Maryland men’s basketball somewhat officially kicked off its 2017-18 campaign Thursday with an 88-44 exhibition win over Randolph-Macon.
Freshman Darryl Morsell was the welcomed surprise of the scrimmage, though it was a balanced scoring output from coach Mark Turgeon’s squad that led to the win. Maryland finished the game with four players scoring in double-digits. Anthony Cowan led the Terps with 17 points, shooting 6-of-9 from the field and 2-of-4 from beyond the arc.
Maryland started the evening with a somewhat sloppy possession, before Kevin Huerter bailed the team out with a three pointer for the Terps’ first points of the game. While not necessarily an omen for the season, it did set the tone for the first half.
Due to the players’ schedules, Turgeon wasn’t able to run practices over the summer, so there was some clear rust to be shaken off. In Maryland’s first game without Melo Trimble in three years, there was a tendency to make one pass too many early on, but once Maryland settled in, it was over for the Yellow Jackets.
As Maryland approached the four-minute mark in the first half, Randolph-Macon had been able to stay relatively in it. However, after the Terps called a timeout leading 30-21, they turned on the afterburners and put their Division III opponent out of reach.
The Terps employed a full-court press to end the half on a 17-2 run, punctuated a by a Morsell 360 slam that brought his first-half total to a game-high 10 points. The Terps took a 47-23 lead into halftime.
DON'T HURT EM, DARRYL pic.twitter.com/5uDTdCZXZr— Jared Goldstein (@_jgoldy17) November 2, 2017
After that, there wasn’t much fight out of the Yellow Jackets following the break. Maryland kept up the full-court press until the walk-ons came in with about five minutes left, signaling Maryland taking its foot off the gas.
The Terps are officially in action for the first time Nov. 10 against Stony Brook on the road.
Darryl Morsell stole the show, then scared us.
The 360 dunk was just the cherry on top of a showstopping first half from Morsell. While much of the preseason hype surrounded fellow freshman Bruno Fernando, Morsell proved that he shouldn’t be overlooked. He finished as Maryland’s second-leading scorer behind Cowan with 14 points and looks ready for the college game. Turgeon has raved about his toughness and versatility, and both were well on display next to his athleticism. He went down with about nine minutes left in the scrimmage, but returned just two minutes later.
The sophomores are all right.
While Morsell was a bright spot, the Terps trio of returners will still power Maryland’s offense. Cowan finished as the leading scorer with 17 points and added three assists, while Huerter had a well-rounded game with 11 points, seven rebounds and another three assists. Jackson added 10 points of his own to go with six rebounds, three more assists, three steals and two blocks. His 7’3 wingspan was everywhere Thursday night, and the sophomores are starting the season off strong.
The Terps have some lengthy lineups.
After lacking in rebounding last season with just three active players over 6’9, Maryland now has the ability to play lineups where the 6’4 Morsell is the smallest player on the court. Their newfound length was evident against the Yellow Jackets. Ivan Bender led the way with nine rebounds, while Sean Obi had eight off the bench. Jackson and redshirt freshman Joshua Tomaic had some eye-opening moments on both sides of the ball, as well.