The script for the Maryland Terrapins basketball game was essentially written in the first 6 possessions of the game. The Terps turned the ball over a whopping 22 times, including five of their first six times down the court, and had taken themselves out of contention by the first half. The final score ended up being 62-52, but it wasn’t that close in reality.
While the Terrapins were busy taking a loaded shotgun to their teammates feet, Reggie Bullock was preoccupied scoring ten of the North Carolina Tar Heels first 12 points. Bullock came into the year averaging 14 points per contest, but he finished the first half with 21 points, missing only two shots. The Tar Heels really only needed Bullock in the first half when they took a near insurmountable 42-20 lead.
The Terrapins, meanwhile, simply couldn’t get anything going because of their inability to protect the basketball. Fifteen first half turnovers make trying to win a game quite difficult, but that’s exactly what Maryland accomplished. Pe’Shon Howard may have taken a dip in a pool of butter, because his first half stat-line (and really the last time he played significant minutes) was 0 points and 5 turnovers. The only Terrapin who really had it going in the first half was Dez Wells, who had eight of the Terrapins first 20 points. Unfortunately he was also part of the problem with 4 turnovers in the first half as well, seemingly trying to take out the scorers table on one errant pass.
After that, it was simply too difficult a lead to overcome for the Terrapins, despite their somewhat effective second half. North Carolina’s Bullock went cold in the second half, but that was when James Michael McAdoo, the team’s leading scorer, filled in the dirty work with some nice drives to the basket and just enough slams to finish off Maryland. McAdoo’s athletcism gave the Maryland big men trouble, and he finished the game with 19 points and 11 rebounds (of which five were offensive) by blowing by Len and Mitchell.
As stated before, the Terrapins really did give a good effort in the second half. Dez Wells continued his solid offensive play with 13 more points in the second half, and Alex Len finally came alive with some offensive assertiveness to the tune of six second half points. At one point, the Terrapins even cut the lead to 12 at 55-43 with just 6:47 to go in the game and 11 (60-49) with around 3:30 to go. During both runs, North Carolina simply didn’t make enough mistakes and got enough solid bounces to maintain their lead. A McAdoo block on Charles Mitchell stopped the first run, and a drawn foul and an offensive rebound halted the latter.
On the Carolina end, it was truly only Bullock and McAdoo who did much of anything, as no other player finished in double figures on the afternoon. they shot under 40% from the field, and even turned the ball over 14 times. They were outscored 32-20 in the second half, but their first 20 minutes of play were all that were required to win.
Outside of Len and Wells, not many Terrapins did much of anything. Seth Allen had some decent play in the second half, finishing with four points, six rebounds, and three steals. Charles Mitchell was solid, but not great, with five points and eleven rebounds. The Terrapins as a team managed to outrebound North Carolina on the night, 38 to 33, but the turnover issue (they finished with 22 total) negated almost all their efforts.
The Terrapins will get a chance to right the ship January 22nd when they take on the Boston College Eagles at home. Unfortunately, if they turn the ball over as fervently as they did against North Carolina, they could play high school teams and take a loss.