Apparently the presence of Barack Obama at Comcast Center brought along with him a bit of bad luck. The Maryland Terrapins, playing live in front of the President for the first time, lost to the Michelle Obama’s brother and the Oregon State Beavers 90 – 83.
Now more than any other time, the Terrapins missed Alex Len down low as they sacrificed more than 35 points in the paint. Devon Collier had 29 points for the Beavers, and got to the line at will against a Maryland frontline that had absolutely no answer. Roberto Nelson also managed to penetrate against the Maryland guards, and had a stellar 31 points of his own thanks to a bevy of layups and and-one’s.
The game was dead even at half, 38-38, after a Dez Wells buzzer beating three pointer was called off just before the second half began as he released it just after the clock expired. The Terps were shooting only 40% from the floor, but their rebounding advantage (20-12) and the Beavers sloppy play (11 first half turnoers) helped them remain in the game.
Despite taking 19 more shots than the Beavers, the Terrapins took a page out of the Obamacare playbook: they couldn’t connect on much. The Terrapins shot 42 % for the night, and failed to capitalize on numerous opportunities to knot the game up. From the free throw line, they were just as putrid: 62% from the stripe. Oregon State, on the other hand, took 30 free throws and connected on23 of them. In the end, Maryland’s failure to not commit fouls ended up damning them.
Even though Maryland actually won the turnover battle (which may have been the first time in what feels like two years), that’s not to say they weren’t sloppy with the ball. First it was Evan Smotrycz with four turnovers in the first half, then Shaquille Cleare with three splattered throughout the game. A Nick Faust turnover with about 22 seconds left and down three eventually was the nail in the coffin for Maryland. Their carelessness squandered quite a few chances to get back into the game before that, though.
Maryland still had the advantage on the boards, and collected a massive 23 offensive rebounds on the night. Charles Mitchell collected seven of those, and the big man finished with ten points despite playing only 19 minutes due to foul trouble and questionable defense.
Dez Wells led all Terrapins in points with 23 thanks to a fervent second half which helped Maryland remain in the game. Wells to this point hadn’t cracked double digits in scoring, but managed to turn it on against the Beavers when Maryland needed it most. Evan Smotrycz finished with 16, and Jake Layman with 15 after a couple three pointers by the pair helped Maryland cut the lead to five in the second half.
The loss is a bad one for the Terps, and one that they really need to rebound from. For a team with tournament hope aspirations, this one hurts. The Beavers lost to Coppin State earlier this month, and the committee will look long and hard at this loss before deciding on Maryland at the end of the season. It’s obviously early in the season, so there is still room for improvement, but the low post game has to concern you quite a bit.
Next up, Maryland takes on Morgan State at home on November 22nd at 6 PM.