After a 10-day break, Maryland men’s basketball was finally back in action at the Xfinity Center, losing a back-and-forth game to Seton Hall, 78-74.
The Terps trailed 16-5 within the first five minutes of the game and you could see this team was a little rusty, but after a 6-0 run after Turgeon subbed in Ricky Lindo, Serrel Smith and Darryl Morsell, Maryland was right back in the game.
“We didn’t start either half very well,” Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon said. “We looked like we hadn’t played in a while. They played [last] Saturday and Wednesday.”
Seton Hall, a team that normally plays man-to-man defense, came out in a 2-3 zone Saturday and that definitely threw the Terps off on offense in the opening minutes of the game.
This zone forced six Maryland turnovers in the first half, but once Maryland started getting sophomore forward Bruno Fernando going the paint, the Terps were able to break the zone much easier.
Fernando ended the day with a team-high 19 points and 10 rebounds along with four assists, while Seton Hall scoring machine and the Big East’s second leading scorer, Myles Powell, ended the day with 27 points. Myles Cale also added 23 points for the Pirates.
“I thought Bruno was terrific. Bruno was amazing for us tonight,” Turgeon said. “He had two turnovers. He handled the double teams better. He was a beast. Bruno gave us everything he had.”
The second half was much more balanced and back-and-forth, as no team held more than four point lead in the half. Both teams were trading baskets and neither team could stop the other long enough to maintain or lengthen their lead.
This was the trend all the way to the end of the game. Seton Hall would take a 68-64 lead with 2:44 left in the game. They would not give that lead up for the rest of the game.
Maryland had multiple chances to take the lead, but failed to convert on the front end of two one-and-ones, allowing Seton Hall to go back down the court and score to lengthen their lead.
The Terps ended the night shooting 12-of-20 from the free throw line and that is something that the team knows they need to improve on.
“Guys just have to get in the gym and make free throws, simple as that,” freshman guard Eric Ayala said. “Step up to the line, be confident and knock them down.”
Maryland now has another week off for the holiday break before finishing off their non-conference slate of games against Radford at 6 p.m. in College Park.
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