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Okay, Maryland, it is time to get off the mat. The Terps followed up a poor shooting performance against Wisconsin with its worst shooting in recent memory against Tennessee. Despite an exciting run and comeback attempt, it is going to be very tough to win any game by making just three shots in the first half.
Yes. Three. It was a miracle to only be down just 34-17 at the break.
The team was brutal from beyond the arc, too. If you didn’t track it, you might want to skip the next line because Maryland went 2-of-24 on the day.
Donta Scott’s shot went 0-for-6 from deep; Donald Carey was 0-for-4. Jahmir Young and Hakim Hart both went 1-of-7.
Scott is now just 2-of-15 in his last three games three. He did decide to shelve it a little and get aggressive in the second half. More of that will be needed.
Wisconsin exposed (took advantage) of a known weakness against Maryland. It is thin on the front court. It was highlighted more with Tennessee — which was also more aggressive from the jump. With all of that, the game ended 56-53.
Kevin Willard highlighted the positives in the comeback attempt.
“This team is resilient,” he said. “I think we have to get better at that (end of gameplay) and just clean up what we want to do and how we want to do it.
“I’m proud of how they’re playing, where we are and what we’ve gotten to; I just need to get them back in the gym and be able to practice a little bit.”
The game against UCLA is the close of a stretch that was circled at the beginning of the season. UCLA has already lost to Illinois — which Maryland beat — as a crossover analysis.
The Bruins are also mixing good and bad performances. Shots not falling was a common thread between the teams. It was of concern for Mick Cronin, even after the team rolled Denver.
“We took a lot of good shots that didn’t go in in the first half,” Cronin said. “You can’t control that. You can control your attitude, your effort and your energy. You’ve got to be mature enough to know you’re not going to make shots all the time. Let’s go rebound the ball.”
The obvious statement is that Maryland has to shoot better. The real point is that it needs to slow a little while setting a shot. The team plays fast. It is exciting to watch when it is working. When it is not, it looks sloppy and chaotic. Teams like Tennessee, Wisconsin, and UCLA can exploit that. Two of the three have.
Maryland has made me plenty of money already this season. If it is able to find one more pass — the Terps only average 11.5 assists versus 10.9 turnovers per game — it will go a long way to winning this game.
There is value on Maryland at home. Take it!
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