Maryland men’s basketball blew past Alcorn State on Tuesday, 105-65. Six Terps scored in double figures as the team shot 52.7% from the field.
Here are some takeaways from the Terps’ emphatic victory.
Outside shooting opened up the offense
Maryland is no longer the second-worst 3-point shooting team in Division I.
The Terps had been glaringly unable to hit shots from distance prior to Tuesday’s game, but rattled home 14 makes on 30 attempts against the Braves. Seven Terps finished with a made three.
“I knew it was only a matter of time until we started shooting the ball better,” Maryland head coach Kevin Willard said.
DeShawn Harris-Smith went 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, while fellow freshman Jamie Kaiser Jr. went 3-of-7 from deep.
“It’s contagious, because everybody just has positive energy,” Harris-Smith said. “You see your teammate make one, it gives you positive energy to step into the next one knock it down.
Jahnathan Lamothe also hit two threes in a season-best 10-point performance.
Extending Alcorn State’s defense to the perimeter allowed the Terps to more easily feed the ball inside, too. Julian Reese and Jordan Geronimo took advantage to the tune of 13 combined made free throws and 27 points.
It’s an encouraging sign for Maryland to see open shots find their way into the hoop. Maryland assisted on 20 of its 30 field goals, playing a clean style of basketball that’s been rare this season.
If the Terps can continue to shoot the three well, the entire offense can have some much-needed flexibility going forward.
The Terps pulled away in a chippy second half
In the second half alone, all but two active Terps found nylon.
Caelum Swanton-Rodger threw down an alley-oop slam, Lamothe scored and walk-on Ben Murphy found the scoresheet. The Terps rattled off 58 points in the latter 20 minutes.
Young and Reese contributed 10 of Maryland’s first 18 second-half points to help balloon its lead to over 20, but the final 15 minutes saw a more varied rotation finish the game.
“I mean, as a team, we’ve been talking about trying to take the load off [Young] and [Reese],” Harris-Smith said. “Like. we got a lot of good guys that can put the ball in the hoop.”
Alcorn State’s frustrations also came out as the game waned on and its deficit grew, evidenced by three technical fouls — two of which led to the late ejection of its head coach — and sending Maryland to the free-throw line 26 times.
Willard dismissed the chippy play, saying, “If you look at their schedule they’ve played, I think this is their seventh high-major game. So we knew they weren’t going to back down to anybody, and they were playing hard and we were playing hard.”
Maryland gave up too many offensive rebounds
Maryland dominated Alcorn State in almost every statistical category except two: offensive rebounds and second-chance points.
The Terps have struggled to corral defensive rebounds all season long, but against a smaller lineup, losing the offensive boards battle, 14-11, is a tough pill to swallow. They had just three more second-chance points than the Braves.
In the first half, the Braves had seven offensive boards to Maryland’s four, with three coming in the opening minute.
Maryland conceded just four offensive rebounds in the second half, but was fortunate that Alcorn State couldn’t capitalize on its extra possessions.
“I just think sometimes you have to let your guys kind of get into the game a little bit. And I think they’re small, so I thought it took [Reese] a little time just to kind of adjust to their size,” Willard said.
The Terps currently rank No. 267 in Division I in offensive rebound defense, according to KenPom.com, allowing at least one on 32.7% of possessions.