Welcome to our next edition of "The Five," where we take a look at five trends from Maryland's 75-63 loss to UNC on Tuesday, Feb. 4.
I am not sure if Maryland thought they solved their road woes with a win at Virginia Tech but the Terps dug themselves into such a deep hole on Tuesday night they were unable to fully recover. The offense lacked any movement, from passing to actual bodies moving, and sloppy turnovers played right into the Tar Heels strength allowing them to score quickly and furiously as they opened the game on a 19-3 run.
That was the bad news, the good news was that Maryland did show some fight. After falling behind 19-3, the Terps answered with a sizable 16-3 run of their own to cut the deficit to just three points with a little over eight minutes left in the first half. Less than two minutes later, Dez Wells picked up his second foul forcing Mark Turgeon to call Roddy Peters to the court. Back-to-back fouls by Charles Mitchell and back-to-back turnovers by Peters landed both on the bench. With the majority of the team in foul trouble, Turgeon was forced to strategically sub the majority of his starting five as Evan Smotrycz, Jake Layman, MItchell and Wells all had two fouls at the break. The Tar Heels took advantage and pushed their lead back up to 12 by halftime. That pretty much tells the tale of the night for the Terps; they could cut the lead to a one possession game and just as quickly fall behind by double digits.
Lack of Focus
Maryland lost its focus at home and nearly let Miami comeback from a 10-point deficit last week. However, after the game the players vowed they had "learned their lesion." A 20 point win over Virginia Tech over the weekend seemed to support that statement until Feb. 4. At times, Maryland strung together big defensive stops, playing solid man-to-man defense, while at others they seemed utterly lost. On the offensive end, there were streaks where Maryland kept their spacing, moved the ball well and stayed patient. Then there were quick pull-up 3s early in the shot clock and players going one on four, out of control down the lane. Prime example: after Seth Allen's head-scratching foul allowed Marcus Paige to convert a four-point play to extend the Heels' lead to 11, Allen and Wells helped the Terps cut the lead to six midway through the second half. But instead of continuing to chip away at the lead, Maryland allowed back-to-back buckets by Paige and boom, the leads was back to 11.
Yes, Maryland somehow landed referee Karl Hess for the umpteenth time this season, but complaining about the officiating won't change it. Every time a whistle blew, the Maryland players either immediately looked to the bench with that "what did I do?" or "you have to be kidding me" look. If the whistle blows the foul has been called. There is nothing that will change it. Rather than focusing on the call, they need to maintain their focus on the court and adjust. If they officials are calling the game tight, they cannot be surprised when touch fouls are called. I think getting upset about a call causes tempers to flair and emotions to run high, none of which are beneficial to a team that lacks stability. You can't control the officials; you can only control your play.
I can't take credit for this one, however, as TTEdgar pointed out in his game thread, Seth Allen still seems be feeling the effects of his foot injury. Edgar noted that Allen looked a step slower than usual and it seemed to be hampering his ability to create any type of space as he lacked his usual explosive first step. The Terps have four days until they face the Seminoles, who beat them by 24 in Tallahassee; hopefully Allen will be well rested by then.
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