On a day where Maryland football dominated the news cycle, the men’s basketball team quietly took care of business in a 100-67 exhibition win over Lynn University.
The contest went fairly according to script, as Maryland shot 60 percent from the field and won the rebound battle 40-32 en route to a runaway victory over its Division II opponent.
Five-star freshman big man Jalen Smith put on a show and led the way for Maryland. He’d finish with 22 points and six rebounds, as five Terps finished in double-figures. Anthony Cowan Jr., Aaron Wiggins and Bruno Fernando each added 13 points, as Fernando completed a double-double with 11 rebounds as well. Darryl Morsell rounded out the double-digit scorers with 12 points.
As expected, Maryland got off to an early lead and never looked back. As is the nature of these types of exhibitions. The Terps were up 10-4 at the under-16, 26-13 at the under-12, and led by as much as 20 before ending the first half up 54-39. The Terps shot 59 percent in the half and came up with six steals.
Maryland then started the second half on a 10-0 run and coasted the rest of the way. There were promising performances from returners Cowan, Fernando and Morsell, who didn’t necessarily dazzle but did just enough to show they’re ready for the season.
Maryland has legitimate three-point threats.
After losing its best shooter, Kevin Huerter, to the draft, it would be fair to worry about Maryland’s three-point shooting. The Terps seem to be doing fine in that department, as six different players hit a triple in the contest, including two each from Morsell, Wiggins and Smith.
After hitting just three three-pointers the entirety of last season, working on shooting was always going to be a priority for Morsell. Over the summer, he hit four in a half during the Terps’ Italy trip, and the two more Tuesday night, including the first of the game for Maryland, feel like assurance that his shot has improved. Morsell accounted for two of the three made triples in the half for Maryland, with Eric Ayala burying the other one, as the Terps went 3-of-8 from deep in the first period.
Maryland would then open the second half with two straight threes, first from Aaron Wiggins, followed by a walkup deadeye from Cowan to key the 10-0 run. Bruno Fernando hit one a couple plays later, and Smith added two more in short succession before the under-8 timeout. Wiggins would hit one more later, and the team would finish shooting 9-of-20 from deep. There’s room to grow, but cause for optimism.
Jalen Smith showed glimpses of being a special offensive talent.
As a five-star recruit, it was known Smith was an extremely talented player. He was the star of the show Tuesday night, scoring from all three levels and displaying a potent offensive game.
Smith put together a couple glimpses of what he offered late in the first half, finishing two and-ones, the latter with a fast-break slam, and swishing a Dirk Nowitzki-esque one-legged fadeaway. He nearly added a triple on the ensuing possession, but it rimmed out. “Sticks” led the Terps in scoring at the half with 12 points. and Cowan joined him in double-digit scoring with 10 points of his own.
Smith also scored twice during the aforementioned 10-0 run, before rifling in two triples in the half as well. There were also shimmers of a burgeoning two-man game with Fernando, but not much in that department. Smith got pushed around a little early, but found his footing as the game went on. He still faces a learning curve as the players get bigger, but, especially early in the season, his length gives him a little leeway.
Maryland officially starts its season next Tuesday, Nov. 6 against Delaware, back at the Xfinity Center.