Welcome back to the Testudo Times film room. No. 9 Maryland men’s basketball took down Minnesota in a thrilling 74-73 comeback win Wednesday in Minneapolis.
After a first half performance that saw the Terps go down by as many as 17 points and have absolutely nothing go their way, Mark Turgeon’s squad came all the way back and pulled off an improbable win on the back of a game-winning triple from Darryl Morsell.
Morsell was the star of the night for the Terps, but the comeback was a team effort, which saw many players rise to the occasion. Jalen Smith dominated the Gophers after a tough first half, in which he played just four minutes due to major foul trouble.
The Terps also received massive contributions from Aaron Wiggins, who was extremely efficient, and Donta Scott, who has now scored at least nine points in his last five games.
Let’s take a look at all the impact plays from the Terps’ crazy win.
The play of the game
This play of the game was a pretty obvious choice as it will be one that lives on in the memories of Terp fans for a very long time, just like past game winners from Cliff Tucker, Dez Wells and so many more.
After Maryland got the rebound off the missed free throw, Wiggins brought the ball up in transition and kicked it to Anthony Cowan Jr. The senior leader, who struggled to the tune of 2-for-15 shooting from the field in this one, had a decent look on this play but made the smart decision to kick it back to Wiggins.
After getting the ball back, Wiggins could have taken the three as well but decided to make the extra pass and swing it to Morsell at the top of the key. Morsell, a much improved three-point shooter on the season at 35 percent, let it fly from beyond NBA three-point range and connected for the dagger that likely ceased Minnesota’s NCAA Tournament hopes.
The plays that led to Morsell’s dagger
Maryland was able to get an opportunity to win this game because of how lockdown its defense was in the second half. Minnesota went from shooting 57.1 percent from the field and 53.9 percent from three during the first half to 34.5 percent from the field and 27.3 percent from deep in the second half.
Turgeon’s squad absolutely put the clamps down and grinded out Minnesota’s possessions. On this play, the Terps played great defense and rotated perfectly. Wiggins was able to tip the ball up on a Minnesota kick out, and Morsell was able to pick up the loose ball to take it all the way for a slam at the other end.
About a minute later, Wiggins did it again with another excellent job of jumping in the passing lane to force a turnover. On this play, the sophomore guard recognized the lazy cross-court pass coming from Marcus Carr and was able to take it all the way for a ferocious one-handed stuff.
On this play, The Terps desperately needed a bucket to stay alive as they were down by eight with a little over two minutes to go. Turgeon rose to the occasion and called up a great play that let to a wide open look for Wiggins.
Cowan brought the ball up for the Terps and immediately received a high screen from Smith. Instead of rolling to the basket or popping out to the three-point line, Smith went and set another screen for Wiggins, who was in the process of cutting to the top of the key.
Wiggins got the ball and shot immediately, proceeding to hit nothing but net to bring his team back within five points and catapult its final run to win the game.
While this forced turnover did not lead to any points for Maryland, it was important to highlight because it showed how effective and successful the team was in the full-court press late in the game.
It also took away the opportunity for Minnesota to run the clock down or end up getting to the free throw line to further extend the lead.
Scott, Morsell, Wiggins and Cowan were all locked down on their men on this play and did a great job of denying any easy inbounds pass. Morsell then did an incredible job of tipping the ball off of Carr’s hands, which forced the Minnesota turnover.
On this play, Maryland ran one of its usual pick-and-roll sets, which ended in Cowan attempting a three. After the missed three-point attempt, Smith was immediately there to finish the put-back slam to bring the Terps within two points.
The key to this play for Smith was that after his screen, Daniel Oturu came over to double-team Cowan on his triple attempt. Oturu’s absence in the box out situation allowed for Smith to run freely to the hoop and easily pick up the rebound and put-back dunk.
Other Standout Plays
On this play, Wiggins took an open three and failed to convert, but after Scott’s offensive rebound, he was able to recover. Scott kicked it out to Cowan, who looked to reset the offense.
Wiggins cut behind his man to the to the heart of the paint and received the entry pass from Cowan. He took one dribble and then somehow made an extremely tough hook shot over Oturu — one of the best rim protectors in the country.
Wiggins finished this game with 16 points on an extremely efficient line of 6-for-8 from the field and 2-for-4 from three-point range. Given his past two performances, its starting to become clear that Wiggins has turned the corner and could be a major x-factor as the calendar turns to March.
After sitting out almost the entire first half due to foul trouble, Smith showcased his brilliance in the second half. And on this play, he showed off his versatility as a big.
The sophomore got the ball in the post, but was immediately faced with a double team. After attempting to beat the double team, he made the smart move of bringing the ball out to the top of the key to reset. Smith then took Oturu straight to the hoop and was able to finish in traffic for two points.
Later in the second half, Smith turned his stout defense into points at the other end. After his block here, Cowan brought the ball up in transition and recognized Smith coming down the floor as a trailer.
The senior guard turned his back at the top of the key and kicked it to Smith, who hit nothing but net on this deep three. These are the types of sequences that NBA scouts will love to see and it showcases how Smith’s game translates so nicely to the next level.
Smith finished the game with 16 points, 12 rebounds, two blocks and a steal in just 24 minutes of action.
Scott has put together a very nice stretch of games for the Terps recently, looking extremely aggressive offensively, and this game was no different. On this play, the freshman got the ball in the post and bullied his way into the paint to convert the hook shot.
Scott finished the game with 11 points on 5-of-12 shooting from the field and seven rebounds.
The first half was really ugly
Maryland looked completely out of sorts in the first half, and this was probably the worst play of the game for the Terps. Missed alley-oop attempts have been a somewhat major issue for the Terps this season, and something that finally needed to be addressed in the film breakdown after this play.
The team got out in transition and was given what looked to be an easy bucket with the 2-on-1 advantage. Cowan threw up a lob to Morsell, who was not nearly close enough to the basket to finish the alley-oop, instead missing the layup badly.
After the missed layup, Cowan got an offensive rebound and missed a wide open put-back layup. To make the play even worse, Hakim Hart also missed a contested tip attempt and the Gophers finally got the ball back after that.
If this game had ended in a Maryland loss, it would be plays like this that would have been the reason why.
Maryland was extremely lost offensively in the first half, and plays like this showcase it well.
Wiggins had a nice one-on-one matchup in the post, but decided to kick it out to Ricky Lindo Jr. around the perimeter. Lindo started to make a cut to the basket that Wiggins did not recognize and tossed it to the fans in the first row for a turnover.