Thu, 20 Jan 2022

Maryland aims for better performance vs. ACC, hosts Virginia Tech

Field Level Media
01 Dec 2021, 09:55 GMT+10

Since Maryland abandoned the Atlantic Coast Conference for the allure and money of the Big Ten, the annual basketball series between the leagues has been an awkward exercise for the Terps.

The Big Ten-ACC Challenge also has been mostly fruitless, as Maryland is 1-6 in the event since changing its stripes. On Wednesday night, Maryland (5-2) tries to reverse the trend as it faces visiting Virginia Tech (5-2).

The teams enter on similar turf. Both are smarting after tournament losses to quality teams. While Maryland fell in the title game of the Bahamas Championship, 63-55 to Louisville, Virginia Tech dropped a pair in the NIT Tip-Off in Brooklyn, N.Y.

After beating up on five small-conference schools, winning each game by at least 20 points, the Hokies fell to Memphis, 69-61, and Xavier, 59-58.

"We're not as good as we thought we were," Tech coach Mike Young said. "We've got work to do."

Memphis might have provided a blueprint for beating Tech as it pressured Storm Murphy, the Hokies' primary ballhandler, into six turnovers.

The tougher competition brought out the best in Nahiem Alleyne, who collected 39 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in the two games combined.

Tech is still waiting for Keve Aluma to replicate his numbers from last year. His scoring is down from 15.2 to 12.6 points per game, as well as his rebound average dipping from 7.9 to 5.4. Aluma has made just 1 of 12 shots from beyond the arc, well off his 35.1 percent accuracy rate from last season.

Meanwhile, Maryland will try to remedy its rebounding woes. Louisville's success was built on a 51-25 edge on the boards. The Cardinals had 16 second-chance points to three for the Terps.

"Our whole game plan was to box them out and rebound. We didn't do it," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "I don't know if I've ever had a team get beat that bad on the boards."

For the cure, the Terps will look to top scorer Eric Ayala (15.1 points per game) and top rebounder Donta Scott (10.3 points, 7.6 boards per game).

--Field Level Media

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