This is not how Maryland imagined its final Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season game against North Carolina State to end -- with Wolfpack fans mocking the Terps by chanting “ACC, ACC.”
Maryland’s decision to join the Big Ten next season is a favorite theme for road fans this season. One fan yelled that Maryland should take its millions from the Big Ten and not come back.
Of course, the fans would not be so emboldened if the Terps -- who surrendered an 11-point lead and lost, 65-56 -- were a better team on the road.
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Maryland fell to 1-3 in ACC road games with the loss.
The game was surprising not because the Terps shot just 31.4 percent. Shooting is a fragile art. It can come and go.
But defense is supposed to always be there. And that’s what was most disappointing to the Terps -- that they surrendered 20 points in the first half, but then gave up 45 after halftime.
After starting 0-for-5 on 3-point attempts, guard Ralston Turner, who transferred to N.C. State from Louisiana State, made five 3-pointers in the second half. He was starting for the first time in two months. The Wolfpack was missing star forward T.J. Warren (ankle).
Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said he warned his team not to become complacent because of Warren's absence.
“We got up to 11, and we just stopped running back and quit guarding, and then we gave them confidence,” Turgeon said. “We just let it get away. We guarded for one half.”
Credit Wolfpack junior Desmond Lee with helping hold Maryland’s Dez Wells to 10 points on 2-for-11 from the floor. It wasn’t Wells' night.
“Lee was all over us, he was really guarding,” Turgeon said.
But it wasn’t just Wells who was misfiring. The Terps had countless opportunities -- they had 22 offensive rebounds -- but struggled to finish around the basket. That’s been an issue all season.
Charles Mitchell had a career-high 18 rebounds. The frustrated forward said afterward: “We’re better than that team.”
After Maryland defeated Notre Dame at home last week, Turgeon warned that the impending road game would be a “different animal.”
Forward Evan Smotrycz suggested there was an issue with the team’s composure.
“We just didn’t make the right plays down the stretch,” Smotrycz said. “I personally felt like we were playing the last five minutes like the middle of the first half. We didn’t really make the smart plays. We’re too talented to be taking the shots we’ve taken and not making them because we’re rushing.
"I think we need to be a little more unselfish and kind of let our offense work and not kind of break things off so quick. We haven’t been as composed as we need to.”