By Jack Rothenberg
UCLA dominated Maryland Wednesday night at Xfinity Center, defeating the Terps 87-60 in a wire to wire victory. Maryland failed to reach double digit points before the 10 minute mark in the first half for the third straight game. Head coach Kevin Willard’s rough non-conference schedule is giving the Terps fits, and the team hasn’t responded well.
Teams traveling from West Coast to East Coast usually take time to find their footing, but not UCLA. The Bruins were bigger, faster and stronger just like Daft Punk. UCLA shot 57 percent from the field and capitalized on 17 Maryland turnovers.
Bruins’ guard Tyger Campbell and forward Jaime Jaquez are the usual suspects that cause problems for opponents. However, tonight it seemed to be more the Terps mistakes which reflected the final outcome.
The Terps offense went stale right from the tip. Maryland began the night scoreless through the first 4:38, and recorded seven points through the first 12 minutes.
“This is no excuse. We just have to learn from it and get better…(and) be consistent in what we do,” guard Don Carey said.
Lazy passing plagued the Terps. A soft inbound pass from Jahmir Young and a kick-out from Jahari Long both resulted in steals and easy lay-ups on the other end for UCLA, which extended the Bruins lead to over 20 as the first half dwindled down.
Maryland shot selection didn’t help their case either. The Terps went 2-11 from three-point range in the first half, and most of those shots led to long rebounds, in turn leading to fast-break opportunities for the Bruins.
Jaylen Clark (19 points) Davi Singleton (18 points) made big shots for UCLA. Singleton went 4-5 from downtown, 2-2 in the first half, and helped UCLA jump out to their big lead.
“For a young kid (Clark is) really smart and understands the game. I love his athleticism, he’s got a great motor,” Willard said.
A bright spot for the Terps came from Ian Martinez (16 points) who led the team in scoring off the bench. When Maryland needed a change, Willard turned to Martinez who provided instant energy and offensive plays.
“Him getting more minutes probably will be the norm going forward…he’s been practicing great,” Willard said.
Williard burned three timeouts during the first half in an attempt to stop UCLA runs, but nothing worked. A 49-20 halftime deficit, UCLA’s largest halftime advantage since 2014, quickly snowballed to over 30 at the beginning of the second frame. Maryland moved to 0-3 when trailing at the break.
The second half focus for the Terps was to limit the damage. But they couldn’t. Every opportunity the Bruins had to make Maryland pay, they cashed in.
Julian Reese (4 points and 3 rebounds) didn’t see the floor in the second half due to a shoulder injury. Willard said after the game the trainers held him out as a “precaution.” The days off and rest coming up should give Reese enough time to return next week.
“We’re going to take some time off…We have not really had a day off since before Louisville,” Willard said.
The Terps have seven days before their next matchup against Saint Peter’s. Fast starts on offense look like a necessity for this team, and they have a few chances to regain their footing before entering Big Ten play at the start of the new year.
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