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UNC outlasts Maryland: 5 things you need to know


UNC outlasts Maryland: 5 things you need to know

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- In a game that was on the verge of spiraling out of control for Maryland on national television and in front of a packed Dean Smith Center in the first half, what followed was the gutsiest performance of the year by the Terrapins despite their defeat.

In a battle between the nation’s No. 2 and No. 9 teams, a fight to the end was ultimately a 89-81 Maryland loss to North Carolina on Tuesday night in Chapel Hill.

Melo Trimble, in a valiant effort, posted 23 points and 12 assists. North Carolina’s Marcus Paige countered masterfully with 20 points and five assists of his own.

Here are five things you need to know.

1) Furious pace early and Terps look jumpy

Through five minutes, Maryland had six turnovers and North Carolina’s efforts to get the ball out of Melo Trimble’s hands by hedging far away from the rim and not allowing consistent dribble penetration.

The result was a rushed offense that was trying to fit passes into windows that weren’t there. Maryland turnovers allowed North Carolina to get out on the run. Turgeon said before the game that the Terrapins could not afford to play at UNC’s hyper speed for 40 minutes. It’s clear why.

2) Life to end the half

Maryland trailed by 12 points with 4:49 to play in the first half and the game was teetering on the edge of getting out of hands. That’s when the turnovers dried up and the Terrapins gave themselves a chance.

Maryland is never out of a game if its shooters are locked in, whether it’s Jared NIckens, Rasheed Sulaimon, Melo Trimble, or Jake Layman. A 9-3 run to end the half made it a manageable 41-35 deficit at the break.

3) Matchup that we expected

North Carolina is not an undersized, scrappy mid-major with small lineups that test Maryland. This is big man vs. big man, elite guard vs. elite guard, roll it out and play basketball. The turnovers are what hurt Maryland early, but there were no real bad matchups for them.

When the Tar Heels went on their run, it was because of execution and not a systematic mismatch.

4) Absolute heavyweight title fight

The second half of this game was a blow-for-blow heavyweight boxing match. Maryland tied the game, 55-55, with 14:54 to play and they went shot-for-shot after that. There was a stretch of time where Trimble assisted or scored eight of nine Maryland baskets.

Marcus Paige, making his season debut after recovering from a hand injury, was answering everything that Trimble was doing. The basketball was crisp. The Dean Dome was jumping.

5) UNC pulls away late

The game was tied, 69-69, with 8:49 to play after a pair of Jake Layman free throws. From there, North Carolina’s unbelievable clip from three-point range persisted and the turnover bug bit again down the stretch for Maryland.

North Carolina was 6-of-7 from deep in the second half and 9-of-13 for the game.

The Terrapins would trim the lead down to as little as six points late, but it was not enough.

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NBA Draft 2018: Maryland basketball's Justin Jackson drafted by Nuggets, traded to Magic

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NBA Draft 2018: Maryland basketball's Justin Jackson drafted by Nuggets, traded to Magic

Maryland basketball had two players drafted in one night for the second time in three years Thursday night when the Denver Nuggets picked Justin Jackson with the No. 43 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Jackson was subsequently traded to the Orlando Magic as part of a deal that brought the No. 41 overall pick, Kentucky's Jarred Vanderbilt, to Denver.

After his freshman season, in which he averaged 10.5 points and six rebounds a game while shooting 43.8 percent from beyond the arc, Jackson declared for the draft without an agent, but elected to return to Maryland for his sophomore season. But he'd play just 11 games before being shutdown for the year with a torn labrum. His draft stock was hurt, but obviously not totally erased.

He had surgery in January and ended up being the first Terp to declare for the 2018 NBA Draft back in March. Though Jackson's recovery kept him out of the NBA Combine, teams were still intrigued by what they'd seen from him in the past to be willing to take a flyer.

A 6-foot-7 forward with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, Jackson has the skill to play anywhere between the two or the four in the NBA, and the length to guard all kinds of players.

With Kevin Huerter headed to the last-place Atlanta Hawks, Maryland basketball's two draftees are slated to join last season's two worst teams in the Eastern Conference.

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NBA Draft 2018: Atlanta Hawks draft Maryland basketball's Kevin Huerter with the No. 19 overall pick

NBA Draft 2018: Atlanta Hawks draft Maryland basketball's Kevin Huerter with the No. 19 overall pick

Maryland basketball's Kevin Huerter was drafted No. 19 overall Thursday night by the Atlanta Hawks.

He's the Terps' highest draft pick since the Phoenix Suns drafted Alex Len fifth overall in the 2013 NBA Draft.

Huerter played two seasons with Maryland, averaging 12 points, five rebounds and three assists as a Terp. He's best known for his knockdown shooting ability, as he knocked down 46.6 percent of his shots from the field, including 39.4 percent of his three-point shots. During his sophomore season, he was better than 50 percent from the field and better than 40 percent from deep.

Back in April, when Huerter first declared for the 2018 NBA Draft without an agent, it was widely assumed he was just testing the waters to get feedback from NBA scouts and would return to school for his junior season. But an outstanding performance at the NBA Combine saw his hardly existent draft stock skyrocket. Almost overnight, Huerter's name was popping up in the first round of mock drafts, and now what seemed like a no-brainer decision to return to school wasn't so clear.

On May 30, he announced that he would leave his name in the 2018 NBA Draft and hire an agent. He recently had surgery on a torn ligament in his hand, but is expected to miss only two months and make a full recovery by the time the 2018 NBA season starts.

With the Atlanta Hawks, Huerter should pick up right where he left off shooting in college, but can also provide high basketball IQ and sneaky athleticism. He and Trae Young join Dennis Schröder and Kent Bazemore who finished last in the Eastern Conference last season.