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Terps go one-and-done in NCAAs, fall to Xavier

Xavier smothered Melo Trimble, holding him to just 5-for-15 shooting overall and 1-for-9 shooting from 3-point range.

Before focusing on their 76-65 Round of 64 loss to Xavier in the NCAA Tournament, take a second to realize that despite losing four starters from a season ago, including two NBA draft picks, and having to start three freshmen, the Maryland Terrapins men’s basketball team went 24-9 and made their third-straight NCAA Tournament.

Maryland wasn’t supposed to make the tournament this year. If they did, it was supposed to be as one of the last teams in the field and as a double-digit seed.

The Terps over-achieved this year, but that over-achieving created an expectation for a NCAA Tournament victory. But that would not happen.

Maryland struggled to slow down Xavier leading scorer Trevon Bluiett. The two-time First-Team All-Big East selection scored 21 points on 7-for-10 shooting and five made 3-pointers in the game. The Musketeers had four players reach double-digits in scoring with a five-man just a point away as they shot 50-percent from the floor.

Maryland struggled with too many scoring droughts against Xavier’s zone defense that effectively held them to just 25.9-percent shooting from 3-point range. As the game went on, Maryland often settled from rush 3-pointers as they tried to make up the deficit they had and took 27 attempts from outside the arc.

In what may have been the last game of his Terps career, should he declare for the NBA draft, Melo Trimble scored 13 points off a trying 5-for-15 effort from the floor and a 1-for-9 effort from 3-point range.

The freshmen duo of Kevin Huerter and Justin Jackson were the leader for Maryland. Huerter hit three 3-pointers and was 6-for-6 from the line as he scored a team-high 19 points. Jackson scored in all types of ways, hitting two three’s and getting to the rim for a thunderous dunk in his 14-point effort.

Maryland played well defensively for periods in the first half, but a four-minute scoring drought put them behind 17-8 with 10:54 remaining in the half. Maryland then responded with seven straight points to get within two, but couldn’t slow Xavier down. The Musketeers shot 48.1-percent from the floor in the first half.

The Terps actually managed to take a 36-35 lead into the break, but Bluiett blew up in the second half. He was just 1-for-8 shooting in the first half of the game but he scored 18 points in the second half to fuel Xavier to the pull-away win.

Maryland pushed ahead to as much as a six-point lead four minutes into the second half after Anthony Cowan stole the ball from Quentin Goodin and finished the fastbreak with a layup. They couldn’t hold on, however.

It took only two minutes for Xavier to rattle off seven straight points for a 47-46 lead. Jackson ended the short Musketeer burst with a layup and Ivan Bender got inside to give Maryland a three-point lead back. On the ensuing possession, though, Bluiett struck from deep to tie the game and made two more triples in a 14-point Xavier run that put them ahead 61-50. Xavier made four 3-pointers overall in that run.

Maryland had a jab back to get back within six points with 2:47 remaining. Then Goodin hit two free throws and Kaiser Gates threw down a dunk to put Xavier ahead by 10 points. The dunk by Gates was the exclamation point on the victory. Maryland tried to foul to get back into the game after that, but the Musketeers went 7-for-8 from the line to maintain their double-digit lead in the final minute.

Along with Bluiett’s 21 points, the Musketeers victory was helped by 18 points and seven rebounds by Sean O’Mara off the bench. Gates and JP Macura scored 11 and 10 points respectively Goodin finished with nine points.

Maryland went one-and-done in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 1997 tournament. But made a third-straight NCAA Tournament for the first time since their streak of 11 straight NCAA Tournament appearances ended with a trip in 2004.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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