For the second consecutive game, Maryland men’s basketball had a late opportunity to tie the game with a three-point attempt. But just as it did on Friday, the Terps’ last-second look didn’t fall.
Maryland coach Kevin Willard said preparing for two games in a short period of time after its season-opener on Tuesday would be a challenge.
The Terps have a few extra nights to prepare for their road bout against Villanova, but have lots to address following an 0-2 weekend at the Asheville Championship. Maryland wasn’t able to overcome its early second-half struggles against UAB, and lost 66-63 in the consolation game of the tournament on Sunday.
Maryland led UAB 30-20 with less than five minutes remaining in the first half. But the Blazers outscored the Terps 32-10 over the next 16 minutes, as Willard’s squad struggled to find the bottom of the net and repeatedly gave their opponents easy opportunities following turnovers.
The Terps were forced to claw themselves back into the game after leading for a majority of the first half.
UAB made five of its first eight attempts before the Terps’ defense tightened up, limiting the Blazers to one make in their next 11 shots. That allowed Maryland to jump out ahead. The Terps went on an 11-0 run midway through the first half, capped off by a steal and fastbreak dunk by Jordan Geronimo.
The Terps (1-2) grabbed a double-digit lead before slowing down toward the end of the half. Maryland turned the ball over six times in the last six minutes, which led to easy transition scores for UAB. The Terps totaled nine first-half turnovers but entered the break with a 30-24 advantage.
Donta Scott bounced back from his underwhelming four-point performance on Friday, tallying seven points and three rebounds in the first half. Scott and Jahmir Young, who recorded five points, five rebounds and four assists in the first 20 minutes helped the Terps secure the lead.
It wouldn’t last long after halftime.
UAB (1-2) was much sharper out of the break, going on a 22-6 run to start the half to lead Maryland 46-36 with 12 minutes left in the game. Turnovers continued to haunt Maryland, who committed 15 on the day. Maryland made two of its first eight shots of the half while UAB went 7-for-11 from the field.
DeShawn Harris-Smith knocked down a three and made a pair of free throws to close the gap to seven with just more than eight minutes remaining, but the Blazers got all five points back almost immediately.
The Terps then went on another mini-run, scoring six points in 43 seconds to make it a two-possession game with under seven minutes to go. They made four consecutive field goals, highlighted by Scott’s second triple of the night.
UAB didn’t let any of the Terps’ spurts last too long and held a slight lead over Maryland for the next several minutes.
Harris-Smith made two free throws at the two-minute mark to trim the lead to four. Neither team scored again until Young attacked the rim with half a minute left, drew a foul and made both shots from the line to cut the deficit to two.
But like they did on Friday, the Terps squandered another chance to tie the game down three late. They leave Asheville without a win and with a losing record for the first time under Willard.