On Saturday, No. 7 Maryland men's basketball was back in action at the Xfinity Center where it completed a 80-50 victory over Oakland — that included 12 second-half points from guard Darryl Morsell.
Here are the biggest takeaways from the Terps’ noon game against the Golden Grizzlies.
1. The Terps used a full-court trap
Coming out of the under-16 timeout in the second half, Maryland held a 44-28 lead. Oakland inbounded the ball to guard Kevin Kangu, who looked to bring it up the court.
He was met immediately by Anthony Cowan Jr., and freshman Donta Scott quickly closed in. Kangu passed it off to Blake Lampman, who was pressured by Eric Ayala. The Golden Grizzlies never made it past half court, resulting in a 10-second violation and a turnover.
The Terps didn’t run a full-court trap in their first two games, and it wasn’t even a part of their arsenal. Mark Turgeon didn’t install it until this Friday, just 24 hours before first tip.
“We literally just put [the trap] in yesterday,” sophomore wing Aaron Wiggins said. “And we walked through it. [Turgeon] wasn’t planning on using it today, but he trusted us and he knew that we were capable of bringing it out and being able to make a difference.”
Turgeon tinkered with different defensive sets all afternoon, throwing multiple looks at the Golden Grizzlies to throw them off balance. It certainly worked, as Oakland shot just 36.5 percent from the floor and 28.6 percent from beyond the arc.
Maryland also forced a season-high 19 turnovers, thanks in large part to Jalen Smith and Wiggins, who had three steals apiece.
2. Maryland’s offense shot well
The Terps didn’t have as many shot attempts as they would have liked in the first half — Maryland had nine turnovers in the first 20 minutes — and Oakland played at a slow pace throughout the afternoon.
But when Maryland did have shot opportunities, it made the most of them. The Terps shot 52.6 percent from the field on Saturday, their highest mark of the season. In fact, Maryland hasn’t shot that well since Jan. 18, 2019, when it hit 58.1 percent of its shots in a 75-61 win over Ohio State in Columbus.
Morsell led the way for the Terps with 14 points, and he did it on a stellar 6-of-8 shooting performance. Morsell’s not one to take many shots, so when he’s putting them up, he knows it’s a high-percentage look and he can make defenses pay, often on a fastbreak.
“Just naturally, me being an an athlete, I knew that I would have to make plays when I could,” Morsell said. “I wasn’t trying to force anything. We got a lot of talented guys, I trust my teammates. So when I see an opportunity to make a play, I’m going to try to make it.”
Smith went 4-of-7 from the field, converting inside on a few putback layups and an alley-oop dunk on a feed from Cowan.
The Terps still left something to be desired beyond the arc for the third straight game, going 8-of-26 from deep. Cowan was efficient in hitting two of his four attempts, but guards Ayala, Serrel Smith Jr. and Wiggins went a combined 2-of-13. They weren’t poor choices, as the trio missed a number of open looks.
“We’re missing a lot of wide-open shots, but we made a few,” Turgeon said. “We made over 3,000 threes since the Rhode Island game in practice, so we’re going to start making more.”
3. The Terps emptied the bench
For a college basketball team with a 16-man roster but a rotation of only eight or nine guys, a lot of athletes who put in a ton of time and effort over the course of the season don’t get many chances to see live-game action.
At Maryland, these players make up the “South Pole,” or the far end of the bench. In recent years, Andrew Terrell led the charge, but he graduated this past May. The end of the bench now consists of Travis Valmon, Reese Mona, Will Clark and Joshua Tomaic, who are trying to fill the void left by Terrell (now the host of Tilted Bench, part of the Testudo Times Podcast Network).
Against Oakland, Maryland was winning by 30 points with seven minutes remaining, which allowed Turgeon to bring on the reserves. The quartet — playing along with freshman guard Hakim Hart — played very well, going 4-of-6 from the field and 1-of-2 from deep.
That included a 2-of-2 showing from fan-favorite guard Reese Mona, who is now in his third season with the program. He checked in with 5:24 to go in the game, and the crowd erupted when his shots dropped.