Welcome back to the Testudo Times film room. Maryland men’s basketball moved to 4-3 in the Big Ten and 14-4 on the season with a 57-50 win over Purdue Saturday.
For the first time this season, the Terps came out of the gates firing. Maryland put together its best first half of the season and went to the break with a 16-point cushion. However, the team put together a sloppy second half performance that saw its lead go down to as little as three points down the stretch.
Jalen Smith had one of his best games of the season and looked aggressive on both ends of the floor throughout. Aaron Wiggins and Donta Scott both had really solid games, but they struggled to keep their offensive momentum going into the second half.
Let’s take a look at all of Smith’s contributions and the rest of the impact plays from the Terps’ win.
Jalen Smith was aggressive and dominant throughout
Smith got going early with his now signature pick-and-pop three-point move. On this play, his defender stayed to force a double team on Darryl Morsell, who kicked it out to the sophomore for the wide open look.
Smith finished the day 2-for-5 from downtown and kept his three-point percentage on the season at a shade below 40 percent percent. Through Big Ten play, however, Smith has posted a staggering 57.9 percent percent clip from downtown, which leads the team.
This was maybe the best play of the game for Smith and something he needs to keep doing as conference play progresses.
The sophomore made an incredible one-handed rebound, took a power dribble and finished it off with an easy layup. He ended the day with 10 rebounds and another double-double performance.
If the sequence above was not the play of the game for Smith, this was. Maryland looked completely stagnant and complacent on offense in the second half and here Smith bailed them out.
In the midst of a double team with the shot clock winding down, the Baltimore native tried to back down his defender, then dribbled out of the post and decided to fade away for the tough two points.
While this shot falling may have been a little bit lucky, it shows off the growth Smith has had on offense this year and throughout his time at Maryland. Big time players sometimes have to make plays when nothing is going right offensively for the team, and Smith did so in this instance.
Smith was not only a beast offensively, but he also got it done on defense. The big man recorded four blocks in this game and kept the paint under control throughout. On this play, Isaiah Thompson got past Morsell, but Smith was there to help and picked up the big block.
Smith is now averaging 2.2 blocks per game this season, which puts him third overall in the Big Ten.
Donta Scott had his best game of the season
Scott got things started for the Terps during their 9-0 run to start the first half. On this play, he got a nice feed from Anthony Cowan Jr. and utilized a few pump fakes to finish the and-one opportunity.
As the season continues, Scott needs to continue to utilize his strength down low and create more opportunities like this.
This sequence from Scott was undoubtedly one of his best of the season. The freshman made a massive block on the defensive end after getting beat a bit by his man. He then got out in transition, filled his lane correctly and was able to convert the triple when Cowan kicked it out to him.
Scott finished the game with a career-high 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field and a 2-of-4 clip from three-point range. For the freshman, the key now will be consistently putting together performances like the one he had against Purdue.
Other standout plays
Wiggins was sensational in the first half of this game, though he slowed down a bit in the second half. On this play, Wiggins utilized multiple screens to free himself up from his defender and get a wide open look in the corner.
The sophomore finished the game with 12 points on 4-for-9 shooting from the field and 2-for-6 shooting from deep.
While Wiggins may be struggling this season shooting the ball, he has made a name for himself when it comes to highlight dunks. On this play, Maryland ran its normal motion look around the perimeter and Wiggins was able to blow by his man with a beautifully executed spin move finished off with the ferocious slam.
Wiggins’ quickness and athleticism gives him such an advantage when driving to the rim, as shown on this play. He needs to do a better job of consistently trying to get looks around the basket like he did here.
Cowan was off from the field from the start and never regained his shooting touch during this game. However, the senior leader was able to adjust and had a stellar game in terms of facilitating and getting assists.
On this play, he showed off his elite driving ability and was able to make a sensational feed to Smith, who converted the layup. Cowan finished the game tying a season high with seven assists. His passes were instrumental in helping Smith, Scott, Wiggins and the rest of the offense have success in this game.
Maryland looked pretty brutal on offense in the second half, in particular down the stretch. During the last four or so minutes of the game, the Terps had multiple sequences offensively where they kind of just stood around for 20-25 seconds in an effort to drain the clock and ended up getting a bad look.
This play was a great example of this stagnation at the end of the game, and the Terps have to be better with this as the season goes on. This was simply just Cowan dribbling for 25 seconds and then dishing it to Morsell, who was not able to finish his drive and ended up giving it back to Purdue on a jump ball.
The Terps need to get better at finding ways to run the clock down at the end of games, while also getting into some sort of set that will allow them to get a good look.