Terps' comeback falls short of Sweet 16

Ben Krimmel
March 23, 2019 - 3:28 pm

After trailing by as many as 15 points, the Maryland Terrapins were fortunate to still be in the game late in the second half.

Nobody would confuse the game between the Terps and Tigers of LSU as pretty. Not by a long shot. But this time of year, style points don't matter. It is all about results. 

And despite all the game's ugliness, at the business end of the second half, the Terps were in position to reach the Sweet 16. 

Of course, things looked bleak for Maryland in the early goings. They slogged through the first half, opening the game going 5-of-23 from the floor, as LSU built a 38-29 halftime advantage. A lead that would have been more if not for Aaron Wiggins, who sunk a pair of threes in the half's final 1:03.

But early in the second half, the Terps found themselves down by 15 again, following a pair of free throws after head coach Mark Turgeon was assessed a technical foul.

However, this was the moment Maryland's March Madness fightback began. The coach's outburst may have been the catalyst to an immediate 8-0 Terps' run.

Turgeon was able to cool the Tigers attack when he switched Maryland into a zone defense. The LSU offense struggled against the Terps' zone and at one point in the game's second stanza, the Tigers missed 14-of-16 attempts from the floor.

The Terps were able to put some of their first half woes behind them and took their first lead of the game with 5:48 remaining, completing a 26-9 stretch after the Turgeon technical foul free throws.

But the Terps couldn't close it out. After taking the two point lead, they went just 2-of-9 from the floor and 2-of-4 from the free throw line.

After losing the lead on a deep Skylar Mays three, Maryland answered with a clutch three by Jalen Smith, tying the game at 67 with 28 seconds to play. But the final blow came on defense when LSU's Tremont Waters was able to beat Smith on the drive and score the game-winning layup with 1.6 seconds left. 

When Maryland fans remember this game the poor shooting will be what they curse. The Terps finished 21-of-63 (33.3 percent) from the floor and 9-of-28 from behind the arc. But it might be the 16-of-23 from the free throw line that haunts Maryland fans and their head coach the most.

After the game, an emotional Turgeon could only wonder "why it didn't go our way today."

RELATED: Did LSU get away with travel to beat Terps?

Crashing out in the NCAA Tournament Round of 32 becomes the final, most disappointing blow in a Maryland season that once held so much promise. 

Some dealt with the disappointment better than others.

But the heartbreak among Terps' fans was pretty intense. 

And so, Maryland fell short of the Sweet 16 yet again. And the hopes of an amazing weekend at Capital One Arena were dashed.

Oh, what might have been had a couple more shots for the Terps gone down.

Such is life among the madness of March.

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