No. 20 Maryland men’s basketball was down against Hofstra with one minute and 11 seconds remaining in the game when senior guard Eric Ayala attempted a three-point shot. The ball bounced off the rim, freshman forward Julian Reese grabbed the offensive rebound and put it right back up to put the Terps within two.
From there, Maryland went on a 6-0 run and ultimately clinched its fourth win of the season after falling to George Mason earlier in the week.
“We executed, we got a layup by Eric, we got a layup by JuJu and we got two free throws and that’s how you come back and win, you’re not shooting jump shots,” head coach Mark Turgeon said.
Now, the Terps look ahead to a challenging slate ahead as they travel to the Bahamas for the Baha Mar Hoops Event will they will face Richmond and then either Louisville or Mississippi State.
Here are three takeaways from Maryland’s latest victory over the Pride.
Maryland’s struggles to pull away continued
For three consecutive games, the Terps went into the locker room down at halftime. Against Hofstra the Terps snapped that streak, however, they were in danger of it happening again.
The Terps had 10 turnovers in which Hofstra capitalized on by scoring 17 points off the takeaways. Maryland’s performance in the first half didn’t quite put it in the position to be down at the half however, the team had just a three-point lead over the Pride which has found a way to win just one of their three games thus far.
Maryland collected 10 personal fouls in the first 20 minutes of the game compared to Hofstra’s six and the Pride was shooting 87.5% from the charity stripe making five of their six attempted shots.
Maryland held onto the lead for 11 minutes and 17 seconds however on the flip side, that meant the Pride had control of the lead for more than 25% of the first frame.
“We have shooters and I’m confident that we are going to start making shots,” graduate guard Fatts Russell said. “We just got to take the right ones and take them confidently.”
The Terps continued to make costly mistakes in the second half making it difficult for them to grow a commanding lead.
Maryland allowed the Pride to hit three consecutive three-point shots. With about 10 minutes remaining, the Terps had hit six of their last eight field goals, however, on the other side of the court, the defense allowed the Pride to hit five of their last seven from the field.
Whenever it appeared Maryland’s offense was going to spark a run, the defense was not there to complement it.
With about six and a half minutes remaining, the Pride got their offense going as they were on a 9-0 run lasting nearly three minutes hitting five of their last seven field goals. On the other side of the court, Maryland committed three turnovers in that span while making one of its last seven shots from the field and zero of its last seven.
As Hofstra’s offense was heating up and Maryland’s remained cold, the Pride took the lead. With about five minutes remaining, Russell followed up a pair of successful free throws with a driving layup to reclaim the lead. Less than a minute later, Hofstra took it back leading, 61-60.
The teams continued to swap the lead and it was not until the final one minute and five seconds that Maryland went on a 6-0 run to officially take the win, though the Terps never ran away with it.
Overall, the lead changed 10 times over the course of the game displayed the Terps’ inability so far this season to pull away.
The Terps went with a smaller lineup
Without Hofstra having a true center, the coaching staff made the decision to take center Qudus Wahab out for the majority of the game.
This decision may have come as a surprise to some watching as the center collected six points while shooting 100% from the field in addition to grabbing six rebounds, including two offensive boards, in just eight minutes. However, without a player to match up in terms of height with Wahab, Turgeon explained that they decided to go with a smaller lineup that they had yet to practice as much accounting for some of the mistakes.
“I told Q at halftime I said ‘Q, this might not feel right but I’m going small.’ Right, and I said, ‘We got a lot of Big Ten games coming up, got a lot of big games coming up... they’re gonna have big seven-footers out there that can’t shoot or whatever. You’re gonna play,’” Turgeon said.
Ayala, Russell and Scott led the starters playing for 35, 34 and 30 minutes, respectively. Sophomore guard Ian Martinez who transferred to Maryland in the offseason from Utah played start minutes with 30. Graduate guard Xavier Green saw the next most minutes with 21 followed by junior guard Hakim hart who played for 20 and Reese who saw 19 minutes on the court.
Reese was the tallest player in this rotation standing at 6-foot-9, two inches shorter than Wahab. Reese stepped in for Wahab and Turgeon described him as being slightly quicker at moving his feet than the junior center making the freshman a reasonable option to play when the team is facing smaller opponents.
Ian Martinez and Julian Reese stood out
It’s been clear through the first five games that Maryland would be getting bursts of energy from its bench during this season and that was apparent against Hofstra. In addition to Green’s strong defensive effort in which he grabbed four defensive rebounds, had one assist and one steal, Martinez and Reese sparked the offense.
The bench players combined for 23 of Maryland’s points, all of which came from Martinez and Reese.
Martinez scored 13 points while shooting 5-for-9 from the field including 1-for-5 from deep and also was 2-for-2 from the charity stripe. He grabbed five rebounds, dished out two assists and had one block. Martinez also turned the ball over three times and collected four personal fouls however two of those came in the final two minutes when the Terps had fouls to spare.
After drawing a foul with about four seconds remaining when the game was tied at 67 apiece, his two successful free throws gave Maryland the lead and ultimately secured win No. 4 for the Terps.
“I knew that those shots would go in,” Reese said about Martinez’s free throws. “We hit those shots in practice... so that’s just like another day in the office really.”
Reese once again showed his talent despite being one of the younger players on the team having just turned 18 over the summer.
The freshman forward from Baltimore picked up 10 points while shooting 5-for-8 from the field and missing his one attempt from deep. He also picked up six rebounds, all offensive, and had three assists and two blocks in the 19 minutes he was on the court. He turned the ball over three times and collected three personal fouls.
His second-chance basket off of Ayala’s missed three-pointer toward the final minute of the game put Maryland in striking distance and gave it the opportunity to come back from its four point-deficit to find the victory.