One of the best of the Turgeon Era
Maryland Shuts Down Illinois 75-66
A Strong Defensive Adjustment Gives The Terps Another Strong Win
Zachary Wilson with Wayne Viener
After a lethargic, defensive struggle against Rutgers a few days ago, the Terps traveled over to Champaign, Illinois to take on the Fighting Illini for the coveted #1 spot atop the B1G.
Illinois started out strong offensively to start, dominating Maryland’s defense with fast breaks to the basket and absolutely carving up any schemes that were thrown at them. At one point in the first half the Illini lead by 14, but this proved not to be enough to stop the suddenly uber resilient Terps.
With things going poorly on the scoreboard, Turgeon decided to utilize a half court press defense and it completely threw the Illini off their game. Suddenly, a team that seemed as though it could make every shot was derailed to an agonizing halt.
Maryland quickly took advantage, even when Cowan was on the bench with two fouls. UMD battled back, with two late 3’s by Wiggins to trail only by 2 at the break.
Maryland’s defensive success would spill-over into the second half for a stretch as well, forcing Illinois 0/5 on their first five shot attempts. and compounded to a 1-15 streak for the home team.
Maryland’s nine point lead melted in a hurry, as Illinois went on a 7-0 run to make it a 2 point game. Strong contributions from Eric Ayala and Darryl Morsell lead an offensive second wind for the Terps and the game was sealed late with a Cowan dagger three-ball.
Having taken sole possession of the #1 spot in the Big Ten, MD’s B1G schedule grind continues. They return home to play Nebraska on Tuesday before gearing up for a grudge match against rival Michigan State, a Spartans team that needs a win at 16-8 and has no intentions of Maryland a winning for the 2nd time ever in East Lansing.
Notable Statlines, The Good and The Not So Good:
Anthony Cowan-Cowan was 11 of Maryland’s first 15 points, and he kept them within the realm of a comeback as Illinois shredded UMD’s defense early. He shot an efficient 6-11, going 3-5 beyond the arc and netting a perfect 5-5 from the charity stripe. Cowan was also more than willing to set up scoring opportunities, dishing out 6 assists in an ideal point guard performance.
Aaron Wiggins-Wiggins shot an above average 50% here, and he made two key shots at the end of the first half to put Maryland within 2 points, one of those shots being a fast break three that went in on the buzzer. Wiggins has certainly had potential this entire season, but this really was one of his few games so far where he really lived up to his role and made a meaningful impact.
Darryl Morsell-His continued defensive role for this team has much been appreciated, but tonight Morsell showed some of his offensive capabilities as well. He finished off with 15 points, getting to the line for 5 free throws and making them all. Morsell also took 5 rebounds in and gave out 4 assists. I was very surprised in his ability to get to the line here and make teams pay for giving him a chance to score, very impressive.
The Not So Good:
The Defensive Scheme Maryland Started In-The Terps early play getting down by 14. That is it for the bad list, a really short list for one of the best wins of the Turgeon era.
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