CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. | The three priorities were talked about endlessly and probably scrawled on a locker room dry-erase board for emphasis, as is usually the case for the Maryland basketball team.
Execute offense. Communicate on defense. Play together.
And then Saturday’s 71-44 loss to Virginia happened at John Paul Jones Arena.
“I don’t think we did either one of them today, and that really hurt today,” guard Sean Mosley said.
No, the list of things the Terrapins (15-11, 5-7 ACC) did well was quite short.
They hit contested 3-pointers with aplomb … in the first half.
They defended everyone other than Mike Scott well … in the first half.
They played efficiently with four guards on the floor … in the first half.
With everything good, there was a caveat. And there wasn’t much good.
It was a miserable afternoon in the midst of a season when similarly lousy days were rare. And perhaps that was the most jarring part of Maryland’s latest loss.
“It’s where we are, guys,” coach Mark Turgeon said. “It’s unfortunate.”
Where the Terps are happens to be somewhere between limited and feisty, at least on most days. They have a prolific scorer in Terrell Stoglin, whose willingness to play within the confines of Turgeon’s offense tends to dwindle as Maryland’s desperation grows.
They have a frontcourt plagued with inconsistency, a four-man rotation that usually has between one and three players logging quality minutes. On Saturday, it was zero.
They have a point guard who isn’t really a point guard in freshman Nick Faust, who again is gamely filling in for injured sophomore Pe’Shon Howard (knee).
And in the middle of the conference grind, they’re back to eight recruited scholarship players. It’s hardly an ideal hand, but one not too much different than the one Turgeon started with in November.