Maryland Vs. Pittsburgh: Terrapins Claw At Panthers, But Fall 79-70

The Maryland Terrapins take on No. 5 Pittsburgh in a key early-season showdown at Madison Square Garden. For more, visit Testudo Times

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Terps Fight Hard, But Ultimately Fall To Pitt 79-70

The Pittsburgh Panthers had won 63 of their past 68 games against non-conference opponents. The Maryland Terrapins were 7-1 all time in the 2K Sports Classic benefitting Coaches v. Cancer. Something had to give Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. Though Maryland came close, the former streak stood as the No. 5 Panthers escaped with a 79-70 victory over the Terps.

Maryland was led by Cliff Tucker's 17 points and Jordan Williams' 14 points and nine rebounds. Adrian Bowie scored nine points and Terrell Stoglin added nine points off of the bench.

In a back-and-forth first half, Maryland kept pace with the larger and more experienced Panthers and headed into the locker room down 31-27. The proverbial wheels came off for the Terps during the opening minutes of the second half as Pittsburgh went on a 11-4 run. The Terps would not give in and countered with a 17-4 run of their own, punctuated by a Dino Gregory slam dunk, to tie the score at 46. The momentum would not last, however, as Pitt went on a 9-3 run to take control of the game.

Pittsburgh regained its shooting touch in the second half, shooting 48% for the game after shooting only 32% in the first half. Four of the Panthers' starters scored in double figures, but none were more important than Talib Zanna's double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds. The Panthers outmuscled the Terps' thin frontcourt, outrebounding them 43-23, including 11 offensive rebounds. Williams did the best he could to hold off the Panthers' big men, but found himself in foul trouble early in the second half. The rebounding disadvantage for Maryland might have cost them the game when Zanna tipped in a miss to give the Panthers a 72-66 lead. But perhaps the most telling statistic for the Terps was their abysmal free throwing shooting. Maryland shot 14-30 from the line. Williams went 2-7.

Maryland will return home Tuesday at Comcast Center to take on the Delaware State Hornets. Pittsburgh will move onto the championship game to face either No. 13 Illinois or Texas.

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Maryland Vs. Pittsburgh: Terps Hanging Tough Against Panthers, Trail 31-27 At Halftime

Though Maryland is considered the home team in their 2K Sports Classic benefitting Coaches v. Cancer semifinal matchup against the No. 5 Pittsburgh Panthers, Pitt has much more familiarity with Madison Square Garden, playing there every year in the Big East Tournament. Based on the Terps' solid first-half showing against their highly ranked opponent on a big stage, it doesn't look like any of that matters to Maryland, who trails Pittsburgh 31-27 at halftime.

Cliff Tucker has a team-high eight points for Maryland. Jordan Williams has six points and five rebounds, while Dino Gregory added four points. The Panthers are led by Gilbert Brown and Ashton Gibbs' six points.

The Terps have held their own against a larger and more experienced Panthers team, outrunning them and scoring most of their points in transition. Maryland, however, has been decimated on the boards, trailing in that category 22-14. Williams is the only Terp who can stand toe-to-toe with Pitt's frontcourt and the rest of the team is getting outmuscled inside. 

Maryland's four point deficit is surprising. Pittsburgh is shooting 32% from the field compared to Maryland's 48%, but Pittsburgh's seven offensive rebounds and free throw advantage is taking effect. The Panthers are shooting 11-15 from the line, Maryland 0-7. The Terps committed 13 fouls in the first 20 minutes and Williams had three; his absence would be detrimental to Maryland if they want to stay close in this game.

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Maryland Vs. Pittsburgh: Terrapins Take On No. 5 Pitt In Early-Season Showdown

It's very early in the NCAA Basketball season, and the Maryland Terrapins tend to be slow starters. That said, tonight offers a major test -- and opportunity -- for the Terps. They are playing in the semifinals of the Coaches Vs. Cancer Classic in New York City, and they are playing an elite team there.

Tonight, the Terps will take on No. 5 Pittsburgh at the Garden. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m., and it will be on ESPN. A game between Illinois and Texas will follow, with the winners facing the winners and the losers facing the losers on Friday. 

Pittsburgh returns most of their roster from last season, when they surprised many and earned a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. They have two of the nation's best guards in Brad Wanamaker and Ashton Gibbs, which will keep Maryland's surplus of guards busy. Guys like Pe'Shon Howard, Terrell Stoglin and Cliff Tucker have had good starts to the season, but Pittsburgh is in another league. However, the Panthers will have to deal with Jordan Williams, who has gotten off to a fast start this year.

Regardless of what happens, this is an opportunity for the Terps. If they lose, it's ok. They were not expected to win anyway. If they win, however, it's a major boost on their NCAA Tournament resume. 

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