COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Another porous defensive outing resulted in another lopsided loss for the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team.
Maryland cruised to a 94-71 win Saturday at Comcast Center, handing James Johnson a defeat in his ACC head-coaching debut.
“We can’t let a team get in the 90s. It’s hard to score in the 90s,” said Erick Green, who had 28 points for Tech.
The Hokies (9-5, 0-1) were coming off an 88-52 loss to Colorado State on Dec. 23 and a 97-71 loss to BYU last weekend.
It is Tech’s most porous three-game stretch since allowing a total of 284 points to Louisville, Cincinnati and South Carolina in 1990.
Defense is “something that we’ve got to go back to the drawing board and look at,” guard Robert Brown said.
The Hokies have been beaten by a total of 85 points the past three games, their worst three-game stretch since they were beaten by 88 points by North Carolina State, West Virginia and Virginia in 1954.
This is the first time the Hokies have ever lost three straight games by at least 23 points.
“I’ve got to continue to think about the program in the long haul,” Johnson said. “We’re going to try to be a fast-paced team, so I’ve got to try to play that way.
“We pressed and got back in the game but just don’t have enough bodies to press like that the entire game.”
Johnson, down to seven scholarship players for the fourth straight game, opted to use only six of them. C.J. Barksdale had started every game at power forward this season but did not play Saturday.
Johnson said he didn’t like the effort Barksdale had given in practices and games recently. He said Barksdale was not suspended.
“Right now we’ve got some guys that are giving more effort and playing harder than C.J.,” Johnson said. “I’m trying to build a program and we want to play hard.
“He’s got to play harder. He’s got to play with more effort. … They’re attacking us inside and rebounding has been an issue for us, so I’ve got to try to shake things up and take a look at some other guys.”
Johnson started Joey van Zegeren in Barksdale’s place. He also gave playing time to walk-on forward Christian Beyer.
Tech used eight players, including two walk-ons.
“We had [a] deeper team,” Maryland center Alex Len said. “We just kept running.”
Maryland (13-1, 1-0) led from the opening basket and built a 13-4 lead. The Terrapins led 53-37 at halftime.
“For some reason, we can’t come out and smack them in the mouth. We always get smacked in the mouth first,” Green said.
Maryland was 10 of 23 from 3-point range. Tech has allowed at least 10 3-pointers in four of its five losses.
“We played inside-out — Alex found the open man and we were just knocking them down,” said freshman reserve Seth Allen, who had three 3-pointers and a career-high 21 points.
Maryland freshman Jake Layman entered Saturday’s game averaging 3.2 points but scored a career-high 20. Layman, making his second start, had 18 points and four 3-pointers in the first half.
“At first they were kind of leaving me open and I was getting open shots,” Layman said.
“It kind of caught me off guard,” Green said. “I didn’t think he was going to score that much. We didn’t control him well.”
The 7-foot-1 Len had 16 points and nine rebounds for Maryland, which shot 51.7 percent from the field.
“Our defense was pretty good,” Johnson said. “We did a pretty decent job of controlling them in the paint, and on the kick-outs, they made shots. We’re not in a position where we can guard both [inside and outside] right now. We’ve got to try to pick our spots.
“We wanted to kind of take those post guys away. … We can’t take the post away and take the perimeter away right now.”
Maryland outrebounded Tech 41-38. The Terrapins snared 13 offensive rebounds.
The Hokies shot just 37.3 percent from the field, including 21.1 percent from 3-point range.
“Those are the same shots that were going down in the first seven games,” Johnson said.
Brown and Jarell Eddie were a combined 6 of 27 from the field.