead at 17:18. Wells got a three-point play at the other end but Collier answered with another score and free throw, in what would become a theme.

And not only did the Terrapins dig a hole, Wells, Mitchell, Smotrcyz and starting center Shaquille Cleare all picked up their third foul during this stretch.

"We missed a lot of box-outs where we weren't very physical," said Turgeon. "I think we gave Oregon State a lot of confidence by the way we started the game, the way we played the first half and the way we started the second half."

After Peters and Mitchell, the Terrapins didn't get much off the bench from Damonte Dodd, who got two fouls in three minutes, Jonathan Graham, who played one minute, and Varun Ram, who played less than that.

The Terrapins also hurt themselves at the free throw line where they were 15-of-24, and missed some when a point here and there would have kept them within closer striking distance.

The score was tied 38-31 at the half, well, actually after the half. Both teams went to the locker room thinking Wells had hit a 35-footer at the buzzer to put Maryland up 41-38. After further review, and just before the second half started, officials corrected the call and the score.

It was fitting because the lead changed hands nine times and there were 12 ties in the first half. Neither team led by more than six. Smotrycz, who was active working against OSU's 2-3 zone, had a free throw to tie the score just before the Beavers turned the ball over and Wells hit the bomb, ultimately, correctly ruled after time had expired.

The Terps shot just 40 percent but hung around thanks to a 13-2 edge in second chance points. Maryland had a 20-12 rebounding edge but Oregon State shot 59.1 percent, getting a lot of looks inside and in transition. The Beavers also were 10-of-14 at the line in a foul-plagued first half. OSU sliced that rebounding advantage to 39-32 by the end of the game.

Nelson killed the Terps early, hitting 5-of-8 shots, his lone three and 5-of-6 at the line for 16 points. Mitchell had eight to lead Maryland at the half.

The Terrapins had started slowly again, turnovers on the first two possessions. It took a few minutes to solve Oregon State's 2-3 zone. Maryland didn't lead until 15:03 when Mitchell stuck back a Smotrycz miss to make it 8-6.

When the Beavers went to trap out of the zone, Wells found Layman for a three from the corner to make it 11-8. OSU came back to take a 12-11 lead when Collier scored inside.

The Terrapins went on a 9-2 run, Wells hitting two free throws at 12:57 to put Maryland back in front. Then Cleare dunked from a Peters feed, and got a tip-in next time down after an OSU score. When Smotrcyz canned a three, Maryland led 20-14 at 10:46.

The Beavers roared back, though, Nelson scoring on a drive and then hitting a three-pointer to make it 20-19. No team would lead by more than two points until OSU ran off back-to-back baskets when Cheikh N'Diaye scored in transition and then Nelson got a tip-in after Collier stole the ball from Smotrcyz.

Wells hit a three to make it 31-30 at 4:41. When Peters scored consecutive baskets, the second one on the break at 3:08, Maryland went back ahead, 34-32.

"We need to get better," said Smotrcyz. "We really didn't execute and we can't allow that to happen. They were really good but we allowed them to get rolling a little bit. We have to be better, more focused. It starts in practice."

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