3-point shots: Observations and opinions from Maryland's 63-61 loss to St. Bonaventure

Maryland men’s basketball coach Mark Turgeon knew the rigorous long weekend that began Friday night against St. Bonaventure at the Emerald Coast Classic in Niceville, Fla., and will end Monday night at Syracuse in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge would help him gauge the progress of his team.

Turgeon now has to hope a schedule of three games in four days, as well as thousands of miles in air travel, ends a lot better than it began. A 63-61 loss to the undermanned Bonnies was the Terps’ first defeat after five wins this season and ended a streak of four straight early-season tournament championships.


Turgeon also has to hope it will be a wake-up call for a team that looked sloppy and sluggish for large chunks of Friday’s game.

Here are some observations and opinions:


1. Maryland is going to see a ton of zone defense from now on.

Even though the Terps seemed to play well against St. Bonaventure’s zone defense in spurts, it appeared to wear them down as much mentally as physically.

After looking shaky at times against Jackson State’s 3-2 zone in the first half of Monday’s 76-45 win in College Park, Maryland was a lot worse against the Bonnies’ 1-2-2 zone, especially down the stretch.

Along with 20 turnovers, Maryland shot a dismal 5-for-23 on 3- point shots. The Terps stood around a lot and settled for 3-pointers despite being dominant inside at times.

Maryland missed 14 of its first 15 3-pointers before hitting three straight, including two by sophomore guard Anthony Cowan Jr., to take a 52-44 lead.

The last made 3-pointer, by redshirt junior guard Dion Wiley, broke a 53-all tie with about four minutes to play.

Maryland scored only five points the rest of the way, the last of them a pair of free throws by Cowan to tie the game at 61 after inadvertently being tripped by senior guard Matt Mobley with 25.8 seconds left. Junior forward Courtney Stockard scored the game-winner with 3.2 seconds left.

That finished an 8-2 run to close the game for St. Bonaventure, which played the first few minutes Friday without Mobley, who was benched for being late to a meeting, and the whole game without star guard Jaylen Adams (Mount Saint Joseph), who has yet to play this year because of a sprained ankle.


Considering Maryland now has to face New Mexico in the consolation game Saturday before flying up to Syracuse, N.Y., on Sunday, it seems unlikely that the Terps can fix the problems with their zone offense without the benefit of practice before Monday’s game.

The Orange is known for its 2-3 zone, and the Carrier Dome is a difficult place to get out of a 3-point-shooting slump. Maryland is now shooting 40-for-116 (34.5 percent) as a team from beyond the arc this season. The Terps are also averaging 16.3 turnovers a game.

2. Justin Jackson isn’t the only key Terp who looks likes he’s pressing.

After coming into Friday’s game shooting 15-for-42 overall and 4-for-18 on 3-pointers, sophomore forward Justin Jackson hit his first shot, a 3-pointer, early against St. Bonaventure.

Unfortunately, the 6-foot-7 Canadian missed the three other 3-pointers he attempted, including one down the stretch that hit just the backboard and didn’t come close. He finished 3-for-7 overall.

While he continued to rebound well, getting a team-high eight, Jackson doesn’t look like a player who was projected to be a potential first-round NBA draft pick in 2018.


A numbers of analysts who have watched the Terps play, as well as a couple of scouts, have a similar diagnosis: Jackson is trying to justify the draft projection, hoping to play like a lottery pick.

But he’s not the only Maryland player who is struggling with his offensive game.

Fellow sophomore Kevin Huerter has been more productive than Jackson so far this season, but the 6-7 guard has struggled with his floor game. After committing five turnovers in back-to-back wins over Butler and Bucknell last week, Huerter had three Friday and threw a couple of more passes that were nearly picked off.

Much of Maryland’s success in the zone against the Bonnies came when Huerter passed out of the mid-post area and found shooters, but he and Cowan were careless with the ball in critical spots. Huerter also had a tough game as a scorer, finishing just 2-for-9 overall and missing six of his seven 3-pointers.

Huerter, who many NBA scouts believe has the overall game to play at the next level, has been much more inconsistent in an expanded role than he was as a freshman. He sometimes appears to be making tougher passes, and trying more difficult shots, than he needs to at times. The beauty of Huerter’s game is in its efficiency, and right now, he’s not that efficient.

3. Maryland’s loss didn’t help what has been a tough start for the Big Ten Conference.


If the Terps can take any solace in the loss to St. Bonaventure, it’s that the rest of the Big Ten has endured even worse defeats this season.

Purdue, which will face Maryland in their Big Ten opener Friday at Xfinity Center, suffered its first two losses this season in the Battle 4 Atlantis, falling to Tennessee and Western Kentucky.

The Boilermakers did redeem themselves with an impressive blowout Friday of the country’s most disappointing team, soon-to-be-nowhere-near No. 2 Arizona, in the seventh-place game in the Bahamas.

Northwestern, which many had picked as a dark-horse contender in the league because of its experienced lineup, was throttled by Texas Tech, 85-49, in the championship game of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament on Sunday.

Wisconsin, which has to figure out how to replace three starters from last year’s Sweet 16 team, is now 3-3, with its wins over South Carolina State, Yale and Milwaukee, and its losses to No. 15 Xavier, No. 22 Baylor and No. 23 UCLA.

Indiana lost its opener under new coach Archie Miller to Indiana State by 21 points.


Iowa has lost to Louisiana-Lafayette and South Dakota State.

Michigan has lost to LSU.

Even Michigan State, the runaway favorite to win the Big Ten, lost to a top-ranked Duke team that played most of the game without star freshman Marvin Bagley III.

Entering Saturday, Purdue's win over Arizona is the only top-25 victory for the Big Ten in its seven games against ranked teams this season.