May 30, 2017

Maryland Basketball: Terps reach Sweet 16 for first time since 2003 by beating Hawaii

The only thing stopping the Maryland Terrapins from reaching the Sweet 16 were the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. Jake Layman emphasized that the Terps did not want to get outworked by the mid-major opponents who were able to upset California with their defense. After a “nervous” start according to Mark Turgeon, Maryland hung around with Hawaii until their offense woke up. A 14-0 run midway through the second half fueled by transition opportunities helped the College Park school put things away. The Terps will advance to their furthest point in the tournament in the last 13 years with a 73-60 victory over Hawaii.

Terps offense struggles early and beyond the arc often in the first half

It took Maryland over eight minutes to score their second field goal of the game. Jump shots weren’t falling and they were failing to get opportunities in transition, which allowed Hawaii’s strong defense to set up shot. With Maryland starting the game 1 of 9 from the field, they saw themselves fall behind 13-6 in the scoreboard. The Terps would get their act together out of the under-12 media timeout by hitting seven straight shots from the field, but their struggles from beyond the arc continued. Maryland shot 0 of 8 from beyond the arc and did not make a 3-pointer in the first half for the first time all season. The Terps were lucky to be up 28-27 at intermission.

A run for the ages as Maryland puts it together to pull away

(Photo by: @BigTenNetwork)

(Photo by: @BigTenNetwork)

With 11:22 left in the game Maryland was down two points and a mess offensively. Things would change quickly following a Damonte Dodd block. Rasheed Sulaimon took the team over in transition with a layup, alley-oop to Diamond Stone, before an assist to Jake Layman for a slam of his own. Maryland continued their run during transition with Melo Trimble hitting a pull-up 3-pointers, the Terps only make frm beyond the arc in 18 attempts. The 14-0 run was culminated with a Robert Carter Jr. three-point play finish after another steal. Maryland would control the rest of the way.

Despite record-worst 3-point shooting, getting to the free throw line saves the Terrapins

5.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc, 1 of 18, is the worst shooting from deep for a winning team of a NCAA tournament game. Against a stout Hawaii defense, the only way Maryland was able to put up 73 points was by converting at the charity stripes. The referees did their part by calling fouls for all borderline contact, both ways, and the Terps shot 28 of 31 from the free throw line. Converting late in the game allowed Maryland to hold on us Trimble had more free throw makes, 13, than the entire Rainbow Warriors team, 10.

Defense helped the Terps through much of conference play, it worked today

Stefan Jankovic is an extremely skilled big man that has enough experience in the college game to be an efficient scorer. Maryland held the 6-11 Junior below his 15.7 points per game, 14, and well below his efficient 55.7 percent shooting from the field, 5 of 17 (29.4 percent). Besides a nearly season best performance for Michael Thomas who took advantage of his quickness against Maryland bigs, the Terps locked down the Rainbow Warriors. Non-Thomas shooters were a miserable 15 of 58 (25.9 percent) from the field including 21.1 percent (4 of 19) shooting from beyond the arc as a team. Maryland defensive numbers would have looked even better if they had not give up 16 offensive rebounds. At the end of the day the Terps got to the Sweet 16 behind much of their success in the regular season, defense.

Scouting Maryland’s next opponent: Mark Turgeon’s alma mater Kansas

The Maryland Terrapins will play No. 1 overall seed Kansas in Louisville, KY on Thursday for the right to advance to the Elite Eight. Although Kansas routed Connecticut yesterday, if the Terps are able to make their jump shots they will have a good shot at upsetting the talented Jayhawks squad. The Jayhawks are one of the most experienced team in the tournament with a lot of depth. Perry Ellis, Wayne Selden Jr., Frank Mason III, and Devonte’ Graham average 55 points a game and are all future talents in the NBA. Kansas’ offense is up there with the best of them including 42.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc. The last time Maryland played Kansas in the NCAA tournament? A Final Four victory a game before Juan Dixon and company won the school’s only national title in 2002.

 

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.

%d bloggers like this: