CLEMSON, S.C. — — It was a game of tipped passes and blocked shots and hard fouls and air balls and - most of all - turnovers.
But made baskets? Those were precious and few as Clemson halted Maryland's impressive early run in Atlantic Coast Conference play with a 62-53 win Sunday night that was hardly aesthetically pleasing except for fans of rugged, full-court defense or missed layups.
The Terrapins, whose four-game winning streak ended, entered the contest leading the ACC in the standings as well as in assist-to-turnover ratio and shooting percentage - a gaudy .487. The law of averages seemed to catch up with the Terps all in one jarring night.
The Terps, banged around by physical Clemson defenders, shot 34.6 percent and committed 26 turnovers - more than double their season average. Senior leader Greivis Vasquez, hampered by early foul trouble, was held to 10 points on 3-for-11 shooting. Forward Landon Milbourne, who had scored in double figures in nine straight games, missed his first six shots and didn't score until 9:42 remained in the game. Overall, Maryland scored 28 fewer points than its per-game average. "Clemson's defense was really good," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "They were physical. They did a good job of banging us."
Williams seemed to resist attaching too much significance to the loss, which came after the Terps (14-6, 4-2 ACC) had won six of their previous seven games. Maryland's conference wins have come by an average of 17 points.
"This game isn't going to take us out of what we want to do," the coach said.
As poorly as the Terps shot, Clemson (31.9 percent) and its star, Trevor Booker, were worse.
With NBA scouts in attendance, Booker - frequently double-teamed by the Terps - shot 2-for-16 and didn't make a field goal until 7:03 remained in the game. He seemed perpetually to be missing inside shots and running to the other end shaking his head.
But Booker also made the biggest basket of the night - his first 3-pointer of the season in an ACC game.
With the Terps down by a point and the shot clock winding down, Booker's high-arcing 3-pointer over Maryland's Jordan Williams put Clemson on top 57-53 with 3:23 remaining.
Jordan Williams, who had kept the Terps close with 10 first-half points, said it was precisely the shot he hoped Booker would attempt. "That's what we wanted. He was 0-for-6 [on 3-pointers] coming into this game in conference play," the Maryland player said.
Booker raised his arms after the shot to signal the 3-pointer.
"We did some good things in terms of guarding Booker," Gary Williams said. "Hard to stop that shot he made."
Clemson (16-6, 4-4), which had lost three in a row, had not shot so poorly in a winning effort since 1997.
If there was a positive for Maryland, it's that the Terps - who trailed 38-27 with 15:25 left - came back to take the lead.
The Terps tied the game at 46 on a free throw by Vasquez, then went ahead 48-46 on a drive by Eric Hayes (11 points).
Maryland was victimized after that - and all night - by Clemson's steals and second shots. The Tigers, who played without injured point guard Demontez Stitt (foot), had 20 offensive rebounds in the game to Maryland's eight.
Hayes said Maryland was "making bad decisions and trying to force passes that weren't there. We just couldn't find a way to score in the first half."
Maryland next plays Thursday night at Florida State. The Terps beat the Seminoles, 77-68, on Jan. 10 at Comcast Center.
Hayes said the Terps will need to quickly recover from Sunday night's loss - a game in which he said they were "not sharing the ball and [were] turning the ball over."