November 20, 2018

Maryland Basketball: No. 2 Terps fall to No. 9 UNC, 89-81, as turnovers and cold shooting late too much to overcome

In the most anticipated game of the year for the Maryland Terrapins, the No. 2 ranked team in the country traveled to Chapel Hill to face off against former foe North Carolina in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. UNC had their best player, senior point guard Marcus Paige, return to the lineup after he suffered a wrist fracture to his non-shooting hand. After it looked like Maryland might get run out of the Dean Dome early, they fought back to make this one of the most entertaining college basketball games of the year. It was two heavyweights responding to the other’s blow without quit — often with unconscious shooting.

Unfortunately, the hot shooting for Maryland went cold in the late stages of the game and they fell 89-81 to the Tar Heels in a game that was much closer.

Maryland comes out struggling against UNC press

Similarly, but not to the same extent as West Virginia last year, the Tar Heels pressurer the ball in home court sets. That, combined with the Terps first real road test, seemed to get to the rather inexperienced Terps club in terms of those who are playing together. Maryland committed nine turnovers in the first seven minutes of the game. Some were anxious when getting caught up in the Tar Heels fast pace. The Terrapins were lucky to be down just six at the under-12 timeout, but things got worse before they got better.

Going into the half things were not as bad as they could have been

In the final 7:35 of the first half, Maryland had just one turnover and that made the difference for them to close the gap. Near the end of the half, the Terps went on a 9-1 run to close the deficit to a mere four points. It started with six points and six assists for Melo Trimble after he got over his four early turnovers. After being down as many as 13, if you told Mark Turgeon that his team would be down six after committing 13 first half turnovers that North Carolina cashed into 14 points, he would probably be happy on some level.

Lightning fast pace to start the second benefitted Terps

Before even hitting the under-16 timeout, both teams combined for 32 points. Joel Berry answered a Rasheed Sulaimon three, Marcus Paige answered Trimble’s, UNC answered Robert Carter‘s three with an alley-oop. The pace was incredible to watch as a sports fan, but heartbreak for coaches that preach defense. Maryland drew even with UNC at 53 on Sulaimon’s fourth 3-pointer of the game. The pace continued from both sides until the 8-minute mark, when things were tied 69.

Melo Trimble had the best game in his career after poor start

(Photo by: Charlotte Observer)

(Photo by: Charlotte Observer)

For the first time in the illustrious career for the Upper Marlboro native, Trimble finished with a double-double that included assists. In a seemingly role reversal from earlier in the season where Sulaimon was the main distributor, the sophomore guard showed he can do absolutely everything. He hit his patented step-back 3 off the pick-and-roll four times. Trimble finished the game with a season-high 23 points and career-high 12 assists. Trimble was responsible for 52 of the Terps 81 points tonight. Despite the eight turnovers, many early, it was a good night for the Big Ten preseason player of the year.

An early non-conference loss, but still a positive on the tournament record

When you go into enemy territory against a top-10, and a possible No. 1 seed tourney seed, work your way back from a 13-point deficit, and lose because the home team shoots the ball nearly 70 percent from beyond the arc, it is okay. One of the biggest things that hurt Maryland last year was a weak non-conference and road schedule. Marcus Paige lived up to his national player of the year potential and UNC was simply clutch in every possible scenario offensively. In what will probably go down as the Tar Heels best offensive performance of the season, the Terps should not have too much to feel down about. Who knows, these two teams could meet up again in Houston during this year’s Final Four. If you are still feeling down, just watch this crossover a few times.

Maryland will return to Xfinity Center Friday for a matchup against St. Francis (PA), before a game with Connecticut a week from today at Madison Square Garden.

About Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Wizards, and Maryland Terrapins. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland. Neil has loved everything related to the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals, and Terrapins since he was eight years old. However, he favors the Orioles, as he started watching baseball before the Expos moved to DC. You can follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.

Trackbacks

  1. […] In the most anticipated game of the year for the Maryland Terrapins, the No. 2 ranked team in the country traveled to Chapel Hill to face off against former foe North Carolina in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. UNC had their best player, senior point guard read more […]

  2. […] In the most anticipated game of the year for the Maryland Terrapins, the No. 2 ranked team in the country traveled to Chapel Hill to face off against former foe North Carolina in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. UNC had their best player, senior point guard …read more […]

  3. […] arguably was the Maryland Terrapins best shooting performance of the season against UNC, they looked to minimize the turnovers and up the defense going forward. For the first time all […]

  4. […] Terrapins dropped to sixth in the AP Poll and ninth in the USA Today Coach’s poll following a tough road loss to North Carolina. From Madison Square Garden, the Terps had an opportunity to record their first quality road win […]

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