#12 South Dakota State Falls Just Short Against #5 Maryland in NCAA Tournament Opener
South Dakota State found its shooting touch too late as a furious rally from 18 points down fell just short against Maryland, losing 79-74 in the opening round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament, in Spokane, Washington.
The 12th seeded Jackrabbits were plagued by cold shooting throughout the first 27 minutes of the game, but went on a 24-8 run to pull to within two points in the game's final minute.
The fifth seeded Terrapins extended a 12-point halftime advantage to as many as 18 in the first five minutes of the second half, as Jake Layman tied a career-high with 27 points, a good chunk of those points coming during a stretch that saw Maryland drain three-pointers on five straight possessions.
Trailing 53-35 with 13:14 left, SDSU began to hit from the outside, as senior guard George Marshall connected for all 15 of his points in the second half. Deondre Parks added 14 second half points as the Jacks shot 60 percent from the field (15-of-25) and 6-of-12 from the three-point line in the second half. Parks finished with 22.
South Dakota State seemed to catch a break with 1:03 left when Maryland point guard Melo Trimble fouled out of the game, hitting Marshall on the arm on a three-point attempt. Marshall sank all three of the ensuing free throws to cut the Terrapin lead to 72-70 with 1:03 left.
But moments later it was Marshall whistled for his fifth foul on a very questionable call, leaving each team without its best ball handler on the floor.
That proved to be the downfall for South Dakota State, who had the ball with 12 seconds left, down three, with a chance to tie. But with Keaton Moffitt, not Marshall, handling the ball, the Jacks turned it over without getting off a shot. A Rasheed Sulaimon layup sealed the victory for Maryland.
The Jackrabbits have struggled at times this season with slow starts offensively and that was the case in this one. SDSU shot just 27 percent in the first half (9-of-34) and even worse from behind the three-point arc (4-of-17, 24%) in the first 20 minutes. Parks and Mike Daum combined for 15 of the Jacks first half points.
For much of the first half the Jackrabbit defense kept the game close. SDSU grabbed four steals and forced ten first half turnovers to stay within three after 15 minutes. But Trimble got hot at the end of the half, keying an 11-2 Terrapin run in the final five minutes to put the number-two seed up 34-22 at the break.
Maryland shot 50 percent (11-of-22) from the floor in the first half and was 9-of-9 from the fee throw line. Trimble came in averaging 14 points per game. He had 15 after the first 20 minutes and finished with 19 points.
South Dakota State is now 0-3 all-time in NCAA Tournament games. The Jackrabbits finish the season 26-8. Maryland is now 26-8 and plays Hawaii in the round of 32, Sunday in Spokane.