The Maryland basketball team had a knack of coming back and winning close games earlier in the season.
Unfortunately for the Terrapins, they weren’t able to battle back against No. 11 seed Xavier. Maryland fell to Xavier by a 76-65 decision on Thursday evening. This comes after two years of winning at least one NCAA Tournament game.
Kevin Huerter led the Terps with 19 points (5-of-12 shooting), including three of his makes coming from beyond the arc. Justin Jackson also chipped in 14 points in the loss.
Both teams struggled to find their groove offensively in the early going.
Maryland only made three of their first 13 shots over the first 10 minutes of the game. To make matter worse, Xavier embarked on an 14-0 run to jump out to a 17-8 lead.
Much like the Northwestern game in the Big Ten Tournament, this one proved to be a game of runs.
The Terps responded with a 7-0 run of their own to cut the deficit to 17-15 with 9:41 left in the first half. Huerter was fouled on a pair of layup attempts and hit all four free throws while Jaylen Brantley nailed a three.
Xavier was able to compose themselves and extend their lead once again. With 7:52 remaining in the opening half, Kaiser Gates connected on a shot from beyond the arc to give the Musketeers a 24-16 advantage.
Huerter and Jackson responded with threes of their own to help bring Maryland back. Out of the Under Four media timeout, Anthony Cowan hit a pair of free throws to tie the game at 30.
Jackson really played some inspiring basketball in the opening stanza. The East York, Ontario native scored 10 points (3-of-5 shooting) in the first half, including a pair of makes from beyond the arc.
Xavier did manage to retake the lead at 35-30, but Maryland finished off the first half on a 6-0 run. Melo Trimble recorded a steal and converted a fast break layup to give the Terps a 36-35 halftime lead.
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It was their first advantage since they led 8-7 early on.
Maryland got off to a horrific start, but managed to close the half out strong. The Terps shot 40.7 percent (11-of-27), but really had a knack for getting to the free throw line (9-of-11).
The Terps came out of the locker room looking like they picked up right where they left off. Huerter converted a layup and Trimble hit a mid-range jumper to extend Maryland’s advantage to 40-35 in the first minute.
With 16:01 left in the game, Cowan recorded a steal and made the layup in transition to give Maryland a 46-40 lead. The Terps hit four of their first six shots in the second half.
Over the next five minutes, Maryland only scored four points and missed five of their seven field goal attempts. During that stretch, Xavier was able to take a 55-50 lead courtesy of threes from Malcolm Bernard and Trevon Bluiett.
Xavier increased their lead out to 61-50. Part of the reason for the Musketeers’ lead was the fact that they hit six of their first 10 shots from long-range in the second half.
Maryland was able to chip away at the deficit and trim it to a 65-59 game with 2:47 left. However, it was just too much to overcome for the Terps.
Maryland fails to win an NCAA Tournament game for the first time in the last three years. While it’s disappointing, this was an extremely successful season for a very young team.