Welcome back to the Testudo Times film room. Led by sensational play from Anthony Cowan Jr. and Jalen Smith, No. 15 Maryland men’s basketball took down No. 18 Iowa, 82-72, Thursday night.
Having lost to the Hawkeyes at the beginning of January in blowout fashion on the road, this game was of the upmost importance for the Terps to solidify themselves towards the top of the Big Ten standings.
Maryland overcame tough shooting from — only going 7-for-25 from deep — by playing strong defense, getting to the line often and converting easy looks around the rim.
Let’s take a look at all the impact plays that led to the Terps’ big home win.
The play of the game
While the story of this game might have been how well Cowan and Smith played, Darryl Morsell also turned in a solid performance and made one of the best plays of the night. On this play, the junior guard took advantage of the five-on-four advantage that the Terps had in transition, drove to the hoop and was able to find Aaron Wiggins for the no look assist.
Morsell did a great job of throwing off the defense with the no look pass. Also on this play, Wiggins did a great job of rotating and finding the hole in the defense to convert the layup plus the foul.
Anthony Cowan Jr. did it all offensively
While the most noteworthy part of Cowan’s night was his career high 31 points, he also got it done passing the ball, dishing out six assists. Iowa threw a 2-3 zone at the Terps all night long and this play was a great example of how they beat it.
Cowan swung around and had an open look for a corner three, but decided to make a smarter play by feeding a cutting Morsell, who snuck behind Luka Garza in the middle of the zone. Garza came to help on Cowan’s drive, which left Morsell wide open to finish the easy look.
The key to beating a 2-3 zone is finding the holes, and Maryland did a great job of it on this play and throughout the game.
On this play, Iowa threw a 2-2-1 full court press at the Terps. Morsell was able to break the trap and find Cowan for a wide open look for three.
Cowan slid up from the corner on this play to make the pass easier on Morsell and find the open spot in the zone, which led to the easy look.
Cowan’s finishing ability in this game was phenomenal. On this play, he got the ball in transition and lost his handle, but was able to recover and convert the layup.
The Terps had a 3-on-1 on this play and Cowan could have easily dished it to Morsell or Smith, but the senior leader had the confidence to finish and make up for his blunder a few seconds before.
One of the advantages of playing against a 2-3 zone is the mismatches it creates for players on offense. This advantage was clearly shown on this play as Cowan took advantage of multiple Iowa big men on his way to the rim.
Cowan got the ball in the corner, easily blew by Ryan Kreiner and then went around Garza at the rim to convert the layup. He could have dished it right to Smith for an easy dunk, but with the finishing abilities that Cowan posses, why not take it yourself.
A big reason Maryland was able to win this game was its execution at the end of the shot clock throughout the night. On this play, Maryland got the ball in its best players hands and let him go to work and lead them to victory.
Cowan got the ball at the top of the key and cleared out the lane for an isolation play. He first easily blew by Joe Wieskamp and then put a beautiful euro step on Joe Toussaint to finish the layup.
Cowan finished the game with 31 points on 9-for-15 shooting from the field and 10-for-11 made free throws. He also added six rebounds and assists a piece, plus one steal.
Jalen Smith put in another incredible performance
Maryland got the game started by taking the shot clock all the way down but ending with a nice play converted by Smith.
Cowan drove to the hoop, which created a mismatch for Smith as a he cut to the basket. The sophomore forward almost lost the ball in midair but was somehow able to get the ball to go in before the shot clock expired.
Smith got it done on both ends of the floor and showcased it on this sequence. The star sophomore got one of his five blocks at one end and then was able to able to clean up the glass and finish with a dunk on the other side of the court.
Smith finished this game with a whopping 14 rebounds and is averaging 9.8 on the season. He also ranks third in the Big Ten in blocks at almost 2.3 per game.
Over the course of Big Ten play, much has rightfully been made about Smith’s shooting stroke from three point range, but in this game Smith got it done inside.
On this play, he ran his lane perfectly and was rewarded with an easy layup. Smith completely out-hustled his man on this play, which led to him being so wide open. We have seen Smith’s hustle on display a lot recently and it has certainly paid off for him, most notably on his diving steal at the end of the game against Northwestern.
While Garza may have finished this game with 21 points, a few of those buckets were in garbage time late in the game. Throughout the contest though, Smith and Donta Scott played great defense on him, as evident on this play.
In this instance and many others throughout the night, Iowa got the ball into Garza in the low post, but Maryland brought a double team over to contest the shot. This strategy worked very well for the Terps and often times led to a block or missed shot from Garza.
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