George Mason defeated the No. 20 Maryland men’s basketball team, 71-66, at Xfinity Center Nov. 17. The defeat marked the first loss of the season for the Terrapins. Here are five things to know following the team’s first loss.

1. The Terps continue to struggle shooting from the outside.

It’s no secret that the Terrapins have struggled to shoot from the outside this season (26.1 percent from 3-point range through four games), but Maryland’s first two baskets against George Mason came on 3-point shots. One came from senior guard Eric Ayala, while the other came from junior forward Donta Scott. The veterans helped the Terps get out to an early 6-3 lead against the Patriots.

However, the lead did not last long as George Mason responded with six 3-point shots of its own in the first half. Three of those came from graduate guard D’Shawn Schwartz. Maryland made three more 3-pointers the rest of the half. Scott tallied two more from behind the arc, while freshman center Julian Reese made one, marking the first 3-point make of his college career.

The Terps finished the first half 5-for-14 from 3-point range (38.5 percent).

Maryland finished 6-for-27 on 3-pointers against Vermont and did not improve much against the Patriots by the end of the contest. The Terps only converted 4 of 15 shots from 3-point range during the second half. Baskets came from Ayala (two), sophomore guard Ian Martinez and Scott. Ayala’s second-half 3-pointers brought Maryland to within one point (67-66) of George Mason with less than a minute to go. But it just was not enough.

“I was just trying to find a way to win,” Ayala said. “I never felt like we [were going to] lose, until obviously we lost, but through the game, I felt like we always had a chance, just trying to help my team out as much as I can.”

The Wilmington, Del., native finished the night with 17 points and four rebounds.

Maryland finished 9-for-28 from 3-point range, shooting 32.1 percent compared to George Mason’s 50 percent.

2. The inconsistencies continue for the Terps.

Maryland has struggled to start fast and head into halftime with a lead. That was again the case, but the Terps could not find a way to bounce back this time.

“[George Mason is] playing with incredible confidence right now, and we’re not. We think we’re supposed to beat everybody. It’s not that way, it’s too hard,” Terps head coach Mark Turgeon said. “We didn’t vote ourselves 20th. And so you take everybody’s best shot, and we don’t know how to handle it yet. As soon as we figure out how to handle it, we’re going to be a better team.”

The Terps trailed 32-31 after 20 minutes of play. The team struggled to contain Schwartz, who posted 11 points and three 3-pointers in the first half alone. He finished the game with 24 points and shot 8-for-15 from the field and 6-for-10 from behind the arc.

George Mason opened up the second half with a 3-pointer and utilized that energy to go on a 16-7 run. Maryland fought to reclaim the lead, and a fast-break layup from graduate guard Xavier Green got the Terps to within five points (51-46).

“We gave them too many easy ones,” Turgeon said. “Whether it was in transition or layups, you can’t do that. We made a lot of mistakes in a stretch where we were supposed to be doing something defensively.”

But it just was not enough, as turnovers and rebounding plagued the Terrapins. George Mason outrebounded Maryland, 36-30.

The Terps lacked offense from graduate guard Fatts Russell, junior forward Hakim Hart and junior center Qudus Wahab. Russell finished the night with just two points on 1-for-7 shooting. Hart also only posted two points and has only produced 14 points through four games.

Meanwhile, Wahab only tallied eight points and five rebounds. He posted 18 points against George Washington and 17 against Quinnipiac and became the first Terp since Steve Francis to score 17-plus points in his first two games. The Patriots double-teamed Wahab, which caused him to struggle below the post. The Georgetown transfer only played 16 minutes.

“We’re nowhere near where we’re going to be,” Turgeon said. “Until we learn how to share the ball a little bit better and pass it better and make better decisions, our defense better be outstanding. And it wasn’t outstanding tonight.”

3. Julian Reese continues to leave his mark.

Reese made his presence known the moment he stepped on the court against George Mason. The freshman’s 6-foot-9, 230-pound frame presented a problem for the Patriots as he aggressively grabbed rebounds and set his team up for scoring chances.

Turgeon has emphasized several times this season that Reese helps provide low-post scoring for the Terrapins. And he continued to prove that against George Mason.

The Patriots held a 48-38 lead against the Terrapins with less than 13 minutes to go in the game, but Reese did not hold back. The Baltimore native snagged a rebound on a missed shot by Scott and went right back up for the layup. Terrapin fans cheered loudly for the Baltimore native as he put his team one basket closer to reclaiming a lead as the ball slipped through the net.

Reese hit the first 3-pointer of his college career toward the end of the first half, which gave Maryland a tight 27-25 lead against George Mason with a little less than four minutes remaining in the half.

Reese finished the game with 12 points and three rebounds. He went 4-for-4 on field goals, 1-for-1 from behind the arc and 3-for-4 on free throws. It was his second career game with 10-plus points.

4. Donta Scott is back.

The junior came out firing against George Mason. Scott drilled a 3-pointer not even two minutes into the game. The 6-foot-8, 230-pound forward had his best game thus far, grabbing rebounds and setting up teammates in addition to scoring.

Ayala applauded his teammate’s play.

“For him to come out there and give us that energy we needed, I was definitely proud of him,” Ayala said.

With about six minutes left in the game and the Terps down 59-50, the Philadelphia native tried his best to get the Terps back into the game. He put back a missed 3-pointer by Martinez, forced a foul and made the free throw.

Scott finished the night with 18 points and 10 rebounds. He went 7-for-12 on field-goal attempts, 3-for-5 on 3-pointers and made his only free throw.

5. Hofstra is next for the Terps.

The Terps will take on Hofstra Nov. 19 for the final game of the season-opening five-game homestand.

The two teams last faced each other on Nov. 16, 2018, and the matchup resulted in an 80-69 victory for the Terps. Current Boston Celtics center Bruno Fernando led Maryland with 17 points, while Ayala followed closely behind with 14 points.

Maryland is currently 5-0 against the Pride.

Ayala hopes his team will bounce back from the loss and use it as a learning experience heading into the Hofstra game.

“We needed it as a team to get that punch in the mouth,” Ayala said. “We had three good games where we competed and kind of felt like we were more talented than teams. Tonight, we approached the game the same way, and that came back to bite us. We are back in the hunt and excited to get ready for practice. It’s like a fresh start.”

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox

Emma Shuster

See all posts by Emma Shuster. Follow Emma Shuster on Twitter at @emmashuster1.