Maryland basketball alumni team falls in second round of TBT

Courtesy of Shell Shock TBT

“Shell Shock,” the alumni basketball team representing Maryland in the annual summer The Basketball Tournament (TBT), fell in their second-round matchup against the mighty Gutter Cats on Thursday, 71-57. 

Maryland’s representatives were haunted by turnovers in both games on their short-lived run, as they followed up 18 on Tuesday with 16 more in their elimination game. Their final sloppy pass found the veteran hands of Michael Roll, who took it himself in transition before strolling right into an open midrange jumper for his second-career TBT game-winner.

Shell Shock squandered an early 11-point lead due to their lack of a reliable creator and ball protector. They briefly covered up the loss of the steady Melo Trimble, who dropped out last minute due to foreign obligations, with a Darryl Morsell-led attack two days prior against Florida. The former Terp piled on 18 points and the game-winner in the target score-based Elam ending post-regulation, but couldn’t quite shoulder the burden for a second straight game. 

He and recent Maryland graduate Don Carey headlined a sleepy attack defined by their overall weak handle, and no one looked particularly comfortable with the ball in their hands. They were aided by CJ Williams from behind the arc as the 33-year-old shot 3-5 from three, but it wasn’t enough to solve the Gutter Cats’ press defense as Maryland’s first-ever TBT representatives failed to assert themselves anytime after the first period.

Former All-Big Ten defender Morsell led the Shell Shock in translating defense into offense in jumping out to that lead, holding the favored Cats to an unsightly 1-17 start through the first quarter as multiple blown layups and ill-timed threes peppered their shot chart.

Jarell Eddie helped drag his flaccid squad back into the game early in the second quarter with back-to-back threes, as the defense fully exposed Shell Shock’s lack of ball-handlers in transition. After finishing the first period with a total of three points, the Gutter Cats rattled off a 21-2 run with intelligent ball movement and superior shooting to take a 31-23 advantage entering the half. 

Shell Shock, drawing unpleasant memories of Maryland’s poor-shooting collegiate campaign, only canned one of their 10 three-point attempts in the first half. Carey, a starter for that Terps team, entered the break with six points on 2/7 shooting.

Morsell opened the fresh half with a banked-in three to try and turn the tides, but the point guard-less Shell Shock succumbed to the Gutter Cats press. They forced quick shots to avoid putting the ball on the floor, and the Cats continued to broaden their lead with a more patient offense. 

Shell Shocked slumped into the fourth quarter ailed by a 12 point deficit, but hung around in the final period long enough thanks to Carey dumping in 11 points with a trio of long-range bombs. 

Facing a target score of 71 in the Elam ending, the Cats used their 63-53 advantage to cruise to a win off of Roll’s midrange dagger with little resistance from Maryland’s alumni unit. 

Carey finished with 21 points, the highest any Shell Shock member scored between either games, with Morsell and Williams trailing with 13 and 12, respectively. Damonte Dodd played hard while bogged down by fouls, and Xavier Green shot a paltry 2-13 with nine boards. They combined for five assists to the Gutter Cats’ 14.

Not unlike the Terps in March Madness, Shell Shock barely held off a feisty first-round opponent before falling to the top seed in their quadrant of the bracket, and their hopes of taking home the tournament’s million dollars screeched to an early halt.