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Maryland basketball vs. Oklahoma St. preview: Terps look to rebound from 1st loss

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The Cowboys are the last obstacle in a tough stretch of games for the Terps.

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Oklahoma State Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland basketball is coming off its first loss of the season to a talented Pittsburgh team to face another challenge in Oklahoma State during what is easily the most difficult part of the Terrapins’ non-conference schedule.

The Cowboys are 6-1, having crushed the Georgetown team that Maryland struggled with by 27 points. But a night prior to its big win, Oklahoma State was blown out itself, 107-75, by a national championship contender North Carolina team.

Oklahoma State will be another tough test for the young Terps, who won’t see another resume-building opportunity until Big Ten play starts. To win they’ll need to snap out of the shooting funk that sent them scrambling for last-second wins against weaker opponents.

Maryland stays at home for this one at Xfinity Center, as the Terps traveled to Stillwater two seasons ago, winning 73-64, behind 21 points and 11 rebounds from now-Portland Trail Blazer Jake Layman. Melo Trimble had 15 points, four assists and four rebounds.

This game will tip at 9 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.

Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-1)

2015-16 record: 12-20

Head coach: Brad Underwood is in his first year as the Cowboys’ head coach. Underwood came to Oklahoma State after three years as head coach at Stephen F. Austin.

KenPom ranking: 49 (Maryland is 64)

Players to watch

Juwan Evans PG, sophomore, 6’1/185, No. 1. Evans is Oklahoma State’s leader in points with 25 per game, assists at 5 and also turns the ball over just twice per game. His field goal attempts have doubled from a season ago and he’s seen an increase in production across the board. Even North Carolina couldn’t contain him in what was still a blowout win for the Tar Heels. He scored 30 points on 52 percent shooting.

Jeffrey Carroll G/F, redshirt junior, 6’6/215, No. 30. Carroll is the team’s second-leading scorer at 16 per game and leading rebounder at nearly 8. His game stretches to the three-point line, where he’s hit 9-of-18 shots, and he’s shooting an extremely efficient 61 percent overall.

Phil Forte G, senior, 5’11/195, No. 13. Forte is back in Stillwater after redshirting last season with an elbow injury. The guard is the 22nd-leading scorer in Cowboys history, and is averaging 15 points per game on 37 percent three-point shooting.

Strengths

Shooting. Oklahoma State has shot the ball extremely well through seven games. It ranks 40th in the nation in effective field goal percentage at 54.8 percent. The Cowboys are shooting 38.3 percent from three-point range and 53.4 percent inside the arc. The team’s three leading scorers are shooting 37 percent or better from three.

Steals. Led by Evans, who averages three per game, Oklahoma State has the fourth highest steal rate in the country. Five other Cowboys average one or more per game.

Weaknesses

Defending the three-point arc. This may be good news for the Terps, who shot ice cold in the month of November. Their opposition is allowing 44 percent of shots from deep find the net.

Keeping teams off the foul line. More good news or Maryland, Oklahoma State sends teams to the line at the 11th-worst rate in the country. This could be a game Melo Trimble finds his way back to the stripe often in.