CHARLOTTESVILLE — With a chance to climb back to .500 in ACC play, Maryland turned in an abysmal shooting performance at Virginia on Saturday and compounded its woes with lackadaisical defense, careless turnovers and poor free throw shooting.
Facing a 20-point deficit with 3 minutes 29 seconds remaining, Coach Mark Turgeon benched the last remnants of his starting rotation and sent out five walk-ons who brought the proceedings to a merciful end, with Maryland falling 71-44.
“I’d just had enough of selfishness, not boxing out, not defending,” said Turgeon, whose team was outscored 40-13 in the second half. “You can go down our whole list, and if you can find a player who played well today, I’ll argue that you’re wrong. We were 0 for 14, or however many guys I played today.”
The Terrapins shot 26.9 percent for the game, their worst shooting performance since a 62-42 loss to Alabama in November, when they were without starting point guard Pe’Shon Howard and 7-foot-1 center Alex Len and hit just 26.5 percent of their shots.
And Saturday’s loss followed Maryland’s most resounding victory of the season, Thursday’s 81-65 drubbing of Boston College, which suggested that the Terrapins could still cobble together a lineup worth fearing despite losing Howard for the rest of the season with a torn ACL.
Maryland’s hapless, half-hearted showing in the face of Virginia’s relentless defense scuttled any such notion.
The Terrapins’ starting back court — Sean Mosley, Terrell Stoglin and freshman Nick Faust, who was converted into a point guard after Howard’s latest injury — combined for one assist and 11 turnovers. Maryland finished with 15 turnovers as a team, and the Cavaliers scored nearly one-third of their points off them (22 of 71).
Forward Mike Scott was a particular handful, accounting for 11 of Virginia’s first 13 points and finishing with a career-high 25 points in 32 minutes of work.
Mosley, Maryland’s lone fourth-year senior, didn’t hide his frustration afterward, his team now 15-11, 5-7 in the ACC.
“I feel like we didn’t give it our all,” Mosley said. “For a guy that won a lot of games here at the University of Maryland, I know what it takes to win. I’ve been on a lot of winning teams. It’s not easy to win; it’s very hard.
“I’m not saying that guys don’t buy into it,” Mosley continued. “But it takes hard work. You can’t just be satisfied with one win and then a loss and another win. You’ve got to build that winning streak up, so you can get on the road and build that confidence up and go into the ACC tournament with swag.”
With four regular season games remaining, Maryland has yet to beat a ranked team, has won just once on the road and hasn’t won back-to-back game in more than a month, since defeating Wake Forest Jan. 11 and Georgia Tech on Jan. 15.
That said, Maryland clawed back from a nine-point deficit in the first half Saturday to tie the score at 31 at the break, thanks to a pair of three-pointers by Stoglin and another by Faust just before the buzzer.
But Virginia went on a 16-0 run soon after the second half began. The Cavaliers kept finding open shots, while Maryland found nothing but bad bounces off the rim.
Through the first 10:52 of the second half, Maryland managed only two field goals. Virginia deserved credit for much of Maryland’s offensive futility, but the Terrapins missed a bewildering number of layups, putbacks and free throws (Maryland finished the game 9 of 16 from the line).
Stoglin finished with a team-high 14 points on 4-of-17 shooting and no assists. Faust added 13 but had no assists and five turnovers. Still, Turgeon said he would stick with Faust at point guard.
“Nick is our point guard because if we put Terrell on the point, we might go 17 possessions where nobody else touches the ball,” Turgeon said. “At least when Nick is our point, we’ve got a chance of one other guy touching the ball.”