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UCLA out to limit turnovers in matchup with Maryland

ucla-out-to-limit-turnovers-in-matchup-with-maryland

UCLA tries to avoid a fourth consecutive loss Friday when the Bruins welcome future Big Ten Conference counterpart Maryland to Los Angeles.

The Bruins (5-5) trailed almost wire-to-wire en route to a 76-72 loss on Tuesday to Cal State Northridge. The defeat snapped UCLA’s 29-game home-court winning streak.

Coming on the heels of setbacks against Villanova and Ohio State, UCLA heads into Friday’s matchup at risk of matching the longest losing streak of coach Mick Cronin’s tenure. The Bruins dropped four straight to close the regular season before their 2021 Final Four run.

“We’re young; we try to keep it simple. No [points in the] paint [allowed]. They made 17 layups,” Cronin said in his postgame following Tuesday’s loss. “And we really have to take care of the ball. … So we failed as a coaching staff because when you have two points of emphasis, your job as a coaching staff is to make sure your team adheres to them.”

UCLA allowed 34 points in the paint and committed 19 turnovers. For the season, the Bruins are committing turnovers on 17 percent of possessions, up from the nation’s 15th-best average of 14.9 percent last season per KenPom.com metrics.

Maryland (7-4) visits UCLA riding a three-game winning streak after its 73-67 defeat of Nicholls on Tuesday. Jahmir Young’s 23-point, 11-rebound double-double paced the Terrapins and improved his team-leading season average to 17.7 points per game.

Terrapins post player Julian Reeves, meanwhile, is averaging a double-double at 15.2 points on 51 percent shooting from the floor and 10.2 rebounds per game. Reeves blocked a career-high six shots in Tuesday’s win.

Reeves’ interior presence promises a challenge for UCLA big man Adem Bona on both ends of the floor.

“He’s been really good all year defensively,” Maryland coach Kevin Willard said of Reeves during Tuesday’s postgame press conference. “I was proud of him, the fact he really focused in on the defensive end.”

The Terrapins’ defense is limiting opponents to 43.3 percent shooting on 2-point field-goal attempts, 18th best in the nation, with turnovers forced on 21.7 percent of possessions, good for No. 33 in the country.

–Field Level Media

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