With time running out and Maryland men’s basketball clinging to a four-point lead, freshman Jalen Smith saved his best play for last.
With 57 seconds left, Delaware’s Kevin Anderson crossed over Anthony Cowan Jr. and charged to the basket for a layup. The ball never got to the rim. Smith swatted the ball away instantly, and Cowan corralled the rebound and hit two free throws to seal a 73-67 victory. Smith finished the night with 19 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks, becoming the first player to have a double-double in his Maryland debut this century.
“Jalen’s a good player,” head coach Mark Turgeon said. “Got a lot of things around the rim because of Eric Ayala. I thought defensively he did a good job on that, used his length on (Eric) Carter there. And he rebounded well.”
While the McDonald’s All-American started off the game in the frountcourt alongside sophomore Bruno Fernando, his role had to change as Fernando got into foul trouble. Smith, who bulked up 20 pounds over the summer to his playing weight of 215, had to slide down to the five and be Maryland’s sole rim protector for the rest of the game.
“I knew since I was the only big in the game, I had to be the enforcer on the defensive end,” Smith said.
Although Smith was the No. 16 player in the class of 2018 and the second-highest rated incoming freshman in the Big Ten behind Indiana’s Romeo Langford, he’s been flying somewhat under the radar. He didn’t receive a single vote for preseason Big Ten Freshman of the Year, and hasn’t been hyped up like many of the freshman ranked above him. With more games like this, that could change.
“By being with him everyday at and seeing him doing those things over and over, I expected him to do it in the game,” Fernando said. “I’m not surprised by anything he did.”
In other news
Three-star wide receiver Dino Tomlin, who is Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin’s son, committed to Maryland football yesterday.
Here’s what interim head coach Matt Canada had to say as the current Maryland football team takes on Indiana this weekend.
Canada is hoping this is just a normal week after everything that’s happened, writes The Baltimore Sun’s Don Markus.
Yesterday was Election Day, and several Terps took part.