The week-long Thanksgiving feast continued into Saturday night for the No. 2 ranked Terrapins as they defeated the Cleveland State Vikings 80 to 63 behind Robert Carter's 17-point, 8-rebound night.
Jared Nickens set a career-high in points, totaling 16 on 8 attempts, hitting 4 threes pointers. He was a spark off the bench in Maryland's second consecutive blowout victory.
The Terps opened the game atypically, driving to the rim on every possession early and didn't fire a 3-point attempt until more than five minutes into the game when Robert Carter knocked his second down, his second of the season.
Robert Carter scored 9 of the Terps' first 15 points, mostly off short runners to the rim, and looked as good as he has all season offensively. He notched 10 in the half, adding 5 rebounds. His offense was matched outside the perimeter by sixth man Jared Nickens. The sharpshooter matched his season-high in points in the first half scoring 11 off of five field goal attempts in 14 minutes. He ripped the net three times from deep and added two assists.
The shooting was hot on both sides though, as the Vikings shot 52 percent from the field, but not enough to overcome the steamy 61 percent the Terps fired. Maryland's ability to work the ball inside the paint and attack the rim led to an increase in shooting efficiency and the Terps shot just eight shots from deep, impressively hitting four of them. The Vikings trailed the Terrapins 37-33 at the half.
The strong shooting continued in the second half as Maryland hit 7 of its first 10 shots from the field, and went 4 of 4 from the line in the first nine minutes. Diamond Stone, Damonte Dodd and Carter were the benefactors of the interior offense as the the Terps broke the game open into a double-digit lead.
That lead never died as the Terps outscored the Vikings 43 to 30 in the second half. Maryland was able to get to the line 18 times, hitting 15 of those attempts, and continue to keep its fouls limited, allowing Cleveland State only two attempts at the line.
Scoring remained well-balanced for the extremely deep Terrapins lineup. Three Terps finished double-digits in points with Carter scoring 17, Nickens 16 and Stone 15. None of Maryland's players attempted more than 10 field goals, with Stone on the higher end mostly off of offensive rebound tip-ins. Most notably the Terps were able to win by 17 with senior Jake Laymans scoring just 7 points on 2 attempts.
The Terrapins offense has caught fire in its past two games, connecting on 59 of its past 100 field goal attempts including 17 of 31 from deep.
Three things to know:
1. Turgeon took Stone out after his first early foul and it worked. Stone was hit with his usual early-game foul, just 2 minutes and 18 seconds into the first half. Turgeon elected to sit him in favor of Damonte Dodd instead of letting the freshman play through the foul trouble he's had difficulty managing the past two games. Stone was productive in his 6 minutes, scoring 5 points on 3 field goal attempts and blocking 1 shot.
2. The high-scoring affair had two Terps in double-digits at halftime. Nickens scored 11 while Carter scored 10. The vastly different offensive players found their points in different ways with Nickens scoring three from deep in the first half, and Carter working the inside early, hitting two runners and three free throws.
3. Jared Nickens could start for a ton of tournament teams, but instead has become the ideal sixth man for Maryland. The sophomore is getting more playing time after classmate Dion Wiley went down for the year with a meniscus tear and is making the most of it. He hadn't shot particular well before Saturday night's game, but was able to tie a career high in 3-point makes with 4. He scored a career high in points with 16 on just 8 field goal attempts.