Terps fall to rebounding Blue Devils 84-64

Terps fall to rebounding Blue Devils 84-64
January 26, 2013, 9:15 pm
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Turgeon, Terps run into Duke buzz saw

Some games are won, some games are lost.

There’s a big difference.

Simply put, when a game is lost it’s because one team let opportunities slip through their fingers and were complicit in the end result. When a game is won it’s because one team went out and seized from the opponent and never gave them a chance to realistically win the game.

Make no mistake about it, Duke’s victory over the Maryland Terrapins this afternoon at Cameron Indoor Stadium was won by the Blue Devils and they never really gave the Terps a chance. Coming on the heels of a historic loss at Miami on Thursday night Duke was poised and efficient and led the game pretty much from start to finish. One can only imagine that the game offered a nice respite from the heat they’ve felt in practice the last two days.

The real shame of it from a Maryland perspective is that there appeared to be real strides by this young team playing in the toughest venue in the ACC. They trounced Duke on the backboards from the start and ended the game with a 43-34 rebounding advantage. They shot almost 42% and crossed the sixty point barrier for the second consecutive game. Those last two things might not seem like a big deal normally but they’re significant for a team that has struggled so mightily to score of late. They also had a freshman step up and make a statement in a position of need. More on that shortly…

For this particular band of Terps to win at Cameron a number of things would have to go right for them. First and foremost, they’d have to limit their turnovers. Nobody in the college basketball universe turns your turnovers into their points like Duke does on their home floor. They would also have to take advantage of their size and strength in the interior. Lastly, they would have to limit Duke’s points from their long-time ally – the three point line.

Mission accomplished on the limiting turnovers (14 for the game) and exploiting a size advantage (the aforementioned rebounding edge).

Not so much on the whole three point shooting thing. In a torrid first half Duke shot 7-10 from behind the arc in the first half on their way to a 43-35 lead at the break and ended the game 11-22.

The Terps have been in search of the right guy to play point guard for some time and have experimented with four options. That search has resulted in a lack of continuity at the position and the team IQ has suffered in kind. Nick Faust has started at the point for the past few games with mixed results. The same kind of results came when Pe’Shon Howard, Dez Wells and freshman Seth Allen have manned the point. It would seem that finding the solution at that spot remains the team’s biggest challenge.

The Terps had been in a similar search at the power forward position until today, when freshman Charles Mitchell scored 13 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. The only thing that limited more production was some foul trouble. He did all of that damage in just 13 minutes of playing time.

Duke improved to a gaudy 17-2 overall and 4-2 in the ACC. They will almost certainly lose their number one ranking as a result of that loss at Miami but definitely ended their week on a high note with this win.

The Terps dropped to 15-5 and 3-4. They will play at Florida State on Wednesday night. There is no way you can ever say a game in the last week of January is a “do or die” game but this one looms extremely large for this team right now. The Seminoles are almost single-handedly responsible for inducing the kind of crisis of confidence the Terps are still trying to dig themselves out of. In the last meeting at Comcast Center just a few short weeks ago the Terps had every opportunity to deliver some game winning blows in the first half before letting FSU stick around. Eventually the Seminoles made just enough plays on the defensive end to steal a victory on the road.

That game was lost.

Perhaps today’s game was the kind of object difference that not only teaches the Terps the difference, it shows them how to seize the next one themselves.