SPOKANE, Wash. -- On a given night, Maryland can beat you offensively in a number of different ways. That's part of what has made them one of the 16 teams remaining in the hunt for a national title.
But Sunday against Hawaii it was clear from the beginning what was not going to work, no matter how much they stuck with it: three-point shooting. Six different Terrapins took at least one shot from deep and only one player could hit -- Melo Trimble, who was 1-of-6 -- on what ended up being a historically poor shooting night despite Maryland's 73-60 victory.
As a team, Maryland finished 1-of-18 from three-point range (5.6 percent), which ESPN Stats and Info says is the worst percentage ever by a team that took at least 10 threes in an NCAA Tournament victory. But at least "victory" is a qualifier, right?
Hawaii came into Sunday's game as one of the best teams in the country at defending the three-point line, but that does not explain all of Maryland's woes. They were able to manufacture a number of open looks from the perimeter off of dribble penetration or post entries, but just could not knock those attempts down.
Some even missed badly, which seemed to be caused by nerves that head coach Mark Turgeon acknowledged after the game.
The one make couldn't have come in a bigger spot, though. Trimble's pull-up three in transition was part of a 9-0 run in the span of less than two minutes. After he hit the shot and Hawaii called a timeout, he turned to the small but vocal contingent of Maryland fans behind the team's bench and let out a loud yell. That run would be pushed to 17-2 soon after to put the Terrapins ahead for good.
"I told the guys before the tournament started, I said, we're going to have a game where we can't make a shot and we got to defend. And we did that tonight," Turgeon said. "We defended and we finally rebounded a little bit better during that stretch when we took the lead."
The shooting issues cannot persist if Maryland wants to make it to the Elite Eight. Kansas entered the NCAA tournament as one of only two teams nationally to rank in the Top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Three-point shooting could hold the key to a win, but more struggles could mean a game that quickly swings in the opposite direction.