Jaime Kaiser Jr. tipped the pass and drove down court, sending the ball to Noah Batchelor who jumped up towards the net for a dunk. Despite the flashy basket, Maryland had five seconds left on the clock and trailed by 17.
The 1-2 Maryland Terrapins hit the road on Friday to face the 2-1 Villanova Wildcats, ranked No. 21 in the country.
Maryland entered the contest with a two-game losing streak, falling short to both Davidson and UAB in the Asheville Championship tournament on Nov. 10 and 12. Villanova came in with its first loss— a 76-72 upset handed by Penn.
In a one-sided blowout, Villanova extended Maryland’s loss streak with a 57-40 victory.
Maryland’s starters included Jahmir Young, DeShawn Harris-Smith, Donta Scott, Julian Reese and Jaime Kaiser Jr.
“I’m searching for that fifth starter, to be completely honest with you,” head coach Kevin Willard said post-game when asked about the decision to start Kaiser Jr. “And I’m failing miserably.”
The Wildcats kicked things off with eight unanswered points, starting with a pair of threes to help establish dominance in the first few minutes. Former Terp Hakim Hart knocked another three-pointer down which contributed to a 10-point lead, forcing an early Maryland timeout.
Maryland’s difficulty in scoring was made evident from the start. With ten minutes remaining in the first half, the Terps successfully converted just 20% of their shot attempts whereas the Wildcats managed 73%. The result was a 23-9 score.
“I think you gotta give Villanova a lot of credit for the way they came out and played,” Willard said. “Sometimes you have to give credit to other people.”
Three minutes later, Villanova’s lead advanced by 20, forcing a second timeout from Willard. Maryland’s mere eleven points were produced by Julian Reese (3), Donta Scott (4) and Jahmir Young (3).
The 20-point lead grew slightly larger going into halftime at 39-15. Maryland’s shooting percentage decreased to 15%, with the Terps making just two of their 14 three-point attempts. They entered the second period with four made field goals and just as many turnovers.
The point-leaders for Villanova at half were Tyler Burton (10), TJ Bamba (9) and Justin Moore (6).
Three minutes into the second half, Burton made a layup that put Villanova up by 30 points and caused another Maryland timeout as the Terps remained scoreless. But even after the timeout, the lead held sturdy for the bulk of the period.
Maryland was kept from scoring on back-to-back possessions until eight minutes were left in the game. A layup from Jordan Geronimo and a three-pointer from Jahmir Young dragged Villanova’s lead down to just over 20 while Villanova faced an uncharacteristic scoring drought.
The Wildcats missed seven straight field goal attempts in the final minutes as Maryland managed a 9-0 run. But trailing by 19 points with just over a minute left, there wasn’t enough time for the Terps’ momentum to produce a comeback.
“What I’m looking forward to is getting 10 days at home consistently,” Willard said. “This schedule has not been conducive to growing this team, and that’s my fault.”
Maryland faces UMBC on Tuesday back at Xfinity Center.