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Analyzing Maryland's ACC tournament loss

Did Maryland lose Friday night's game to Georgia Tech in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament in the first half, when the Yellow Jackets went up 19 late in the half and were ahead 16 at halftime?

Did the Terps lose to Georgia Tech when, after cutting their deficit to two, missed their next four chances to either tie or go ahead?

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Or was the outcome decided last month, when Cliff Tucker ran around the Comcast Center court with his teammates in tow after hitting a game-winning, buzzer-beating 3 against Georgia Tech?

All of the above.

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The Terps buried themselves with too big a deficit, failed to capitalize on an imploding, impulsive opponent when the Yellow Jackets were against the proverbial ropes and, in truth, might have celebrated their last-second win a little too much for Georgia Tech's liking.

Here's what a couple of Yellow Jackets said after Georgia Tech survived, 69-64, to move into Saturday's semifinals.

Asked how motivated he and his teammates were after the game in College Park, Georgia Tech forward Gani Lawal said: "We were very motivated. We felt like that was a fluke shot, I don't care what anybody says."

Said guard Iman Shumpert: "That image of him running around on the court, that had a lot to do with [how the Yellow Jackets played Friday night]. We wanted to come and get a second shot at 'em. We knew we beat 'em the first time, we just wanted to prove it."

Maryland knew going in that Georgia Tech was going to be fired up to beat the Terps.

So how come the Terps were so flat at both ends for such long stretches in the first half?

I think it goes back to the fact that Maryland was not accustomed to such a long break -- nearly a week after a ridiculous stretch of games at the end of the season -- and the Terps lost whatever rhythm they had during the seven-game winning streak.

As much heart as Maryland showed in the second half, the lack of emotion in the first half was noticeable.

"We weren't going hard," said Greivis Vasquez. "I don't think they were doing anything defensively. We were passive."

Said Eric Hayes: "We were lackadaisical, kind of slow on defense. Second half, we had no choice but to do that."

Vasquez used the word "embarrassed" to describe how the Terps felt going into their locker room at halftime.

As for not being able to get over the hump in the second half -- at 48-46 in favor of Georgia Tech, the Terps missed back-to-back 3s by Vasquez and Sean Mosley, then two other shots by Mosley and Vasquez -- Hayes called it "frustrating".

I thought it might have cost Maryland the game. Had the Terps been able to get that lead, Georgia Tech seemed ready to fall.

And one more thing might have cost the Terps the game: the dunk by Derrick Favors that seemed to come after the shot clock.

It came with 1:15 left, after Mo Miller missed badly on a drive, and put Georgia Tech up five, 64-59. Miller's shot ricocheted high off the backboard without touching the rim and the 35-second shot clock sounded as Favors was throwing it down. One problem: freeze-frame replays later showed the ball still in Favors' hand as the light went on.

Gary Williams said he asked the official responsible for looking at the clock for his view, and was told that the shot counted. Williams admitted later that he didn't know if that kind of situation was reviewable.

"I should know the rule, but I don't in that situation," he said.

According to John Clougherty, a former referee and the supervisor of ACC officials, a shot-clock situation is not reviewable

Where do you think Maryland lost Friday night's game?

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