December 11, 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.

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Maryland Basketball: Terps shoot lights out from deep to pound Illinois and send Seniors out on top

(Photo by: @TerrapinHoops)

(Photo by: @TerrapinHoops)

The Maryland Terrapins are clearly not playing their best basketball; luckily they have a couple of short weeks to try and get back on track. After losing to Purdue on the road, their third loss in the past four games, bracketologist Joe Lunardi has dropped the Terps to a four seed, a would be huge disappointment given the pre-season hype. Following an emotional senior day presentation for starters Jake Layman and Rasheed Sulaimon as well as reserves Varun Ram and Trevor Anzmann it was pedal to the metal for Maryland. The Terps lead for the entire game, made a season-high 14 3-pointers, and saw all four of their seniors get playing time. The 81-55 victory was a “fun night” for the Terps according to their head coach in what could be a taste of what is to come.

With Diamond Stone in foul trouble, Mark Turgeon opted to go small

The highly touted freshman big only played nine minutes in the first half and sat the final five minutes after picking up his second foul. Instead of Damonte Dodd taking over as the Terps center, Turgeon opted to go small. Robert Carter Jr. slid to the rim protector position, while Layman moved to his future NBA position as a stretch-four power forward. With Jared Nickens returning back to non-conference form by hitting a couple 3-pointers, Maryland’s offense became more efficient. Turgeon continued to do the same in the second half, which clearly allowed more driving room from guards into the paint.

Putting their foot on Illinois’ throat to start the second half ended things early

As a part of the 3-point festivities, Maryland had a stretch where they came away with three triples after three possessions. Trimble started things off, Layman hit one after grabbing an offensive rebound, and then Nickens continued to look like his old self by burying one from deep to force an Illinois timeout. Maryland led by double digits the rest of the way. In a year where Maryland as narrowly escaped with victories against inferior teams, it was good to see them take care of business on their home floor. Turgeon explicitly credited Terp Nation, “I want to thank the fans” for the one-loss home record in back-to-back seasons.

Terps return to form from beyond the arc with best performance of the year

For only the second time during conference play Maryland shot better than 50 percent from 3-point range. With the recent struggles of Nickens and Melo Trimble, the Terps have had to rely on their defense to win games. Today was a completely different story as the home team drained a season-high 14 shots from the bonus-sphere. Nickens tied his season-high with four 3-pointers as he was freed up with cross court passes when Maryland bigs were doubled.

Jake Layman “stuck with” Maryland making him one of Turgeon’s favorites

When the Wrentham, Massachusetts native signed with the Terps nearly five years ago, Mark Turgeon frankly admitted that the team was not very good at the time. Although it is not right to have favorites, “Jake’s one of my all-time favorites … because he stuck with me” Turgeon revealed after the game. “Most proud of his development as a player … he’s become a more complete player” Turgeon elaborated on what he thinks is a first-round pick. Nickens told the stretch-four that he loved him after his final home game of the year. Layman did not call an 18 point, 7 rebound, and 3 assist game the story book ending, but it is as close of one as you are going to get. Going forward, his versatility to play power forward might be the key to the Terps making a deep run in the NCAA tournament.

How many of the Terps played their last game at Xfinity?

Jake Layman, Rasheed Sulaimon, and Varun Ram are all out of Division-I eligibility and obviously will not step onto the Xfinity hardwood next season. The next question is how many out of Melo Trimble, Diamond Stone, and Robert Carter Jr. will be lost to the NBA draft. The entire starting five lineup have the potential to be first round picks and the latter three are probably more likely than not to go pro. As Trimble came off the court for possibly the final time, students chanted “one more year.” I doubt any of the three have decided their future already because a lot of the way this season ends might affect their decisions.

Maryland will finish their 2015-16 regular season by traveling to Bloomington to face the Big Ten regular season champion Indiana Hoosiers. The Terps have already clinched a double-bye in the conference tournament next week but can help their seeding with a road victory against a Top 25 school.

