December 10, 2019

Maryland Basketball: #3 Terps knock off Rider 65-58 after extended scare for all in College Park

After a great comeback win in a renewed rivalry against the Georgetown Hoyas, the Maryland Terrapins came out a bit sluggish against the Rider Broncs. Luckily with the new 30 second shot clock, college basketball is a long game that allows for the more talented team to usually come up on top. Even though Maryland did not take their first lead until the 5:26 mark of the second half, the Terps were victorious 65-58 against an aggressive Rider team that looks to be competitive in the MAAC.

Michal Cekovsky starts for Diamond Stone, but Turgeon opts to go small

Cekovsky was the Terps best center against Georgetown and Mark Turgeon was hoping to get the best mix of Damonte Dodd‘s defense and Diamond Stone’s offense. After poor defense from Cekovsky early, Turgeon brought Stone off the bench three minutes into the game before ultimately going into a small ball lineup. It was Jared Nickens off the bench against the Hoyas that helped lead the Terps to victory and Turgeon tried to use that as a catalyst against Rider. Postgame, Stone said that anyone of the Terps bigs (Cekovsky, Dodd, and himself) can start and it does not matter between the three.

Maryland kept things close in the first half despite being visibly out played

(Photo by: @UMTerps)

(Photo by: @UMTerps)

The Terps came out slow for the second straight game and did not lead at all in the first half. Eight minutes into the game, Maryland was 1 of 6 from beyond the arc and getting outrebounded 9 to 7. With the interior defense lacking while Rider’s aggressive on-ball defense was paying off, Maryland found themselves in a whole. But as we have come to know this season whenever Turgeon finds his team in a rut, he looks to graduate transfer Rasheed Sulaimon who came through with nine points when the offense was sputtering. At the half, the Terps were down 31-29 when it could have been worse.

Rider comes out on fire to start the second half

After committing a turnover to start the half, it was all Rider who came firing with a 12-0 run. Even after a Turgeon timeout, Maryland could not figure things out and found themselves down by 14, the most this season. It was a mix of bad defensive rotations and transition buckets that hurt the Terps, but luckily for those in College Park things would change by the end of the half. At the end of this run by the Broncs, the veteran leadership of Sulaimon and Robert Carter Jr. were in the ears of their teammates to calm down and relax because they were going to win this game.

Diamond Stone showing why he was a five-star recruit

After not starting the game, the Wisconsin native showed Terp Nation why he is still a force to be reckoned with. Against the smaller Rider defenders, Stone went to work in the post and was starting to finish close to the basket. Stone would get the Terps first points of the half to snap Rider’s 12-0 run with a layup and would follow that up with a MONSTROUS put back dunk that energized the sold out Xfinity Center crowd. Stone’s eight points over a five minute span would directly lead to a 17-5 run. It was also Stone’s work on the defensive end, with two recovery blocks, that helped Maryland’s interior defense that was tested in the first half. Stone told me postgame that even though he may not show it on the court, he appreciates the support of the fans because it amps him up internally.

Closing things out in crunch time a success again

At the 5:26 mark in the second half, Sulaimon gave Maryland their first lead of the game at 52-50. Two minutes later, Melo Trimble hit his first three of the game after both Rider defenders fell back with Stone off the pick-and-roll to give Maryland the lead for good. Helping the Terps close things out were their dominance on the offensive glass as they had eight second chance opportunities thanks to crashing the boards. Credit Rider for sticking with it offensively, but Maryland responded in their own right. It certainly helped the Terps cause when the Xfinity wall helped Rider’s Kahlil Thomas miss the front end of the one-and-one free throw. The Terrapins were great in close games last year, and it seems like we might see a similar trend this time around.

The Terps will take off for the Cancun Challenge to face off against Illinois State on Tuesday 11/24.

About Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Wizards, and Maryland Terrapins. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland. Neil has loved everything related to the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals, and Terrapins since he was eight years old. However, he favors the Orioles, as he started watching baseball before the Expos moved to DC. You can follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.


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