COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The ACU Wildcats gave the Maryland Terrapins all they wanted for 30 minutes Wednesday night at the Comcast Center, but the Terrapins' length and depth eventually wore down the Wildcats as Maryland knocked off ACU, 67-44, in men's basketball action.
The Wildcats (0-3) led throughout the entire first half and into the second half, eventually pushing their lead to a second-half-best six points at 44-38 on a Harrison Hawkins 3-pointer with 14:12 to play.
Maryland, however, then took over as they wore the Wildcats down physically and finished the game on a 29-0 run that made the final 67-44. Maryland took its first lead since 4-2 with 12:24 left in the contest when Jake Layman hit a layup to give the Terps a 45-44 lead.
"I'm proud of our guys and the way we played," ACU head coach Joe Golding said. "We had some good looks in the first half and were able to knock down shots, and then when they started pounding the ball inside in the second half we couldn't really do anything to stop it and that changed the momentum of the game."
After taking the 44-38 lead, the Wildcats went the final 14:12 without scoring, going 0 for 18 from the field (0 for 6 from 3-point range and 0 for 8 inside the paint) and turning the ball over five times.
"We played a short bench tonight (only seven Wildcats played meaningful minutes), and we knew that would take its toll at some point," Golding said. "Give (Maryland head coach) Mark Turgeon credit: they were 1 for 11 from 3-point range early on and that's when they decided to just pound it inside on us. When they did that we didn't have an answer."
Maryland outscored ACU 45-12 in the paint and 36-0 off the bench as the Terps took control over the final 14 minutes of the contest.
ACU – which is 0-3 for the first time since 1990-91 – led throughout the first half, thanks to 6 for 11 shooting from beyond the arc and 12 of 30 overall (40 percent from the field).
Parker Wentz led all scorers in the first half with 13 points, and it was his 3-pointer with 4:26 left in the first half that gave the Wildcats a 28-17 lead over the Terps. That was the second double-digit lead of the half for the Wildcats, who had just five turnovers to 12 for Maryland in the first half.
But the Terps finished the half on a 12-2 run to trim ACU's lead to 30-29 at the break. ACU scored the first five points of the second half with a layup from LaDarrien Williams and a 3-pointer by Austin Cooke to make it 35-29 with 18:53 left in the game.
Maryland, however, would outscore ACU 38-9 the rest of the way to pull away for the win and record its 36th straight home-opening victory.
ACU's grueling season-opening road trip continues Sunday when it takes on Iowa at 3:30 p.m. (central time) at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa.
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