Maryland Basketball: Terps continue to struggle with rebounding in loss to Purdue

(Photo by: @SportsCenter)

(Photo by: @SportsCenter)

The Maryland Terrapins barely survived a home-scare against Michigan last weekend to end their worst stretch of basketball of the season. With six days without a game, Mark Turgeon was hoping that this three-game stretch to end the season would prepare his team for post-season play. Unlike Maryland who controled their destiny to win the Big Ten regular season, Purdue is playing simply to improve their bracketology seeding following a road loss to Indiana on Wednesday. Rebounding issues reared their ugly head against early and often for Maryland. Purdue had 19 offensive rebound on their 29 missed field goals for 24 second chance points. Despite a flurry from Maryland at the end with full court press, it was too little too late as the Terps dropped their 19th straight against ranked opponents on the road, 83-79.

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Maryland Basketball: Terps grind out win over Michigan to end two-game skid

Mark Turgeon did not believe today was a must win game, but it was clear that a third straight loss would be devastating to the Maryland Terrapins tournament seeding. After seeing their 27-game home win streak snapped at the hands of the Wisconsin Badgers and giving Minnesota their first conference victory of the season, the Terps delivered the first blow against Michigan. Maryland weathered the storm while the Wolverines made it rain from deep to secure a thrilling 86-82 victory against a tournament team.

Terps play their best basketball in “4 or 5 weeks”

Maryland came out a little sloppy to start the game in the turnover department but their efficient offense was keeping they in it. Five minutes into the game things were tied at 10 a piece. The Terps bursted through with a 14-0 run, while Michigan went over seven minutes without a field goal. Turgeon believed it was the best stretch of basketball the program had played in “4 or 5 weeks” since the dismantling of Ohio State. Unlike the Ohio State game, the Michigan Wolverines fought back with 3-point shooting that cost Maryland the game in Ann Arbor.

Wolverines end the first and start the second half with impressive runs

After taking control of things with a game high 16-point lead, 33-17, with 5:47 left to play in the first half, Michigan quickly went on a 13-2 run in the next three minutes. Maryland’s perimeter defense has been suspect for most of the year and it nearly cost them again today. The Wolverines finished 13 of 27 from beyond the arc and were killed by Michigan’s small stretch-four lineup while Turgeon wanted to stay big. The traditional Maryland bigs had a tough time guarding the likes of Mark Donnal and Kameron Chatman on the perimeter allowing 5 of 6 combing shooting. Michigan was still down five at halftime, but put together a 15-7 run after the break to take their first lead of the game since the opening minute.

In a heavyweight bout, both sides land equal blows midway through the second half

The usually raucous Xfinity Center crowd was stunned at the 13:55 mark with Michigan retook the lead. They were soon given something to cheer for as Melo Trimble hit a patented driving layup before Jake Layman drilled his third 3-pointer of the game off a loose ball situation. In less than a two minute stretch Maryland blitzed the Wolverines with an 11-2 run, but they could not quite close things out yet. Following a fade away Rasheed Sulaimon jumper, Maryland got cold from the field missing five of their next six shots with three turnovers sprinkled in. While Michigan was getting easy layup looks from Mark Donnal, repeatedly wide open under the basket following defensive rotations, they took their largest lead of the game (3) thanks to a 14-2 run.

Finishing late against a “good team that played really, really well” bodes well for March

When Robert Carter Jr. cleaned up his own missed jump shot with a putback dunk, Maryland took a 76-75 lead and did not look back over the final 4:46 of the game. Carter, on his way to a team-high 17 points, made all of Maryland’s last four field goals. Before Duncan Robinson hit a desperation three late for Michigan, the Terps had clamped down on defense by forcing six of seven missed shots as well as three turnovers. Maryland’s Rasheed Sulaimon and Melo Trimble calmly knocked in their set of free throws, the former under the pressure of one-and-one, to secure an 86-82 victory. Mark Turgeon said it was a “great win” and it was “great to play well” because they “beat a good team the played really, really well.”

