Donta Scott ties career-high as Maryland basketball cruises past St. Louis, 95-67

Head coach Kevin Willard has Maryland basketball running like a well-oiled machine. The Terps cruised to a 95-67 victory over the St. Louis Billikens. With this win, Willard became the first coach in Maryland school history to start their tenure 4-0. There were Maryland fans chanting his name at the end of the game.

“The Maryland fan base has been phenomenal. They welcomed my family and [me]. So they’ve been great for the last seven months. I haven’t met a bad Terp fan, I haven’t had a bad experience,” Willard said about the Terps fan base. “Like I said, they welcomed me and my family. When you move your family, and you have a sophomore and a freshman in high school, you make them move, and everyone’s there to support your family; It makes this, I think it’s what makes this place such a special job. It’s why Gary [Williams] was here so long. That’s why Mark [Turgeon] was successful. That’s why Lefty [Driesell] was successful. Obviously, we get to coach great players, but we have a great fan base.”

Both teams struggled early to put the ball in the basket. As we’ve seen with Maryland basketball under Kevin Willard, the ball movement in the half-court has been superb. It led to Donta Scott scoring the first points of the game. He tied his career high in points with 25 and added five rebounds, a block, and a steal.

“I just try to stay locked into the game plan because once you play great defense, that leads to great offense. My coach always tells me to take my time. I didn’t try to force anything, so I just took my time today,” Scott said.

Maryland basketball fans have something to be energized about with this 4-0 start. It’s still early but it’s not hard to get excited about what the program is doing.

“It starts with everybody. It starts with coaches, managers, and players. We come every day, locked in, ready to get better. But not just that, from our history at Maryland; there’s a great history behind Maryland,” Scott said about the state of the program. “There are a bunch of great legends that came up, and everybody worked to push us and make us better and have talks with us. So it is not just, oh, what we’re building on now, it’s been here. We just had to show it. So now we showing it.”

From there, the Terps went on several runs throughout the first half. These runs were more about what they did on the defensive end rather than how well they shot the ball. They didn’t allow Gibson Jimerson to set the tone out on the perimeter. The Terps’ defense stifled the Billikens’ ability to pass the ball efficiently as they shut down passing lanes and asserted their dominance at the rim.

They held Yuri Collins, the Billikens’ second-leading scorer, and top passer to 12 points and six assists.

“It was really key for us to contain him. So just following our coach’s game plan, really helped us a lot actually,” Scott said about playing defense against Collins. “Just containing him and making sure we did the things [in the] the game that we had to do, like just from picking ’em up or just easing up, just listening to our coach. That really set the tone for the game. Once we got that done, it was all about just taking our time on offense and scoring.”

Julian Reese continues to shine bright for Maryland basketball. He finished with five rebounds, four points, three assists, two blocks, and two steals. A solid highlight for the sophomore came when he made a filthy pass to Hakim Hart for a layup and blocked a shot at the other end with authority.

While the Billikens got their deficit within eight, 25-17, thanks to threes from Jimerson and Fred Thatch, another late run by the Terps allowed them to cruise to a big lead. As Maryland basketball went into the locker room, Billikens head coach Travis Ford was livid with the referees after a foul wasn’t called in the paint and earned himself a technical foul. He had to be restrained by players and coaches. Ford believed there was contact made on a layup attempt.

Maryland basketball was running in Mohegan Sun Arena early in the first half as they went into the halftime break up 51-27. Hakim Hart led all scorers with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Don Carey had the hot hand behind the three-point line. Carey finished with 16 points on 4 of 10 from the perimeter and pulled down six rebounds.

“It felt good, every day I just stick with my shot,” Carey said about his perimeter shooting. “My teammates encourage me, my coaches encourage me to just stick with the script. I put in the work every day, so eventually, those shots will fall.”

The Terps were awarded free throws coming out of the halftime break. In the second half, both teams shot the ball at 50 percent from the field and struggled to get the perimeter shot going. The Billikens did manage to get their bench involved and keep pace with the Terps in bench scoring. They also did a better job of scoring in the paint as well.

Javonte Perkins was their high point man with 17.

Maryland basketball will play the winner of the Miami Hurricanes and Providence Friars matchup tomorrow afternoon at 1 PM on ESPN.

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