With less than seven minutes remaining, Maryland men’s basketball was down, 71-63, against Richmond. The Terps moved the ball around the arc and kicked it out to junior guard Donta Scott. The Philadelphia native sank the Terps’ eight three of the game to spark a 17-3 run for the Terps that would last over five minutes.
Back-to-back layups from graduate guard Fatts Russell and junior guard Hakim Hart brought the Terps within one. A successful free throw from Richmond gave it the, 72-70 lead and from there, Maryland was searching for a big play to give it the lead.
Less than a minute later, Hart hit his fourth shot from deep to give Maryland its first lead since it was ahead 22-21 with seven minutes remaining in the first half.
The Terps continued to push and were able to send Richmond into a scoring drought. Center Qudus Wahab picked up a pair of free throws and a jumper and moments later Russell hit a three in the final two minutes of the game to keep the game in its control.
Richmond closed the gap to as few as two points with less than 30 seconds remaining but Maryland held on, walking away with the 86-80 win in the Baha Mar Hoops Bahamas Championship.
“The guys showed me a lot about themselves tonight,” head coach Mark Turgeon said. “And just, I mean, the effort they played with in the second half was just terrific.”
Maryland started off slow once again, missing the first shot of the game as the Spiders got on the board first with a jumper.
The Terps found themselves playing from behind as within the first three minutes of the game, the two teams traded buckets. With less than 16 minutes remaining, the Terps were down 11-6 with all six points for the Terps coming from senior guard Eric Ayala.
Headed into the first media timeout, the Spiders were outshooting the Terps, hitting 71% of their shots while the Terps hit just 43%.
Out of the timeout, Maryland’s struggles from deep continued as Scott missed the Terps’ second attempted three of the game.
Maryland slowly started to close the Spiders’ lead thanks to a pair of free throws from Wahab and a play from Hart that turned defense into offense. The junior guard stole the ball away from Richmond, took it downhill himself and finished the job with a dunk to close the lead to, 11-10.
The Spiders answered back however Ayala continued to be a dominant force on the court collecting eight points while shooting 100% from the field and with less than 12 minutes to go.
After it seemed Maryland’s offense was heating up, the Spiders forced a nearly four-minute scoring drought consisting of the Terps missing five consecutive field goals including Ayala’s first miss of the night from behind the arc.
The Terps’ shooting woes from deep continued as they hit zero of their five attempted shots from behind the arc as Richmond’s offense continued to push as it went on a 6-0 run lasting nearly three minutes.
Maryland snapped the drought with back-to-back free throws from Wahab to close Richmond’s lead to three points. Moments later, Wahab went 1-for-1 from the line to bring Maryland within two however, Maryland grabbed the rebound off of Wahab’s miss. The Terps kicked the ball out to Hart who sunk a three to put the Terps ahead by one.
Richmond immediately answered to retake the lead and the two teams began trading baskets. With less than six minutes remaining in the first half, the Spiders had the edge up over the Terps, 26-24.
Out of the timeout, Scott made a huge defensive stop with a block but Maryland could not turn the opportunity into points as forward Julian Reese turned the ball over. Moments later, Scott was fouled and hit both his free throws to tie the game but once again, Richmond had the response. The Spiders hit a three and a layup to drive the score up, 31-26.
With four minutes to go, the Terps had hit just nine of their 26 attempted shots and just one of their six attempts from deep. Maryland was able to pick up points from the charity stripe as it was shooting 7-for-8 from the line. Richmond, on the other hand, was shooting 48% from the field and 43% from deep.
Maryland continued to allow its turnovers to get the best of it as it committed three in the span of fewer than three minutes as it once again was on a two-and-a-half-minute scoring drought. A layup from Richmond as part of a 10-0 run put the Spiders up, 36-26, over the Terps forcing Maryland to call a timeout.
Although Ayala snapped the scoring drought with a shot from deep, Richmond continued to pile it on as the Terps went into the locker room at halftime down, 41-32.
In the second half, Richmond held onto its lead early as turnovers continued to plague Maryland’s offense. However, shortly after Russell turned the ball over while looking for Wahab under the basket, he stole it away on the other side of the court. Russell got it up to Hart who sank the basket to close Richmond’s lead to seven and shift the momentum quickly for the Terps.
A minute later, Hart once again brought the Terps closer to stealing the lead with a successful pair of free throws.
An alley-oop from Russell to Scott put the Terps within three and a dunk from Wahab moments later with about 15 minutes to go closed the score to 46-45.
“We’ve talked a lot about morale shift,” Turgeon said. “We had time to do it, we had five games in 10 days and you’re just trying to figure out a way to win the next game and we didn’t shift during those five games and it really shifted here.”
Maryland’s pressure on the defensive end paid off as they forced three turnovers in a two-and-a-half-minute span as it went on an 11-1 run lasting over three minutes.
However, out of the timeout, the tides turn again. The Spiders responded by answering with a 6-0 run of their own in less than a minute forcing the Terps to call a timeout.
Consecutive baskets in the paint from freshman forward Julian Reese, Scott and Hart brought the Terps close to once again stealing the lead away but Richmond dunked it bring its lead back to three.
Fouls on guard Xavier Green and a technical on Maryland led to a string of free throws for Richmond who jumped out to a seven-point lead. The Terps continued to claw back and Hart’s third three of the night brought Maryland within one point.
However, once again, as the Terps got closer to reclaiming the lead, they fouled the Spiders as they continued to grow their advantage.
However, with seven minutes remaining, Scott’s three sparked the 17-3 run lasting over five minutes toward the end of the game. Maryland went on to close out Richmond, winning by six to advance to 5-1 on the season.
“What I’m enjoying so much about this trip is that we playing for a championship. You know, we have a championship game now on Saturday,” Ayala said. “And it’s helping us build that winning mindset.”
Three things to know
1. Maryland continues to come out slow while its opponents do not. For the fourth time this season, the Terps went into the locker room down at halftime. Maryland had no answer for Richmond’s 12-0 run late in the first half and allowed it to seemingly effortlessly move the ball around the court to create scoring opportunities. Although Maryland was able to overcome the first-half deficit later in the game, as it approaches conference play, it will become increasingly challenging to bounce back from large deficits at the half.
2. Maryland’s bench had an uncharacteristically quiet night. At the end of the first half, the Terps’ bench players made up of Reese, Green and Martinez were unable to get on the board for the Terps. Reese and Green grabbed three and two rebounds, respectively, however, neither were able to get one in the basket. Martinez also struggled when it came to shooting as he went 0-for-4 from the field and missed his one attempt from deep in the first frame. The sophomore transfer guard from Utah also picked up one personal foul and had a turnover. To finish the game, Maryland’s bench picked up just five points: three from Martinez and two from Reese.
3. Hakim Hart had his strongest offensive performance of the season. Hart put together a season-high 24 point performance and tied his career-high of four steals. Hart shot 8-for-9 from the field, 4-for-5 from deep and 2-for-2 from the charity stripe.
“Obviously I grew in offseason got bigger, stronger,” Hart said. “So I’m going to try to use all of my abilities to help this team win and that starts by defense with me.”
Coming into this matchup, Hart had yet to have a game in which he showcased his offensive potential. However, against the Spiders, he did just that.