Smith’s Phenomenal Play Keeps UMD Undefeated at Home
Zachary Wilson and Wayne Viener
Playing against the team that initially ignited their current win streak, the Terps hosted the Northwestern Wildcats in the conclusion of their regular season series.
The first 3 minutes of this match were quite mediocre, with UMD shooting disappointingly alongside Northwestern, but then Jalen Smith turned it all the way up. Smith would go on his own 7-0 scoring run, scoring 10 of Maryland’s first 15 points (Smith would notch a double double in the first half alone). This also juiced up the Terp defense, forcing a 0-7 FG stretch for NU during that Smith run, putting Maryland up by 9.
Northwestern was determined to fight, as MD continually settled for threes on offense and NU surged with a 9-2 run to bring it back within just 4 points. Specifically, Wildcat forward Ryan Young proved effective with his post moves against Jalen Smith, scoring 6 points in the first half solely in the paint. The momentum would eventually swing back, as the Terps found heat from beyond the arc, finishing the half 7/17 from deep, heading into the locker room up 12 on a 12-3 scoring run.
It wasn’t a fantastic start to the second half either, as Northwestern found a lot of points inside as they continued to feature Ryan Young and his ability to score on close to the hoop. Young, along with some strong mid-range and outside shooting from Wildcat freshman Boo Buie, made sure MD wouldn’t cruise to an easy victory. Maryland really struggled from beyond the arc to start, beginning 0/8 from three in the second. With these factors combined the Wildcats were able to bring it all the way back within 4 again.
Maryland did not lose their poise with their offensive struggles, instead deciding to switch their tactics and drive into the paint as opposed to throwing up threes. UMD was able to swing the paint scoring back in their favor, and rescue their double digit lead with 3 minutes left to go. From there, the Terps could safely switch into cruise control and finish this hard-fought match on top.
Stix Smith finished one rebound shy of a 20/20 game. The last Terp to do that was Joe Smith in 1995 with a 31/20 game in the NCAA tournament.
Anthony Cowan moved past 1,800 points in his career and is now in 7th place on the all-time scoring list passing Tom McMillan tonight.
As Penn State lost to Illinois and snapped their own 8 game winning streak, the Terps are now two games up in the first-place spot in the Big Ten (this would be their first Big Ten conference title in program history if they can pull it out). UMD will travel to Columbus to play the 25th ranked Ohio State Buckeyes in the start of a very tough final stretch to the regular season.
Notable Statlines, The Good and The Not So Good:
The Good (Great):
Jalen Smith-Nearly reaching the sacred 20-20, tonight he had 22 points on 8-14 shooting and 19 rebounds, Smith was nothing less than electric on offense and on the boards. He also showed his skill of staying out of foul trouble, finishing with just one personal foul tonight in 37 minutes of play. He didn’t fare as well as usual on defense, allowing Ryan Young to get 17 points on 8-11 shooting.
Anthony Cowan-While his overall shooting wasn’t that spectacular, only 4-10, Cowan’s ability to get to the line late, making 9-11 from the charity stripe, proved vital when UMD’s offense needed points to rebuild their lead late.
Darryl Morsell-Morsell’s hustle and defense were on display as they always are, but he also shined in getting the offense rolling in the second half, finishing with a team leading 7 assists and grabbing 5 boards. His contributions really brought Maryland back from that offensive funk they were falling into as they kept shooting threes they didn’t need to.
The Not So Good:
Maryland’s Three Point Shooting-A Terps weakness restated at nauseam, UMD again struggled from beyond the arc again tonight. With an offense that felt like they were forcing shots from deep far too much, MD finished the game 26.7%(8-30) from beyond the arc and only 7.7% (1-13) in the second half.
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