Turnovers plague men’s basketball in 79-64 loss
The Eagles give up 39 points on turnovers in 79-64 loss to UMES
The Eagles remain winless at Bender Arena after a 79-64 loss to University of Maryland Eastern Shore Saturday afternoon. AU entered halftime leading 37-33, but second half defensive breakdowns and sloppy offensive turnovers handed University of Maryland Eastern Shore the win.
AU, for the first time in the three seasons under head coach Mike Brennan, surrendered 75 points in back-to-back games. The Eagles, in their last two seasons, placed in the top dozen teams in the nation for fewest points allowed per game. This season, AU regressed significantly to the middle of the rankings in points allowed per game while being near last in points scored per game.
“It’s a process. You got freshman out there, it’s not an excuse, it's just a fact,” Brennan said. “This is their first time facing all of these different challenges all of these teams present. I like our guys, they're working hard, coming along, we’re getting better”.
In the first half, the Eagles (2-8) ran an uncharacteristically fast but ultimately effective offense, shooting 15-for-24 (62.5 percent) from the field. The Eagles’ scoring was spread out among seven players, with only junior Paris Maragkos earning double digits.
AU limited the Hawks (2-10) to 33 points in the first 20 minutes of play, and the Eagles led by four points heading into the break. AU forced ten turnovers, collecting 11 points in the process. Senior guard Jesse Reed, playing all 20 minutes, blocked two shots and pulled down three defensive rebounds.
The Eagles began the second half with a two minute scoring drought, allowing the Hawks to soar ahead 38-37 before the Eagles picked up their next point. UMES outscored AU 25-11 in the first ten minutes of the second half.
Following a string of three-pointers and layups, AU clawed back to within five points with five minutes left. The Hawks maintained control under pressure and ran up the lead to 16 points with one minute left.
“To be in there showed a big improvement on our part. It’s still a loss, but I’m looking for improvement, and I think it was there, and it's a process. You just have to keep building on that positive,” Brennan said.
The Hawks were lead by veteran squad. Senior guard Devin Martin scored a career-high 34 points, 23 of which came in the second half. Senior forward Dominique Elliott finished with 15 points and junior forward Bakari Copeland with ten points.
AU finished the game with 21 turnovers, giving UMES the opportunity for 39 points easy points. The Eagles were limited to 42 shot attempts for the game compared to the Hawks’ 54 shot attempts.
Maragkos paced the Eagles with 16 points off a perfect 7-for-7 in the field. Senior forward Marko Vasic scored 12 points (5-for-5) off the bench. Freshman guards Delante Jones and James Washington continued to contribute with 17 points combined and 64 minutes played between the two.
Junior forward Leon Tolksdorf played a season high 17 minutes, a product of his substantial performance in the later half of the Eagles game Thursday. Tolksdorf finished the game with six points, two assist and two rebounds.
“Leon gave good minutes in the blowout versus Stony Brook, and that’s how he gets his opportunity. So now he’s in the game and he’s doing some things that actually keep you in the game,” Brennan said. “So now hopefully everyone can see that, they can build on it and eventually it’s a win.”
The Eagles have consistently started a lineup made up of Reed, junior forward Charlie Jones, Maragkos, Jones and Washington. However, Brennan said after the game that he is still shaping and growing the team’s supporting cast.
“Everyone is going to have to contribute. It’s not like we have five rocks out there, where those are the iron five, and they are going to make you win every game,” Brennan said. “Each game you sorta see who you're wearing down whether its youth or inexperience, whatever it is.”