Welcome to our next edition of "The Five," where we take a look at five trends from Maryland's 57-55 loss to Syracuse at the Comcast Center in College Park, Md., Feb. 25.
Much is made of Syracuse's 2-3 zone and yes, the Orange's vaunted defense posed a formidable challenge for the Terps' offense, but it wasn't the zone that forced Maryland into 18 turnovers. In fact, even after the game Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim wouldn't take credit for the impressive stat.
"I thought Maryland made a couple unforced ones tonight, we made a couple good plays but I thought it was more they made some bad turnovers that is what I saw," he said.
It was Maryland's mental lapses, lazy passes and sometimes just downright head-scratching plays that produced 18 turnovers. For example, In the first half Trevor Cooney nailed a 3 over Nick Faust, who responded by making a lethargic pass, which Tyler Ennis picked off and layed in to put ‘Cuse up 16-8. Later in the half Jake Layman had the ball stripped and stolen for another easy Syracuse layup. With a minute and a half to go, a Seth Allen's three cut Cuse's lead to four and Maryland had a chance to make it a two-point game at the break when Allen's fast-break pass careened off of Nick Faust's hands and into the first row. Instead, Maryland closed the half with two Dez Wells turnovers while Ennis drilled a three to put the Orange up eight at the break. You just cannot turn the ball over 18 times -- many of which were self-inflicted -- and expect to win a game, end of story.
Big Troubles Continue
Jerami Grant played just 13 minutes against Maryland, and had he played more the final score would have reflected it. The first time Jerami Grant touched the ball it was evident Maryland would be in trouble in the paint (had injuries and foul trouble not come into play). Early in the first half Grant spun across the lane and had his way with Evan Smotrycz, easily getting to the hoops for a quick two points. Grant followed that up with a monstrous slam on the ensuing possession. Luckily for the Terps, Grant stayed on the bench in the second half, otherwise it is unlikely the game would have been that close.
Another Slow Start for Wells
Dez Wells has had some big second half performances this season, and he has put this team on his back in many of the late game situations, but where was he for the first 20 minutes? Wells had just two points and three turnovers in 15 minutes on the court in the first half. After halftime he came out playing much more aggressively. He was much more aggressive driving to the hoop, and he fought his way to the hoop and the free throw line, but this team is simply not good enough to win last night's game without him playing effectively for a full 40 minutes.
Speaking of Wells
I am still scratching my head about the second-to-last play of the game. Wells had the ball in his hands, driving to the hoop and he kicks a pass out to Nick Faust on the baseline? Wells has to keep the ball in his hands in late-game situations. He's Maryland's most dynamic player and unless Allen is wide open on the 3-point line there is never a reason he should be passing up a late-game shot (does he not remember the Miami game?) Even if he misses that shot, Syracuse would have been forced to make a more aggressive play to stop Wells than a less-threatening Faust.
Looking in the Mirror
After the game Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon wasn't happy. He nearly went all Jim Boeheim on the officials when they failed to call a foul on Faust's baseline drive that would've given Maryland the lead, but looking at the numbers he hardly had cause to complain. I would elaborate on this one, but I'll defer to Boeheim.
"Well first of all, let me just tell you this," Boeheim said. "They shot 27 free throws. If anybody is going to complain about the officiating, I'm going to complain. And I think I did enough of that Saturday. Five times that we saw them (the Terps) going to the basket that there was no foul and there was a foul called five times. You want to talk about one play? I'll talk about five times. If they didn't turn it over 18 times, they wouldn't have had to worry about that."
The Five: What I Learned After Syracuse
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