Maryland receives unexpected boost from Damonte Dodd and bench

(Photo by: Rob Carr/ Getty Images)

(Photo by: Rob Carr/ Getty Images)

In the past three conference games combined, the Terps have only gotten eight points from their bench unit forcing the starters to play extended minutes. Today 18 points was good for the most points from the second unit in conference play since Diamond Stone joined the starting lineup. Damonte Dodd led the way with seven points, six rebounds, and two blocks, while Jaylen Brantley and Jared Nickens combined for 11 more points. Dodd had back-to-back blocks during the early 14-0 Maryland run in the first half and told me that the guards are confident that even if they get past them he can erase their mistakes at the rim. Brantley’s defense was superb with three steals, while it was nice to see Nickens knock down a couple of triples. In a game that Trimble would like to remember with seven turnovers, the bench arguably one this game.

The Terps will have a nice six days of rest before having to travel to Purdue for a rematch with the Boilermakers. Maryland got a nice resume victory by beating Purdue two weeks ago and hope to repeat their success on Saturday, February 27th.

Maryland Basketball: After shaky play during regulation, Terps beat Wildcats in OT for regular season sweep

Over two weeks removed from dominating the Northwestern Wildcats in Evanston, the Maryland Terrapins opened up the Xfinity Center doors for a rematch. Fresh off their historic beatdown of Ohio StateMark Turgeon is far from concerned about Melo Trimble‘s lack of a double-digit scoring performance over the past four games because “he is a winner” that knows exactly what the team needs.

In overtime the Upper Marlboro native came through to make up for all of the mistakes made during regulation. Maryland allowed 16 offensive rebounds, which were converted into 16 second chance points, and committed 16 turnovers that Northwestern cashed into another 14 points. The Terps led that game for less time than the Wildcats but the defensive performance that was one of the “best” ever according to Turgeon helped pull out a 62-56 victory in overtime.

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Maryland Basketball: Terps beat Badgers as Melo Trimble wins it at the buzzer from deep

MELO TRIMBLE WINS IT AT THE BUZZER FOR BEST START IN SCHOOL HISTORY, 15-1

When the second best center and seventh ranked recruit, according to ESPN, spurned his home state of Wisconsin to attend the University of Maryland last Spring, Diamond Stone received constant harassment. Nine months later, although coming off the bench, Stone clearly made the correct decision. Maryland, 14-1 (3-0), is the third-ranked team in the nation, while Wisconsin is no longer under the tenure of Bo Ryan and are trying to stay relevant at 9-7.

Stone had a modest 11 points off the bench, but it was his favorite point guard that ended up taking over the show. Trimble had a stretch of ten straight points before providing the dagger 3-pointer just before the buzzer to give Maryland a 63-60 road victory.

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Maryland Basketball: Terps head into Big Ten play rolling after beating Marshall

Between final exams and the holiday break, the Maryland Terrapins played one game in a two week span. Mark Turgeon was frank that both practices held on Saturday were not the greatest, as he tries to work his players back into shape. On the two-year anniversary of losing to the Marshall Thundering Herd in the Military Bowl, Maryland welcomed them into Xfinity Center for their last tuneup before Big Ten action. Despite a messy start, Robert Carter Jr. and Diamond Stone did impressive work down low to fuel a 87-67 victory.

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Maryland Basketball: No. 2 Terps finally live up to the hype, dominate Rhode Island to win Cancun Challenge

(Photo by: Terrapin Hoops)

(Photo by: Terrapin Hoops)

After coming back to defeat the Illinois State Redbirds Tuesday night, the Maryland Terrapins took on Atlantic 10 contenders Rhode Island in the Cancun Challenge Championship game. For the first time this year, Maryland — sporting awesome gold rush-equse uniforms — dominated the opponent and looked like the second best team in the country. The Terps will return to College Park for Thanksgiving with the satisfying feeling of having won their third consecutive holiday tournament after a 86-63 victory.

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Maryland Basketball: Terps enjoy keeping it close, but hold on in the clutch again to get past Illinois State

The No. 2 Maryland Terrapins took off for Mexico not just to play basketball but to have a team bonding week for everyone to loosen up, according to Mark Turgeon after the Rider game. After a couple of days enjoying the Cancun scene, the Terps were brought back to focus with their matchup against the Illinois State Redbirds. Maryland put their fans on the edge of their seats again, but used a late run once again to breakaway from Illinois State and win 77-66. Here are five things you need to know: [Read more…]

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.

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