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Notre Dame

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Irish let first-half lead get away in loss at Maryland

– Things were going Notre Dame’s way – for a half – but then they became their own worst enemy.

Ahead by nine at halftime, the Irish went 10 for 26 from the floor and committed eight turnovers over the final 20 minutes while giving away a seemingly secure advantage as Maryland pulled out a 74-66 victory Wednesday night to end a two-game slide.

“You’re just not going to win a game giving up 20 offensive rebounds and turning the ball over 17 times,” coach Mike Brey said. “Disappointing. We’re struggling a little bit now. We need to get back into a practice rhythm, and see if we can win a league game Sunday (against Virginia Tech).”

After beating Duke to launch its inaugural run through the ACC, Notre Dame has since lost to North Carolina State, Georgia Tech and Maryland.

“We are usually way better with the ball than that,” guard Eric Atkins said. “We turned over the ball too many times. They capitalized, especially in the paint. They really got the momentum with us turning the ball over.”

The Irish (10-7, 1-3) opened the second half by going scoreless for 6 1/2 minutes, but during that time Maryland could muster only four baskets to cut a nine-point deficit to 34-33.

After Garrick Sherman made a layup for the Irish, Maryland center Charles Mitchell scored in the lane and Jake Layman made one of two free throws after Brey was called for a technical foul.

Allen followed with a 3-pointer to give the Terrapins (11-7, 3-2) their first lead since 12-11.

It was 43-41 before Evan Smotrycz hit a 3-pointer to spark a 15-7 spurt that pushed Maryland’s advantage to 10 with 5:08 remaining.

Notre Dame closed to 66-61 with 1:46 to go before Faust buried a 3-pointer to clinch it.

“We had one little push left in us and Faust hit a big shot in the corner,” Brey said.

Maryland had just endured a dismal first half, missing 23 of 34 shots and getting no points from its leading scorer, Dez Wells.

And so Terrapins coach Mark Turgeon surprised his team with an impromptu speech.

“I really didn’t know what to say,” Turgeon said. “But I walked in there and said, ‘I don’t know what I’ve done to you guys, but we’re not playing the way we’re capable of playing. So we’ll make a pact: We’re just going to have fun.’ ”

Wells scored all 17 of his points during the final 20 minutes to help Maryland outscore the Irish 49-32.

Pat Connaughton scored 19 for the Irish, only four after halftime.

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