Maryland has overcome some sloppy play this season with superior size and talent a number of times, but its youthful roster paid for the many mistakes it made Friday on its way to a crushing two-point defeat. Facing another team adept at creating its fair share of pressure on a short turnaround, the Terrapins attempt to shore up some of their offensive inefficiencies Saturday when they face New Mexico in the third-place game of the Emerald Coast Classic in Niceville, Fla.
Averaging 15.6 turnovers entering Friday’s late-night showdown with St. Bonaventure, Maryland committed 20 miscues and compounded its ball-security woes with a 5-for-23 effort beyond the arc in a 63-61 loss to the Bonnies. The Terrapins struggled to execute against St. Bonaventure’s 1-3-1 zone and whenever the Bonnies used pressure defense - the latter of which they figure to see plenty against the Lobos. New Mexico, which entered Friday forcing an average of 22.5 turnovers - the fourth-best mark in Division I - fell 69-67 against TCU earlier in the evening to suffer its third straight defeat despite turning in perhaps its best performance of the season. “I don’t really believe in moral victories, but it’s as close to one as we need right now. It would have been great to have given these guys a win. It would have been good for them given how our last two games have gone,” Lobos coach Paul Weir told reporters.
TV: 4 p.m. ET, No TV
ABOUT NEW MEXICO (2-3): Senior guard Sam Logwood (team-high 17.6 points per game) set a career high in scoring for the second straight game after posting a 21-point effort Tuesday against Tennessee Tech, lighting up the Horned Frogs for 27 points on 10-of-21 from the field and 7-of-8 from the foul line. Chris McNeal (16.8 points) was unable to build upon his career-best 29-point performance Tuesday, finishing with 12 points on 2-for-10 beyond the arc after draining seven of his 11 3-point attempts versus the Golden Eagles. McNeal’s poor shooting was part of a dreadful 34.3-percent showing by the Lobos from the field - including 6-of-30 beyond the arc - overshadowing a 16-9 edge in turnovers.
ABOUT MARYLAND (5-1): The Terrapins’ sophomore class - led by Anthony Cowan, Kevin Huerter and Justin Jackson - which played so well as freshmen in 2016-17, is struggling to take the next step in their development thus far. Cowan was the only Maryland player to finish in double figures Friday (13 points), but committed four turnovers and is 6-of-22 from the field over his last three games after beginning the season 14-of-23. Huerter is averaging 2.7 turnovers - nearly double last season’s mark of 1.4 - while Justin Jackson, who briefly flirted with declaring for the NBA Draft last summer before returning, is coming off a nine-point effort against the Bonnies and has been held to 11 or fewer in every contest.
1. Friday’s loss ended Maryland’s streak of winning a regular-season tournament before or right after Thanksgiving at four.
2. The Lobos have averaged 73 points in their last three contests after opening the season scoring 125 per game in a pair of wins over Northern New Mexico and Omaha.
3. The Terrapins have held four of their six opponents to 30 percent shooting beyond the arc or worse, including Friday’s 0-for-7 effort from St. Bonaventure.
PREDICTION: Maryland 83, New Mexico 75