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Maryland men’s basketball vs. South Alabama preview

The Terps look for their second consecutive win.

Maryland v Villanova Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

After losing three consecutive games, Maryland men’s basketball picked up its second win of the season against UMBC on Tuesday. Following a relatively competitive opening 10 minutes, the Terps dominated en route to a 92-68 victory.

The Terps will next host South Alabama on Saturday, in what projects to be another convincing win. The game will start at 7 p.m. and air on Big Ten Network.

South Alabama Jaguars (4-3, 0-0 Sun Belt)

2022-23 record: 19-16, 9-9 Sun Belt

In five seasons at South Alabama, head coach Richie Riley has yet to win fewer than 17 games in a single campaign. Last season, Riley led the Jaguars to a 19-16 record, which included 11 wins in their final 14 games. South Alabama made it to the Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship game for the first time since 2009, but lost to Louisiana, 71-66.

The Jaguars are currently on a three-game winning streak, with all three wins coming at home.

Players to know

Isiah Gaiter, senior guard, 6-foot-3, No. 2 — Gaiter transferred from Assumption, a Division II program, before the season and has since been the Jaguars’ offensive focal point. He is averaging a team-high 16.4 points on 58.6% shooting from the field. Gaiter is also averaging 4.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.1 steals per game.

Marcus Millender, freshman guard, 5-foot-11, No. 4 — While Gaiter scores the most points on the team, Millender facilitates the offense. He leads the Jaguars with 4.7 assists per game, also contributing 10.9 points of his own per game. He has been an elite 3-point shooter this season, making 46.7% of his threes.

Julian Margrave, sophomore forward, 6-foot-10, No. 12 — Margrave is the Jaguars’ second leading scorer, averaging 12.3 points per game. His biggest impact comes with his ability to space the floor, as he is shooting 50% from beyond the arc.

Strength

Depth. South Alabama has started seven different players this season, five of which average double-digit points. It also has three other players who average at least five points per game. In comparison, Maryland only has two double-digit scorers: Jahmir Young and Julian Reese.

Weakness

Rebounding. The Jaguars rank near the middle of the Sun Belt in almost every statistical category except rebounding. They rank second-to-last with 33.6 rebounds per game and last with 7.1 offensive rebounds per game. Forward Thomas Howell leads the team with 5.9 rebounds per game.

Three things to watch

1. Another weak opponent. For the second consecutive game, Maryland should win handily. While the Terps will be playing South Alabama for the first time in program history, the Jaguars have a 1-11 all-time record against Big Ten teams.

2. Donta Scott is in rhythm. After a difficult first two games, Donta Scott has since been Maryland’s third best player. Over the last three games, Scott is averaging 11.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game while shooting 42.9% from three. He scored a season-high 14 points against UMBC.

3. Defense causing chaos. The Terps displayed their full-court press against UMBC and benefited greatly. Maryland forced a season-high 23 turnovers, which directly resulted in 24 points.

“We need to press a little bit more aggressively to create some easy buckets,” Willard said following Tuesday’s game. “When you get a couple easy buckets early, it just gives you a little bit more confidence and you’re able to wear them down a little bit.”