The Maryland men's basketball team beat Marshall on Sunday evening, 87-67, overcoming an up-and-down start to win with ease against the overmatched Thundering Herd.
The No. 4 Terrapins' customary scoring balance was on display, with four players in double figures. The heralded frontcourt combination of Robert Carter Jr. (19 points) and Diamond Stone (16) overwhelmed Marshall, and Maryland's Melo Trimble-Rasheed Sulaimon backcourt poured in a combined 27.
It wasn't all excellent for Maryland, which struggled on the glass against a smaller opponent and gave up a 12-0 run in the middle of the first half. But Maryland's shot-making and pure talent assured this wouldn't be much of a game.
Spurts of scoring defined the opening 20 minutes. Maryland and Marshall traded baskets evenly for the first five minutes of the game, but the Terps got into an 11-2 run to set themselves up with a commanding lead by the time the game was 10 minutes old. Carter drove the offense early, scoring from the post, the foul line and the 3-point arc en route to first-half double figures. Maryland gave up a 12-0 spurt in the middle of the half that saw its lead drop from 13 points to 1, but a 9-0 counterattack in the final minutes of the frame restored a 10-point halftime lead.
In the second half, there was no real drama. Maryland expanded its double-digit lead immediately and never had trouble putting a bow on the evening, even though the performance was never gorgeous. The most exciting thing about game's finish was Marshall, with 0.4 seconds remaining, hitting a 3-pointer to cover a 22-point spread and only lose by 20.
The win leaves Maryland at 11-1 in non-conference play, with its first Big Ten game coming against Penn State on Wednesday night. The Terps will make one more non-league cameo this season when Bowie State visits on Feb. 9, but otherwise the rest of Maryland's story will be written inside the Big Ten.
Three things to know
1. Jaylen Brantley is getting it. After the best game of his nascent Maryland career against Princeton last week, Brantley came from the bench to score 8 points and grab 6 rebounds against the Herd. He's stringing together some quality performances and giving Maryland real point guard depth behind Trimble. If Brantley can keep churning in Big Ten play, he'll be an enormous asset.
2. Robert Carter Jr. is too good for this level of competition. It'll probably be a welcome change of pace for Carter to get into the sizable Big Ten, because he's just not on the same playing field as most of his non-conference matchups. Marshall guarded him by committee, but not with anyone who could parallel Carter's skill or strength.
This is silly for how easy it looks.
3. Maryland has no blemishes. Non-conference play was never what would define this Terps basketball season, but it's helpful that Maryland got through this portion of the schedule without any embarrassing hiccups. Its loss at North Carolina was thoroughly understandable, and even though the Terps don't yet have an impressive win, they've stayed in line for the kind of season they're capable of having. There's nothing here that the NCAA Tournament's selection committee will hate.