Coming off a blowout win over Saint Peter’s and a full week of rest, Maryland men’s basketball was rejuvenated and prepared to take on in-state foe UMBC.
Similar to their last four games, the Terps began the game sluggish and sloppy. They failed to connect on almost all of their three pointers and continuously turned the ball over.
After falling to a 17-11 deficit, Maryland put its foot on the gas and never let up. The Terps headed into halftime with a three-point advantage and did not look back, upending the Retrievers, 80-64.
Here are a few takeaways from the game.
Maryland’s shooting woes continued.
Three-point shooting has been the Terps’ achilles heel over the last few years and things are no different under new head coach Kevin Willard. Maryland shot under 33% from deep in three of the last four seasons and is shooting 31.7% this year.
Although the Terps’ shooting was solid against UCLA and St. Peter’s – shooting a combined 37.5% from three – it was horrible on Thursday night.
Opponents averaged a 40.7% 3-point-percentage against UMBC heading into the game, yet Maryland still could not get anything to fall. The Terps started the game 0-for-10 and finished the first half 1-for-14.
Things were better in the second half, though, as Maryland finished the game 6-for-24 from beyond the arc.
Graduate student guard Don Carey was a bright spot in his second game off the bench, shooting 5-for-7 from three, a massive improvement from his game against St. Peter’s, in which he shot 1-for-6 from deep.
Senior guard Hakim Hart was the only other Terp to make a three, which accounted for three of his 16 points.
A 25% three-point-percentage and a win usually do not come in the same breath, so with conference play approaching, Maryland needs to find a solution before its opponents take advantage.
Hakim Hart and Jahmir Young kept the Terps on track.
Maryland was out of rhythm to begin the game and could not buy a bucket. After a swift 10-2 run by the Retrievers, the Terps suddenly found themselves down six with 12 minutes remaining in the first half.
Coming out of a timeout, Hart and graduate student guard Jahmir Young took over and gave Maryland the lead for good. Young started the 9-0 run with an and-one mid-range jumper, which was immediately followed by two buckets from Hart.
UMBC attempted to dismantle the run with a timeout, but Young weaved through defenders and laid the ball in to extend the Terps’ lead to four.
When it seemed like the Retrievers might break away, Hart and Young were there to stop them, continuing the impressive play that we’ve seen from the tandem all year.
Young finished the game with 18 points, seven rebounds and two assists, while Hart contributed with a nearly identical stat line of 16 points, six rebounds and two assists.
Young boosted his season averages to 14.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game after one of his most complete games as a Terp.
This is the second straight double-digit affair for Hart and Young, who combined for 34 points against St. Peter’s, and seem to be heating up at the right time.
The final score doesn’t tell the full story.
While the Terps escaped Thursday night’s game with a comfortable 16-point win, UMBC was within striking distance for much of the game.
After Maryland took a nine-point lead with five minutes left in the first half, the Retrievers crawled their way back into the game and closed the gap to just three points by the time halftime hit.
Then, when the Terps extended their lead to nine to begin the second half, UMBC yet again shrunk it to three in just two minutes.
Maryland gained its first double-digit lead of the game with eight minutes remaining and were finally able to close the door on UMBC for good.
Although the Terps ended nonconference play with a win, it was not as convincing as some may have hoped. Going into Thursday night, Maryland held a perfect 14-0 all-time record against the Retrievers with the closest margin of victory being nine points.
This game should have been a blowout from the get-go, yet the Terps allowed UMBC to hang around. Now, this could be chalked up to a strong 9-5 start for the Retrievers or a holiday-hangover for the Terps, but it’s most likely a little bit of both.
Nevertheless, Maryland needs to figure out its shooting struggles and clean up its turnover issues with Michigan and the rest of the Big Ten on the horizon.