Welcome back to the Testudo Times film room. Maryland is playing its best basketball at the perfect time with March is in the air. After a poor start against Big Ten opponents, the Terps has climbed its way back in the standings. They currently sit at .500 (9-9) in the Big Ten, with an overall record of 16-10, after winning five straight.
The most recent victory over Michigan State on Sunday was one of the more impressive on this streak. Maryland jumped out on an 11-0 run and led for all 40 minutes to secure a 18-point win. In the latest AP Poll, the Terps received nine votes for a Top 25 position for the first time since the third week of the season.
Maryland’s defense has been the engine for this team all season, particularly on this win streak. However, the offense has continued to improve each game, boosting Maryland’s ability to compete each night. With more movement on offense, Maryland has produced better shooting numbers. Against the Spartans, the Terps shot 50% from beyond the arc, just the third time this season Maryland has shot 50% or better.
Let’s get to the film to see how Maryland took care of a Michigan State team on the bubble.
Maryland used a strong start on both ends to secure a lead and never looked back
Maryland started the game 3-for-3 from three point range and held Michigan State scoreless for the first six minutes of the game. Let’s see how the team built an early lead with tenacity on both ends of the floor.
The Terps came out with fire to start the game. The strong effort started on the defensive end, but they excelled on offense throughout the contest as well. All game, when a Michigan State player caught the ball on the block or in the mid-post, Maryland doubled with the closest defender.
The team does that here on one of the first possessions of the game. Wiggins rotates over and intercepts the pass that the Spartan was forced to make out of a double team.
Here is another sound defensive possession from Maryland, particularly Hakim Hart, early on. Hart fights through the screen to get in front of his man and cut him off. When the ball goes to the wing, he jumps in the passing lane to get into a help position and cut off any sort of driving lane. When the ball is then passed back to the top of the key, he keeps his arms up and quickly recovers for a good contest late in the shot clock.
This is the second three of the game for Maryland and the first for Hart. The Terps are loading the left side of the floor. With the ball on the right side, Hart’s man is towards the paint in a help position. The ball is swung quickly from the right side to the top of the key to Hart on the left wing.
Morsell and Hart start next to each other on the wing, but Morsell walks his man down. Hart’s man falls asleep and when he tries to recover, Morsell is in his way, so the Spartan has a longer closeout. He doesn’t get there in time and Hart splashes it home.
This three ball by Wiggins capped off the 11-0 run to start the game for Maryland. It’s a quick hitter for Wiggins to come off of a double down screen to get an open look for three. Donta Scott and Hart do a solid job of putting their bodies on a man to create space for Wiggins. The junior guard then flares out to catch and knock down the shot.
Maryland’s offense was timely throughout the game
Maryland’s offense had timely runs throughout the game that allowed it to keep a distance from Michigan State and remain in control throughout. When the Spartans went on runs or cut the deficit to single digits, the Terps never panicked. They stayed composed on offense and got timely baskets to extend the lead.
Michigan State had cut its deficit to just seven here with another opportunity to score. This is monster help defense from Galin Smith, who comes over to reject the shot at the rim. The Terps then push it in transition for an easy Hart slam. This was a massive four point swing at a time where it felt like the game could get tight.
This was a huge three with five minutes to go in the second half that extended the Terps lead to 12. Scott is going to work in the mid-post while Hart relocates to the top of the key. Joshua Langford of Michigan State tries to swipe down on Scott. But the sophomore forward gets the ball out quickly and feeds Hart for a three.
Maryland did a good job playing inside-out all game. When Michigan State tried to double in the post, the Terps found shooters and hit shots from the outside.
This is another play where Scott is working in the post, gets doubled and kicks out to a shooter. The second Scott sees the Spartan defender turn his back to Ayala, he makes the pass.
Michigan State is on a 5-0 run here, but the Terps weather the storm with a Jairus Hamilton three ball. Ayala attacks to his left but doesn't get anywhere. Hamilton inches up from the corner to get in Ayala’s vision and create a passing angle for the guard to deliver him the ball. Ayala delivers a bullet right into Hamilton’s shooting pocket. The film cuts off, but Hamilton sinks the shot.
This is another timely bucket for the Terps. Maryland’s lead is down to five and the Terps are on a scoring drought. Hart catches, rips to his right and breaks shoulders with his defender to get downhill and finish at the rim.