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Maryland men’s basketball ends nonconference play with 75-53 thrashing of Coppin State

The Terps enter Big Ten play on a winning note.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.

With star guard Jahmir Young sidelined with an illness, Maryland men’s basketball relied on Julian Reese to cruise past Coppin State, 75-53, in its final nonconference game of the regular season.

As the offense’s primary focal point Thursday, Reese helped establish the tone early and often against the Eagles. After Coppin State obtained a 4-0 lead, Reese scored eight points in the ensuing five minutes to help Maryland gain a lead it would not relinquish.

He finished the game with 18 points on 9-of-13 shooting, 10 rebounds and three blocks. And he racked in plenty of highlight-reel worthy plays, too. From alley-oops to spiking guard Ryan Archey’s floater attempt straight to the hardwood, Reese had his way.

Maryland was simply bigger, longer and more athletic, and relentlessly exploited that.

The Terps finished the game with a +10 rebounding differential, which included 15 offensive rebounds, resulting in 17 second chance points. They also scored 40 points in the paint, as there was no reason to seek shots from anywhere else.

Even backup center Caelum Swanton-Rodger, who fouled out in three minutes against UCLA, seemed to be too tall at times, scoring a career-high nine points.

“I think he struggled early, but I think he’s been practicing great,” Maryland head coach Kevin Willard said of Swanton-Rodger. “He’s starting to get his rhythm back and he’s progressing the way I hoped he would.”

Jahari Long started in place of Young and replicated his production about as well as anyone could. He followed right behind Reese with a career-high 15 points, shooting 6-of-8 from the field and 2-of-3 from three, while also tallying four assists and three rebounds.

“I have a lot of confidence in Jahari. It was a good opportunity for him to kind of step in and see what he can do and take advantage of the opportunity,” Willard said. “He was ready for it.”

Along with Long, DeShawn Harris-Smith was the Terps’ primary ball handler. He was not efficient shooting the ball, but thrived in his role nonetheless, dishing out five assists and corralling six rebounds. His clear physical advantage also forced the Eagles to foul, as Harris-Smith scored three of his eight points from the line.

“Knowing Jahmir was out, I knew I was going to have to take more of a point-guard role,” Harris-Smith said. “I work on it every single day, so I was definitely ready coming in and handling the ball”

It was a two-sided effort from the Terps, though, as they suffocated Coppin State’s offense. The Eagles, who now sit at 1-13 on the season, shot just 36.4% from the field and turned the ball over 14 times. Maryland also recorded six blocks.

With a 20-point lead by halftime, Maryland coasted through the second half, which allowed Reese to get some much-earned rest.

Three things to know

1. Reese dominated Coppin State again. Thursday’s game marked one of Reese’s best performances of the season, resembling his dominance over Coppin State last season. In last year’s meeting, Reese posted 24 points on 10-of-12 shooting and 10 rebounds in 25 minutes.

2. Maryland’s home-game winning streak continues. Maryland’s win over Coppin State marked its 19th straight victory at home, the third longest active streak in Division I. This run will be heavily tested next week, though, when the Terps welcome No. 1 Purdue to XFINITY Center.

3. Winston showed up for Coppin State. Willard emphasized the need to limit Coppin State’s Justin Winston prior to Thursday’s contest, which proved to be a valid concern. Winston scored a game-high 19 points on 8-of-19 shooting.