CORAL GABLES, Fla. —- It would be fun to say this was the first time since Maryland‘s collapse against Clemson that I was forced to completely rewrite a game story at the buzzer, a reward for my own arrogance for banking on an outcome before it was done.
That’s not true. Rewriting last Wednesday’s game story for the loss to Morgan State was much more difficult than tonight.
But let’s look at this 62-60 loss at Miami fairly. The same trend that so cursed Maryland last season is returning again.
That’s a 14-point lead and a 17-point lead blown in the second half in an eight-day span, and while talent certainly is some of the issue, the greater problem is depth.
Each starter played at least 15 minutes in the second half. Of the reserves, only Dino Gregory and Sean Mosley played more than two minutes.
It would appear Gary Williams will ride his starters hard, just as he did last year. He doesn’t have much of a choice, but the signs are already there that no lead will be safe with these guys. Especially when they’re tired.
Dave Neal called the loss “brutal,” but it probably doesn’t rank as bad as last year’s Clemson loss. But Maryland couldn’t run its offense with any sort of effectiveness in the last 10 minutes, and got lazy (or tired) on defense late.
Miami, by the way, made six of its last seven 3-point attempts. That will not do.
“I’m not really sure why,” Landon Milbourne said of the meltdown. “We just didn’t move the same. We were kind of sluggish out there. That’s what coach was saying. We just have to learn how to keep playing hard, no matter what. Regardless of whether we’re tired, the game’s not over so we have to push through.”
That’s the lesson of the last 12 months for Marylan. Last season it happened again and again and again. It’s happened twice now this month.
If the Terps still haven’t learned from their mistakes after tonight, then it could be a long couple months in College Park.
—- Patrick Stevens