Jackets lose on final shot at Maryland

Despite leading with two seconds left in the game, Tech’s men’s basketball team (18-9, 6-7 ACC) fell to Maryland on Saturday, Feb. 20 in College Park.

Freshman forward Derrick Favors, who garnered ACC Rookie of the Week honors for the fourth time this season, finished the game with a career-high 18 rebounds and 21 points, including Tech’s final bucket that put them ahead by one in the final seconds. Maryland guard Cliff Tucker hit a three-pointer as time expired to give the Terrapins the win.

The teams fought for the edge early on, recording five lead changes and seven ties in the first half alone.

With the score tied with 5:21 left, the Terrapins went on a 9-3 run over the next four minutes to go up by six, the largest lead of the game.

Two Favors layups in the last 41 seconds pulled Tech back within two at 34-32 heading into halftime.

The Jackets tied the score at 34 coming out of the break, but Maryland recovered the lead and stayed in front for the next 11 minutes.

Despite their extended advantage, the Terrapins were unable to pull away. Their largest lead came at the 16:40 mark, when a Vasquez jumper put the score at 41-35. Just 30 seconds later, the Jackets had cut the differential to one, scoring four fast-break points and hitting a free throw to put the score at 41-40.

Maryland refused to lose the edge, though, staving off Tech’s persistent attack until the 7:44 mark, when the Jackets finally tied the score at 58 on a layup from Lawal.

The game remained close, and Maryland guard Eric Hayes made a three-pointer to put the Terrapins ahead 71-68 with 1:20 left to play, but a tip-in by Favors and a jumper by Bell swung the score in favor of the Jackets.

With only 13 seconds remaining, Vasquez knocked down a jumper out of a timeout to put Maryland back in front. Sophomore guard Iman Shumpert missed a jumper that would have put Tech ahead, but Favors followed with a layup to give the Jackets a 74-73 edge with two seconds remaining.

The Terrapins quickly passed the ball in to Vasquez, who banked in a desperation half-court shot for the win. Before he let go, though, Maryland signaled for a timeout, nullifying the shot.

“I was hoping that the shot that [Vasquez] took was going to be our lucky break,” said Tech Head Coach Paul Hewitt, courtesy of ramblinwreck.com.

The timeout gave the Terrapins the ball just behind half-court with 1.5 seconds to play. Despite a well-defended inbounds play, Hayes was able to find Tucker cutting toward the three-point line. Freshman forward Glen Rice Jr. got his hands in Tucker’s face, but the shot went up and fell through, giving Maryland a 76-74 win and handing the Jackets their seventh road loss of the season.

“[Tucker] got open on the wing,” Rice said. “I put my hands up trying to make sure he didn’t get a clean look, and he just got it off.”

Although they were unable to come away with the win on Saturday, the Jackets did put on one of their better performances of the year. The team shot 41% from the floor against the Terrapins, with Favors, Lawal and Shumpert combined for 50 of the 74 points.

“We probably played our best game of the season,” Hewitt said of his team’s performance.

Favors’ performance was also a good indicator of his improvement. Eight of his 18 rebounds came on the offensive glass, and he also shot three-for-three from the foul line.

“We started running stuff to him, and he did a great job of catching the ball around the rim and finishing,” Hewitt said of Favors’ effort.