COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- This kind of loss just isn't supposed to happen to Maryland, even in a rebuilding year.
Eager to add to their seven-game winning streak and gain momentum for the Atlantic Coast Conference portion of their schedule, the Terrapins blew a 14-point lead in the final 12 minutes and fell to Morgan State 66-65 Wednesday night.
Reggie Holmes scored 25 points for the Bears (6-8), a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference team based in Baltimore. Morgan State was 0-5 against Maryland (11-3) in a series that began in 1988.
"It's pretty much the way we lost that hurts," said Dave Neal, the Terrapins' lone senior. "You have to at least play hard, and Morgan State throughout the game outworked us. That's something that can't happen ever, especially with the team we have. Our team has to play hard for 40 minutes, no matter what."
After the final buzzer, the Bears held a wild celebration on the floor where Maryland had gone 62-5 against non-conference foes since the start of the 2002-03 season. Although Morgan State has lost to Manhattan, Saint Mary's and St. Francis (Pa.) this season, the Bears defeated DePaul and were confident they could register a similar upset.
"They pulled off their first win against a major conference school and somehow got another one against an ACC school, and it's in-state," Morgan State coach Todd Bozeman said. "I think that is significant."
Greivis Vasquez scored 19 for the Terrapins, but missed a runner in the lane in the closing seconds that could have put Maryland in front. Neal had a career-high 18 points and nine rebounds.
The Terrapins went 1-for-14 from beyond the arc, barely extending their run of games with at least one 3-pointer to 334. They also committed 21 turnovers in falling to 9-1 at home.
"We settled for jump shots. When you shoot 1-for-14 from the 3-point line, that's a pretty good indication of maybe you should do be doing something else with the basketball," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "When you have 21 turnovers, that's a lot of times you're not getting a shot off. We paid the price for that."
A 3-pointer by Jermaine Bolden completed a 21-5 run that put the Bears up 61-59 with 2:15 left. After Vasquez made two free throws, Holmes scored on a tip-in to put Morgan State back in front.
Neal tied it at 63 with two foul shots, and after Holmes buried another 3, Landon Milbourne made a basket for Maryland and was fouled with 29.8 seconds left. He missed the free throw, and the Terrapins subsequently misfired on several opportunities in their bid to regain the lead.
"We just couldn't get it done," Vasquez said. "This will make us wake up and open our eyes with the ACC coming up."
The Terrapins begin league play Saturday at home against Georgia Tech.
Maryland trailed 38-36 early in the second half before Milbourne hit a jumper, Vasquez drilled a 3-pointer, Neal sank a hook shot and Milbourne scored on a follow to put the Terps up by 7. After Holmes interrupted the run with a jumper, the Terrapins tacked on nine straight points, including two free throws by Vasquez after a technical foul was called on the Morgan State bench.
The second 9-0 burst made it 54-40 with 12:37 to go.
"We played well to get the lead, then lost our concentration and turned the ball over," Maryland guard Eric Hayes said. "Then they made a couple shots and had their confidence back."
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Holmes made it 55-47, and another jumper by Holmes from beyond the arc got Morgan State to 57-56 with 5:21 remaining.
Holmes made sure the Bears would complete the comeback.
"Great win, but I will be the same way in practice in the morning," Bozeman said.
Neal scored 12 points in the first half, but the Terrapins led only 36-33 at halftime after committing 10 turnovers and going 0-for-7 from 3-point range.