Maryland men’s basketball remained perfect at home this season with a 105-65 win over Alcorn State on Tuesday night. The win marked the Terps’ 17th straight home win and the first time they beat a Division 1 opponent by 40 points since 2017.
While it was an expected and relatively uncompetitive win for Maryland (6-4), it displayed what most fans have been begging for: 3-point efficiency. The Terps shot a season-high 46.7% from beyond the arc, a major improvement from its season average of 22.4% entering the night.
“Being at home, we’ve been able to get in a rhythm, we’ve been able to put a lot of work in and we’ve been able to have some time off,” Maryland head coach Kevin Willard said. “I knew it was only a matter of time until we start shooting the ball better.”
Jamie Kaiser Jr. led the way, shooting 3-of-7 from three and finishing the game with 12 points and five rebounds.
Fellow freshman DeShawn Harris-Smith struggled on the offensive end in the first half, but his athleticism and effort caused chaos on defense. He accidentally dove into Willard on one of his three first-half steals, and Willard coached the rest of the game primarily on the bench or leaning on the scorer’s table.
Harris-Smith found success on offense in the second half, though, nailing three of his four 3-point attempts. He was 2-of-22 from deep prior to the game.
“Me and coach Willard [have] been working out [at] 8:30 every morning,” Harris-Smith said. “He’s been helping me work on my shot. So, he told me, ‘We not gonna work out for you not to shoot in the game.’”
Jahari Long and Noah Batchelor also contributed to the Terps’ 3-point shooting prowess, making four of their combined six attempts.
With Alcorn State (1-9) having just one player above 6-foot-8, the Terps imposed their physical advantages early. They scored 18 of their 47 first-half points in the paint and shot 11-of-14 from the line.
Jordan Geronimo scored six of Maryland’s first eight points, with his only miss coming from beyond the arc; He’s shooting 7.1% from three this season. Geronimo finished the game with 12 points and two blocks.
Maryland’s two stars, Julian Reese and Jahmir Young, yet again led the team in scoring, with 15 and 13 points, respectively. Reese also contributed seven rebounds, while Young added seven assists.
With time winding down and the result sealed, Willard subbed in walk-on Ben Murphy, who celebrated his birthday Tuesday. And after relentless chanting from the crowd, Lukas Sotell also found his way onto the court with 1:11 remaining. Murphy made both of his free-throw attempts after Alcorn State head coach Landon Bussie received his second technical foul and was ejected with 23.9 seconds left.
Three things to know
1. Kaiser found his stroke. Over the last two games, Kaiser has been Maryland’s most productive 3-point shooter, making 5 of his 14 attempts. He is providing much-needed spacing for the Terps, who have just one player — Young — shooting above 30% from three this season.
2. Maryland’s bench stepped up. Along with Kaiser, Long, Batchelor, Jahnathan Lamothe and Caelum Swanton-Rodger all contributed off the bench. Maryland scored a season-high 46 bench points — with the previous season-high being 29 points — while Long added four rebounds, four assists and three steals.
“I’m beating the dead horse by saying the schedule was absolutely horrific, and that’s my fault,” Willard said. “If this was the second or third game of the season, I think this is what we would have been seeing all along from the young guys [and] from the guys coming off the bench.”
3. The Terps took care of the ball. Maryland logged only eight turnovers Tuesday, its second-lowest total of the season, and took advantage of the Braves’ mistakes, scoring 33 points off their 20 turnovers.