COLLEGE PARK – The University of Maryland Terrapins lost their first game of the season as they fell to the University of Virginia Cavaliers 76-65 Wednesday night in ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Virginia, ranked in the top 10 nationally, and Maryland, used to plan annually, but this matchup came out-of-conference with Maryland’s move to the Big […]
COLLEGE PARK – The University of Maryland Terrapins lost their first game of the season as they fell to the University of Virginia Cavaliers 76-65 Wednesday night in ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Virginia, ranked in the top 10 nationally, and Maryland, used to plan annually, but this matchup came out-of-conference with Maryland’s move to the Big 10 Conference. Despite the loss, Terrapins head coach Mark Turgeon said he thinks playing against the Cavaliers will help his team in the long run.
“I do think this was a tough matchup for us where we are right now with our team,” Turgeon said. “We didn’t quit. We tried to respond, and I think we’ll be a better team because we played Virginia tonight.”
The No. 7 Cavaliers used their length on the defensive to create turnovers and force contested shots all night while stifling the Terrapins’ offense from start to finish.
“I really thought we were locked in. In that first six seven minutes you could see there weren’t any gaps and they were contesting shots,” said Virginia head coach Tony Bennett “Our goal was always to try to take away the lane and really make them shoot contested shots and limit to them at best possible one shot.”
The Cavaliers jumped out to a 14-4 lead to begin the game, while the Terrapins struggled to get anything going offensively.
Freshman guard Dion Wiley, a graduate of Potomac High School in Oxon Hill, came off the bench to help the Terrapins early in the first half. Wiley scored nine points in nine minutes, helping the Terrapins cut the Cavaliers lead 22-17 with five minutes left in the half.
“Their defense is really solid. They play a lot of help defense and they shoot gaps, so it was really hard to penetrate,” Wiley said. “For me, I was just trying make the shots that I took.”
The Terrapins struggled from the field the rest of the half, going 1-3. However Maryland was able to keep the game close by knocking down 10 consecutive free throws to end the half.
Guards Melo Trimble and Dion Wiley combined for 17 first-half points, but Maryland went into halftime trailing Virginia 37-29.
As the second half began the Terrapins looked to other players to help with the scoring load. Junior Jake Layman was able to pick up the slack for the Terrapins, throwing down two baseline dunks at the beginning of the second half, with the second one coming with the score 42-34.
However, the Cavaliers answered right back when Justin Anderson was fouled on a three-point attempt. Anderson made two of three free throws putting Virginia up 44-34 with just under 18 minutes left to play.
For the remainder of the half the Terrapins tried to claw their way back into the game, however Maryland wasn’t able to get the score under 10 points for the remainder of the game. Virginia led by as many as 18 points in the second half.
The Terrapins had a hard time creating scoring opportunities for each other, finishing the game with a total of six assists.
“I think his (Dion Wiley) next step is defensively get better and just helping us assist wise to take some pressure off of Melo,” Turgeon said. “Get him more ball screens more in position to make plays kind of like Dez was doing for us. He has to give us some of those plays. Dez will get shots for people and Dion has to do more of that.”
The Terrapins will look to get back to their winning ways as they take on the Winthrop Eagles on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Xfinity Center.