The difficulty persevered, and Maryland’s first-half deficit continued to balloon. In the end, the ultimate margin of 87-60 represented the Terps’ third straight defeat and their most lopsided loss at Xfinity Heart because the enviornment opened 20 years in the past.
Earlier this month, when the Terps topped then-No. 16 Illinois, Maryland’s residence court docket was rocking. After getting completely outclassed by the Bruins, there was surprised silence, the packed scholar part thinning early within the second half.
“Each every so often, you get your a– kicked,” Willard stated. “It’s a part of life.”
This loss took a latest sample to new depths. After beating the Illini, the Terps headed to Wisconsin for one more Huge Ten matchup after which to New York for a recreation towards Tennessee. In each of these outings, Maryland battled again from gradual begins to lose tight contests — a five-point distinction towards the Badgers and a three-point margin towards the Volunteers. In opposition to the Bruins, the dreadful begin was a dreadful 40 minutes.
Maryland’s offense appeared abysmal, and the Terps (8-3) struggled to navigate UCLA’s athletic defenders, who disrupted passing lanes and compelled 16 turnovers. Maryland shot 40.4 p.c from the sphere and 37 p.c from three-point vary — each marks inflated by improved efficiency within the second half when the sport was out of attain.
The Terps trailed by double digits when Jaylen Clark made these layups in transition simply after the under-12 media timeout within the first half, and UCLA (9-2) prolonged its result in 29 factors by halftime. The Bruins’ benefit by no means wavered.
“That is the primary time this staff’s needed to undergo adversity, and we’re figuring it out just a little bit on the fly,” Willard stated. “And we didn’t determine it out very nicely tonight.”
Jahmir Younger, the Terps’ level guard and main scorer, racked up 5 turnovers to go together with three factors on 0-for-8 capturing. Maryland beginning ahead Julian Reese missed the second half with a shoulder damage. The first jolt got here off the bench from Ian Martinez, who scored 13 of his 16 factors after halftime. Willard referred to as upon an assortment of reserves as the sport slipped additional out of attain, however there have been no solutions to Maryland’s issues.
The Terps lacked vitality and appeared worn down. The sport ends a 13-day stretch that featured two journeys and 4 opponents within the prime 25 — No. 18 Illinois, No. 22 Wisconsin, No. 6 Tennessee and UCLA.
“It’s been bodily and mentally taxing on us,” senior guard Don Carey stated. “However we’ve simply received to be harder than that.”
UCLA Coach Mick Cronin, a longtime pal of Willard, stated the schedule was “was clearly in our favor.” UCLA made the journey to Faculty Park after a stretch of 4 of 5 video games at residence. Within the Bruins’ earlier outing, they cruised to a win and reserves performed appreciable minutes.
“I believe it simply sort of snowballed,” Cronin stated. “I noticed a staff on the market on an emotional fuel tank that was virtually empty.”
Willard stated not too long ago his staff has “regressed just a little bit” since its 8-0 begin due to a scarcity of observe time. The Terps now have a seven-day layoff earlier than internet hosting St. Peter’s on Dec. 22. They usually want various in-game timeouts to type out their latest hassle.
Here’s what else to learn about Maryland’s loss:
By the ultimate minutes of the matchup, “U-C-L-A!” chants crammed an enviornment that had largely emptied. With this cross-country journey, the Bruins had an opportunity for his or her stars to shine. Clark, who Cronin referred to as “the very best defensive participant within the nation,” led the disruptive effort and tallied 4 steals. Usually scoring in transition, he completed with 19 factors on 7-for-11 capturing.
Jaime Jaquez Jr., a senior guard, had 14 factors, seven rebounds and 4 steals. David Singleton had 18 factors off the bench, making 4 of 5 tries from past the arc.
UCLA’s recreation plan emphasised protection, Cronin stated, and his staff additionally confirmed offensive ability and poise. The Bruins completed with simply 4 turnovers, one among which got here within the ultimate minute as they dribbled the clock out.
“If we care for the ball, we’ve received loads of guys who can rating,” Cronin stated. “Expertise’s not a difficulty for us.”
Reese injured his shoulder early on and stayed within the recreation, however “we had been taking part in 4 towards 5,” Willard stated. Reese sat out the second half for precautionary causes, and Willard stated he doesn’t imagine the damage to be critical.
Depth behind Reese has been a priority. Patrick Emilien, a 6-foot-8 graduate switch, has been serving as Reese’s major backup. Maryland’s different bench gamers with extra measurement lack expertise, so Willard has largely turned to Emilien.
“With all due respect to sure individuals, Patrick Emilien was taking part in at St. Francis in Brooklyn — my highschool was larger — final yr,” Cronin stated.
This recreation was simply the ninth assembly between the packages, with the earlier matchup held in 2007 and the Bruins final taking part in in Faculty Park in 1982. Willard and Cronin labored collectively as assistants at Louisville from 2001 to 2003, they usually stay shut. Cronin praised Willard’s work to this point at Maryland after the sport and referred to as him “the suitable man in cost.”
After Maryland employed Willard, he thought Cronin was calling to congratulate him. As a substitute, Willard stated, Cronin “wanted a pit cease” on the East Coast earlier than his staff performs Kentucky in New York, a recreation scheduled for Saturday at Madison Sq. Backyard. Due to UCLA’s pedigree — and Los Angeles’s climate this time of yr — Willard stated it was a “no-brainer” to comply with a home-and-home collection.
They organized these video games just a few months earlier than the Huge Ten introduced that UCLA and Southern California would be part of the convention beginning in 2024-25, which means the packages will quickly play often. After that announcement, Willard stated he noticed Cronin and laughed.
“We thought we did this nice scheduling,” Willard stated, “and now it’s going to be a part of our convention.”
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