Maryland men’s basketball traveled Friday to Los Angeles to take on future Big Ten foe UCLA and nearly forfeited a 20-point advantage, but ultimately escaped with a 69-60 win over the Bruins.
Here are three takeaways from the game.
Jahmir Young had a career day
Maryland’s star guard Jahmir Young played perhaps the best game of his career against the Bruins. He scored 23 points in the first half — the most he’s scored in a half in his career —and finished the game with a career-high 37 points. He also tacked on seven rebounds and three assists.
“Even though he’s small, don’t take him as a joke,” forward Donta Scott said. “He’s a very capable scoring guard and he’s someone to be feared on the court.”
When UCLA came to College Park a year ago, Young tallied just three points in 24 minutes on 0-for-8 shooting.
He began Friday’s game by scoring the Terps’ first eight points, and when Maryland’s lead diminished to two in the second half, it was Young who got to his spot and hit two clutch mid-range jump shots to preserve the advantage.
Young was also extremely efficient, shooting 13-of-19 from the field, 4-of-6 from three and 7-of-9 from the free-throw line.
In what many considered a prove-it game, Young showed up in historic fashion.
Maryland’s first road win of the season
The Terps’ struggles away from XFINITY Center are well-documented, but they played some of their best basketball on the road under head coach Kevin Willard on Friday.
Last season, Maryland was 2-9 on the road — 1-8 against conference opponents. Those two wins came against Louisville and Minnesota, who rated as two of the worst power conference teams in the nation.
The Terps were 0-4 away from home this season headed into Friday’s game, including two blowouts against Villanova and Indiana. All signs pointed toward a Maryland loss.
Yet, the Terps dominated early. They trailed for less than a minute throughout the entire game and obtained a 15-point lead heading into halftime.
Maryland narrowly escaped the final 10 minutes, but got a much-needed win nonetheless.
Maryland’s offensive struggles reappeared in the second half
Just when it seemed like Maryland was going to run away with a signature blowout win over the Bruins, its offense stalled.
The Terps led by 20 points with just over 17 minutes remaining. Fast-forward 12 minutes, and their lead was cut to two. A similar story of a tragic road defeat seemed to be unfolding.
Over that 12-minute span, Maryland was outscored 27-9 and made one of its 15 field goal attempts. Even Young seemed to have run out of juice after facing constant double-teams, and Julian Reese, Maryland’s second leading scorer on the season, provided little help. He scored just one point and fouled out with more than five minutes remaining.
However, Young’s heroics bailed the Terps out, as he discovered a second wind and scored 12 of Maryland’s final 19 points.
“Even though we go through tough times, we’re always going to fight back,” Scott said. “When we go down, it’s never over.”
A win is a win, but Young cannot always will the Terps to victory. The lack of fluidity and creativity within the offense is an issue Willard needs to address.