It has been a painful start to the season at UConn with the latest disappointment delivered Tuesday when the Huskies allowed an opportunity to beat No. 6 Maryland to slip away in the final minutes in the Jimmy V Classic..
UConn rallied from a double-digit deficit to cut the lead to three with 2 minutes, 44 seconds remaining, but coach Kevin Ollie was called for a technical foul after showing a little too much disgust with a foul called on Jalen Adams more than 80 feet from the basket. Ollie pounded his fist on the scorer's table and swept a stack of papers onto the floor, leaving referees little choice but to give him the technical.
Melo Trimble stepped to the foul line for Maryland and made three of the ensuing four free throw attempts, but more importantly the Terrapins were able to catch their breath and regroup. UConn scored only once more and lost 76-66.
It is the third time this season the Huskies have come painfully close to securing a noteworthy win only to fall short. They also dropped games against Syracuse and Gonzaga, each by three points. They do have a win over Michigan, but going 1-3 in those four games probably isn't how Ollie and his staff envisioned things before the season.
Ollie obviously didn't intend to get a technical foul when he did, but he failed to keep his emotions in check. His inability to do so didn't make all the difference in a win or a loss, but it certainly took the steam out of his team's rally.
Maryland being able to fight off a talented team like UConn is another step in the right direction for a team that already has shown signs of improvement and appears to have a legitimate shot at making a run at a national title. One big component of that is the maturation of freshman center Diamond Stone, who wasn't on the floor much at the end of the game, but still had his best game of the season with 16 points and nine rebounds. The 6-foot-11 former McDonald's All-American could turn into a difference maker for the Terrapins as the season progresses if he builds on Tuesday's performance.
When the game was on the line, Maryland obviously leaned on its experienced and talented back court led by Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon, who both made plays that were pivotal down the stretch. Trimble finished with a game-best 25 points and Sulaimon scored eight.
UConn got only six points off its bench but had four starters score in double figures with Daniel Hamilton notching 23.
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