By Aaron Jaffe
In this year’s iteration of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, Maryland men’s basketball took on the Virginia Tech Hokies on Len Bias night in College Park.
The first half was close, with neither team holding a lead larger than five and Virginia Tech led by one at the half. After Julian Reese’s dunk at the 12:01 mark of the second half put the Terps up 43-36, they began to fall apart. The defense that held Virginia Tech to only one made field goal in the first ten minutes of the second half began to crack, and it allowed Hunter Cattoor hit three of his four three-pointers in the second half that were vital to the comeback for the Hokies.
The Maryland offense morphed into countless isolations late in the game and stalled out the rest of the way. Although the Terps kept it close, and Hakim Hart had a chance to tie the game with 17 seconds on the clock, Maryland still ended up losing 62-58. This is the second consecutive loss and third overall in the first eight games, bringing the Terrapins record to 5-3. So let’s go deeper inside the key numbers that led to this tough home loss.
7.7% From Deep
The Terps shot 1-13 from the three-point line against the Hokies. Donta Scott opened the scoring with a three, and then the team 0-12 the rest of the way. Consistent three point shooting has been a pain in the side of Maryland all year long. The team seriously lacks perimeter shooting, with only one player, Hakim Hart, shooting higher than 30 percent from beyond the arc. On the other side, Virginia Tech shot 9/20 from three, totaling to 45 percent from deep. It’s hard to win games when the margin is that big.
-7 Turnover Differential
The turnover battle was a struggle all night for Maryland. The Terps were minus-7 in that department, coughing up the ball a total of 15 times to Virginia Tech’s eight. The Hokies were able to score 12 points off turnovers compared to the Terps four. While this margin was not as large as the three point differential, Maryland’s turnovers were incredibly costly. They looked careless with the ball at times, turning the ball over multiple times in transition that would’ve led to an easy layup or open jumper. Missing out on these easy points ended up costing them the game.
4-2 Home Record
Since joining the Big Ten in the 2014-15 season, the Terps have played six seasons with fans. Of those six, the team lost two or less games three of those seasons. The most home losses a Maryland team has suffered in one season is five back in 2016-17 and the Terps have two already through six home games. The struggle to defend home court has been an early issue for the Terps. Maryland failed to put away Virginia Tech when they were on the ropes, and the Hokies took advantage. At home with momentum and starting to pull away, great basketball teams close out.