Maryland’s offensive struggles continue: Terps Fall to Penn State
Just days after Maryland’s upset win over Purdue: Maryland is unable to get a much needed win against a far weaker opponent in Penn State. Maryland at 10-8 was definitely questionable at best for tournament odds. However, Maryland’s 4 wins over ranked opponents were giving them some slight recognition. A win tonight could have been huge for this team in making a push into March. Maryland didn’t get it’s win and boy was it ugly.
Maryland started off the game very slow turning the ball over five times in their first possessions of the game. Penn State was doing them a huge favor by playing just as poor as Maryland was. Neither team had scored a combined 10 points through the first 7 minutes of the game.
Maryland’s offensive play this season has been very suspect and tonight really showed the offensive identity of the Terps. Maryland’s shooting woes started out early tonight and they stayed cold most of the game. It wasn’t until 8 minutes left in the half Maryland gained some momentum when Eric Ayala and Donta Scott both converted and one layups. Maryland however still only led by one.
Towards the end of the first half, Maryland went on an 11-0 scoring run that allowed them to pull away with some breathing room. However, Penn State answered right back with a 9-0 run themselves to close out the first half. The score at half was tied at just 23 points a piece. Both teams were displaying ugly basketball and showed very little life on the offensive end. Maryland finished the half with 11 turnovers and surprisingly was winning the turnover battle by 2 due to Penn State’s astonishing 13 first half turnovers.
Another low scoring game? This usually favors well for Maryland who in their upset wins had mostly been winning in very low scoring affairs. Maryland was in absolute need of a spark if they were going to put Penn State away. Ayala and Scott were the leading scorers for the Terps at the break.
The second half started off exactly how you wouldn’t have wanted it to if you’re a Maryland fan. Maryland’s offensive struggles continued. Open shots and opportunities were not being capitalized by Maryland’s offense. Once again, Penn State was still doing them a lot of favors playing almost as poorly as they were.
As the second half went on, Maryland and Penn State started to exchange scores ever so slightly but neither team could break out and get a lead. Ayala to this point was most of Maryland’s offensive production. No one else was showing any ability to create their own shot and score. Maryland’s offense overall just looked ugly. It also seemed as if they didn’t have any offensive scheme and were running around the court lost.
With 11:33 left, Maryland gave up the lead and never regained it. Penn State left the Terps plenty of chances to come back in this game but Maryland never took advantage. Maryland also got into foul trouble early in the half allowing for Penn State to score a lot of free points at the line. Penn State finished a solid 16-18 from the line tonight taking advantage of all the Maryland fouls.
A major problem for Maryland: The production of their starters. Ayala finished with 23 points and was the only player to reach double figures. Aaron Wiggins was ice cold finishing with just two points on an abysmal 1-11 shooting from the field. Maryland needs much more production out of him! He is supposed to be one of the team’s better scorers.
Maryland struggled as time expired and never were able to come back as Penn State kept just enough of an edge on the Terps for the remainder of the game. Missed wide open layups and unforced turnovers proved to be too much for Maryland to overcome tonight. Penn State closes it out with the 55-50 victory. Penn State now moves to 7-8, Maryland now to 10-9. Maryland finished with a heinous 16 turnovers on the night. Penn State was able to just take advantage of Maryland’s horrendous offensive play.
Maryland now suffers a back-breaking loss which will severely hurt their odds at making a push toward the NCAA Tournament. Turgeon and the Terps must now regroup and likely need to win out to have any chance now. Many of the games are winnable games. However, if Maryland continues to play the way they played tonight, they have no business beating anybody. Maryland takes on 7th ranked Ohio State at 9:00 PM Monday. Maryland has a few upsets this year. A fifth win over a ranked opponent on Monday may be what the Terps need to save their season.