Fewer than four minutes into the Maryland men's basketball team's 80-75 loss to Purdue on Friday, guard Darryl Morsell stood on the baseline with his hands in the air, pleading for one of his teammates to pass him the ball.
It was clear the freshman was eager to make an impact in his first Big Ten game.
The Baltimore native didn't get the ball on that possession, but he received it countless times over the rest of his season-high 34 minutes against the Boilermakers. On many of those chances he was detriment to the Terps' offense.
Morsell shot 3-for-16 from the field and 0-for-4 from 3-point range, having his shot blocked four times and committing a pair of turnovers.
"There was a few guys that rushed a few [shots]," coach Mark Turgeon said. "Just got to keep coaching them and keep trying to get better and understand situations better."
Boilermakers head coach Matt Painter said his squad's defensive plan involved challenging Morsell to make shots from the perimeter. The freshman is known for his physicality around the basket but has less pedigree as an outside threat.
Early, however, even Morsell's slashing was ineffective. He opened the game 0-for-6 while Boilermakers center Isaac Haas and forward Matt Haarms, who stand at 7-foot-2 and 7-foot-3, respectively, rejected three of Morsell's close-range shots.
Morsell made a bucket with fewer than three minutes left in the first half, finishing through harsh contact from Haas and completing the and-one.
Then, right out of the half, Morsell seemed to show he'd learned his lesson. After receiving a pass under the basket, Morsell used a pump fake to make Haas jump and then finished around him to pull the Terps within four points.
But he went just 1-for-8 the rest of the way, alternating between taking — and missing — open 3-pointers and forcing his way into traffic, trying ambitious shots through and over Purdue defenders.
Morsell attempted as many 3-pointers Friday as he had all season entering the game. His final miss was particularly costly, coming early in the shot clock after another furious Terps comeback cut the Boilermakers lead to two points with under seven minutes left to play. Turgeon substituted him out about 13 seconds later.
"We wanted to help with Morsell's man and have a short close out on him, because he's so athletic and he can get to the rim," Painter said. "If anybody was going to get some perimeter shots it was him, and then if he made a couple then we'd adjust to it. He just didn't knock any down."
It's a strategy Morsell will have to adjust to, guard Kevin Huerter said, if he hopes to contribute throughout Big Ten play.
"There's going to be a lot of teams that are going to force him to prove he can shoot and make shots," Huerter said. "Just confidence wise, he has to see a couple go in during a game … They say when you play defense, if you try to stop everything you'll stop nothing. So teams are going to make him shoot outside shots. He's got to find ways to be effective."