Welcome back to the Testudo Times film room. Maryland men's basketball, now ranked No. 15 in the country, ended a rough two game losing streak as it took down Bryant, 84-70, on Sunday.
The Terps looked decent throughout this game, making some nice plays at times, but committed far too many turnovers, especially against an inferior opponent like Bryant.
However, the story of the game was the debut of highly touted freshman Chol Marial. The 7’2 center’s debut came at the best possible time following the departure of the Mitchell twins, and he did not disappoint in his 14 minutes of action.
Let’s take a look at all of Marial’s contributions and the rest of the impact plays from the Terps win.
Chol Marial made the most of his minutes
Marial entered the game with much fanfare and made his presence felt immediately. It was easy to tell from the moment he entered the game that even if he was not going to be making too many plays in this game, his sheer size would be enough to distract defenders a bit and help the offense at the very least.
However, the freshman did a lot more than that. He was very strong on the glass as shown on this play. The Terps ran a simple high screen and roll, and Eric Ayala got a good look with the defenders worried about a potential pass to Marial. Ayala missed the good look, but Marial was there to clean it up easily and get his first two points in a Maryland uniform.
Putback dunks like this should be Marial’s bread and butter all season long, especially against smaller teams.
Marial showed his vision on this play that led to a a bucket via a goaltending call for Donta Scott. Maryland ran a textbook high-low post play and Scott was able to take advantage of great inside positioning on a smaller defender to get the bucket.
In addition to a strong performance from Marial, Scott also had maybe his best game as a Terp. He scored nine points and grabbed an impressive seven offensive rebounds.
On this play, Marial made his presence felt on the defensive end. He slides over at the perfect time and makes a great block. His timing looked a bit off defensively to start this game, with multiple Bryant players driving and scoring around the rim against Marial, but with this block, he seemed to have gotten his timing down a lot better.
Darryl Morsell had a pretty quiet showing but this play was one of the best from the entire game from Maryland. Morsell drove to the hoop, executed a perfect spin move and dished it off to Marial for the easy slam.
Marial finished the game with six points (3-for-4 shooting), five rebounds, one assist and one block in 14 minutes of action. If he can keep up this production, even in limited minutes, Marial’s presence will be huge for the Terps as they enter the full swing of conference play.
Turnovers plagued the Terps once again
On this play early in the game, Wiggins does a good job of penetrating the Bryant defense, but his efforts went to waste as he threw the ball away after the great drive. It is unclear what exactly he was trying to do on this play, but it looks like he was trying to dump it off to Smith for what would have been an easy layup.
Maryland once again came out slow to start this game and this play, had it been converted, would have helped the Terps get out from under the slow starts. Maryland had 16 turnovers in this game, a number that is far too high against a team like Bryant.
While Smith was very aggressive on offense for a lot of this game, this play was not his finest moment. He got the ball in the low post and immediately backed out once the trap came. He had many opportunities here to kick it over to open teammates, but waited too long, resulting in the change of possession.
Smith’s offensive play and aggressiveness in the paint are going to be crucial to Maryland’s success as conference play now picks up. He showed a lot of positives during this game, but needs to avoid plays like this in the future.
Other Standout Plays
After two rough performances against Penn State and Seton Hall, Jalen Smith looked a lot more like himself against Bryant. He was much more aggressive in looking for his shot and made some really strong moves around the basket.
On this play, the sophomore brought the ball up in transition and kicked it to Ayala, who swung it to Morsell, who then found a wide open Smith cutting to the basket. What was impressive about this play was Smith’s ability to switch hands in midair to make the layup. Had he not made this split second maneuver, he likely would not have converted the shot.
On this play, Maryland went back to a set that has done them very well throughout this season. Anthony Cowan Jr. cut in from the corner and then dished it to Smith for the poster slam. Usually on this set, it is Morsell in the corner, but on this play it worked perfectly with Cowan, who was able to draw Smith’s defender over and create the easy bucket.
Smith finished this game with another double double, posting 11 points and 10 rebounds to go along with two blocks.
Aaron Wiggins had a solid game for the Terps and seemed a lot more confident in his shot than he has in recent games. On this play, the Terps had a successful answer for the 2-3 zone that Bryant was set up in. Scott set a high screen, which led to a wide open look for Wiggins, who converted the bucket.
The sophomore has struggled all year long from behind the arc — shooting 30.6 percent —but he was 2-for-4 from deep in this one, which is an encouraging sign that maybe he is about to turn a corner and return to his freshman form.
Cowan led the team in scoring once again in this game with 19 points, and he again proved that he is one of the best finishers in college basketball on this play.
Maryland ran its usually movement on offense and faked a screen from Smith, which allowed Cowan to get a slight boost as he drove to the hoop. He finished the layup in traffic and was able to draw the foul and add another point at the line.
Ayala was quiet throughout most of afternoon, but he had a few spurts in which he looked like the best player on the floor, and this was one of them. Ayala brought the ball up with a full head of steam and would not be denied. Once he got into the lane, Ayala put his defender into the spin cycle and was able to create enough separation to convert the easy layup.
The sophomore guard finished the game eight points in a surprisingly low 22 minutes of action.