Put together with Maryland’s late fade, it spelled the end for a team almost inherently incapable of completing games against strong foes. In the final 10 minutes, the Terps shot 3-for-15 from the floor, committed three turnovers and permitted the Blue Devils to score at least two points in 10 of their final 12 possessions.
“It’s hard to handle,” guard Adrian Bowie said. “It’s hard to swallow. At the end of every game we lost, we always felt like we should have won.”
It just didn’t happen enough. Most of Maryland’s regulars have no idea what it’s like to languish outside the NCAA tournament. Bowie, Gregory and Tucker, who ended their freshman year with a second-round ouster in the NIT, do.
It would appear they might again. The postseason beckons on Sunday, just as the Terps knew it would. Yet thanks to the same flaw resurfacing all year, Maryland’s mid-March reward won’t be the desired one.
“You come to Maryland thinking NCAA tournament every year,” Gregory said. “As a senior, you want to lead your team to the NCAA tournament. Not being able to do that hurts a lot. It’s something I’ll feel for a long time.”