The Maryland basketball team had their fair share of close calls over the first seven games of the season.
Despite a 7-0 mark, the Terrapins found themselves outside of the Top 25 polls. With that in mind, Pittsburgh offered a chance to improve their resume.
However, the Panthers jumped all over the Terps in the first half and built a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish in a 73-59 victory over Maryland in a ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup.
The opening minutes definitely went Maryland’s way.
Justin Jackson and Melo Trimble started Maryland off strong as they hit three shots from deep early to give Maryland an 11-7 lead at the Under 16 media timeout.
The Xfinity Center was filled with 17,144 fans and the loudest that it’s been all season with students back from Thanksgiving break. The energy could certainly be felt in the building.
Pittsburgh turned things over in the blink of an eye.
The Panthers went on a 24-4 run and closed the first half shooting 67 percent from the field and 50 percent from deep. They also held Maryland 35 percent, while the Terps also missed their final nine attempts from beyond the arc.
A 45-24 lead for the Panthers didn’t change much in the first 10 minutes of the second half
However, Maryland refused to go down without a fight. The Terps went on a 10-6 stretch, including three makes from deep by Anthony Cowan, Kevin Huerter, and Dion Wiley.
This is a trend that continued, as the Terps shortened the lead down to eight points with 3:33 remaining. Maryland had yet another nail-biting finish happening in College Park.
As it came down to the wire, the hope for Maryland to pull this game out dwindled. A combinations of foul calls, and two key offensive rebounds for Pittsburgh proved to be the difference.
This was the first game that Melo Trimble played at least 30 minutes and failed to score at least 18 points. He led the team with 13, and no other players were able to take that scoring role.
Pittsburgh coach Kevin Stallings attributed Trimble’s struggles to the Panther zone that got put on for a majority of the night.
Stallings explained that his goal was to keep Trimble away from the rim and the free throw line throughout the game. Trimble only shot four free throws, and six of his 13 points were from beyond the arc.
Stallings also mentioned that he understood the turn around that the Terrapins had to go through. Playing late games Friday and Saturday nights, coming home Sunday, and only having one day to prepare made this game difficult.
After the game coach, Mark Turgeon said “it was a good time to catch us, but that’s not an excuse”.
He mentioned that he wanted to give his young team time away from the game, but the short turnaround meant less time to prepare.
Turgeon just kept giving credit to Pittsburgh, saying they were “great” and that they “punched us in the mouth”, and Maryland did not react well.
Maryland looks to get back on track on Saturday as Oklahoma State comes to College Park for a 9 p.m. tip-off.