clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

TT Court Vision: Terps show balanced offensive attack in victory over Michigan

We take to the film room to examine key plays that led to the Terps’ Co-Big Ten Championship clinching win over Michigan.

Anthony Cowan, Big Ten Championship, Michigan, 2020 Sarah Sopher / Testudo Times

Welcome back to the Testudo Times film room for the final time this regular season. Then-No. 9 Maryland men’s basketball took down then-No. 25 Michigan 83-70 Sunday as the Terps honored their senior players in the final game of the season at Xfinity Center.

Fittingly, Anthony Cowan Jr. played a big role for the Terps as they secured a share of their first Big Ten regular season title since joining the conference — also their first regular season conference title since 2009-10. Cowan was efficient and aggressive throughout this game, scoring 20 points and dropping eight assists.

Cowan was not the only Terp who starred in the win though. Jalen Smith added to his massive total of double-doubles this year and the duo of Eric Ayala and Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year Aaron Wiggins were lights out shooting the ball.

Let’s take a look at all the impact plays from the big win.

Anthony Cowan Jr. had a very memorable senior day

Cowan had a near flawless day to cap off his last game at Xfinity Center. He was extremely aggressive throughout at getting to the basket and did a great job of beating his defenders off the dribble.

On this play early in the game, Cowan and Smith ran their signature pick-and-pop motion. Smith’s screen was so effective that it caused the switch and put Jon Teske in coverage of Cowan. Teske was no match for the explosiveness of the senior guard as he was able to finish around the rim with ease.

As part of his drives to the hoop during this game, Cowan brought out a move we don’t often see from him, and that is backing his man down a little bit. Cowan was matched up with David DeJulius on this play, but did not exactly beat him off the dribble.

Once he got in the paint area, he started to back DeJulius down and used a spin move to create just the right amount of separation needed to convert the tough reverse layup.

As he has been all year long, Cowan was great in making something out of nothing with the shot clock winding down on this play.

He really did not create much separation with DeJulius on this play, but got enough when Teske came around and inadvertently got in DeJulius’ path while covering Donta Scott. After creating the separation, Cowan pulled up with his feet on the three-point line and connected for the deep two.

This drive might have been Cowan’s most impressive of the day. At the start of the play, Scott set a screen for the senior, but it did not create much room for him to operate. After getting close to the paint, Cowan once again showed off his newly found post skills and went to work on DeJulius.

He used a few dribbles and a fake to try and create some separation, but DeJulius stood strong on defense. Cowan finally decided to sky above DeJulius for the short range jumper and connected to extend Maryland’s lead.

Cowan finished off his day with 20 points on an extremely efficient 7-for-11 figure from the field. He also made all six of his free throw attempts en route to breaking the record for made free throws in Maryland history.

With all that being said, Cowan’s day was not all about his scoring. He also put up eight assists and had a great eye for distributing the ball. Many of the plays broken down below feature beautiful feeds from the First Team All-Big Ten selection.

Eric Ayala showed off his potential to the fullest

Ayala was nothing short of sensational in this game, and if he can keep this type of play up over the next few weeks, Maryland could be poised for a special run. On this play, he curled around a screen from Ricky Lindo Jr. to get open and then used a dribble handoff from Wiggins to get the ball.

After getting the rock, Ayala executed a perfect step-back jumper that had Isaiah Livers completely fooled as he converted the mid-range bucket.

As mentioned above, Cowan was dropping dimes all afternoon long.

Cowan and Smith ran a pick-and-pop at the top of the key and Cowan exploded to the rim. He could have likely finished an easy layup here but decided to kick it out to Ayala instead. The sophomore guard was wide open, got his feet set and easily converted the open three.

Ayala really loved the step-back in this game and it was incredibly effective for him. On this play, Smith came up to set a high screen, but Ayala did not need it.

He took Eli Brooks off the dribble and used a hesitation step-back dribble move to create a ton of separation and put Brooks on skates. Ayala then got back over the three point line, got set and connected for one of his three made triples of the day.

Ayala finished one point shy of tying his career high with 19 points on 6-for-10 shooting and 3-for-4 shooting from three-point range. Ayala also added a career-high seven rebounds and two assists to his line.

Jalen Smith showed why he was named a First Team All-Big Ten selection

Smith put on another show in this game by playing great defense, which then leads to easy buckets at the other end. On this play, he was switched into covering Xavier Simpson on the drive and stuck with him the whole time to make a great block.

Ayala then led the break at the other end and kicked it to Cowan. The point guard had his head up the whole way and immediately kicked it to Smith on the rim run, who finished it off with a monster slam to ignite the Maryland faithful.

There’s not really much to this play other than the fact that Smith was in the right place at the right time. He was left uncovered in the middle of the court and dribbled it up quickly with under four seconds to go.

He got to about parallel with the “W” in Gary Williams Court and pulled up from way beyond the three-point line and connected to bring the Terps’ lead to 13 heading into the break. His shot shifted the momentum right back in Maryland’s favor after a silly three-point shooting foul from Cowan the play before.

Smith’s growth this year has been nothing short of incredible, and plays like this really make you marvel at his development. The now First Team All-Big Ten and All-Defense selection finished the day with 18 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks.

Aaron Wiggins was special off the bench

The now Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year put on a show Sunday and was key to the Terps prevailing over the Wolverines.

On this play, Wiggins took Simpson off the dribble and used a big jump stop to fake out Simpson. Wiggins then turned around, faded away and connected for two points in the presence of two Michigan defenders.

Like Ayala, Wiggins was terrific from beyond the arc, knocking down 3-of-4 attempts. After missing two free throws, Ayala was able to come away with the rebound, but was hit with a triple team. Wiggins made the smart move of getting set in the corner and Ayala found him easily. The sophomore got his feet set and knocked down the triple.

Wiggins finished his day with 15 points on an efficient 6-of-8 shooting from the field. Both Wiggins and Ayala have been solid but extremely inconsistent for most of this season.

If this sophomore duo can play like this in the Big Ten tournament and the NCAA Tournament, they could be the key to success for Mark Turgeon’s squad.