Kevin Willard Reviews Maryland’s 30-Point Win over Saint Peter’s

After an eight-day break, Maryland started slow but once they found their groove, Saint Peter’s proved no match to slow down the Terps on Thursday night as Maryland ran away with a 30-point win.

It’s the largest win in nearly two years as Maryland did so by holding Saint Peter’s to just 45 points, the fewest points allowed since February 6, 2019, when the Terps topped Nebraska. While the Terps shot over 50% from the field in both halves, the Peacocks were held to just 30.4% shooting from the field.

“They were really locked in on the scouting report. We switched all the stuff we were supposed to switch. I just thought they looked mentally fresh to me,” Willard said postgame. Maryland tweaked its starting lineup with Patrick Emilien and Ian Martinez making their first starts of the season as Willard explained the rationale.

“When I give Jahmir [Young] a break with Jahari [Long], usually Don then comes out and Ian [Martinez] goes in and that’s really where we’ve gotten in trouble. We haven’t gotten in trouble with the starting lineup, starting lineup, their plus is great. So, what I try to do today, [because] I had a little bit of confidence in the game was just see if I can get Jahari and Don together a little bit so that when we sub, we’re not having the drop off that we’ve had. Cause we’ve only been down, we haven’t got off the great starts, but we’ve only been down four or five or six, and then all of a sudden we sub and we go down 13 really quick so I’m trying to experiment with a little bit of ‘alright, when I put Don in at least I know I’m having someone that could be a scorer that’s a veteran with Jahari.”

Young finished with 14 points despite 3-of-4 shooting from the field and credited the extended break for Thursday’s dominant win. “Just making sure our urgency was there every practice, making sure we got back to what we were doing when the season started,” Young said of the team’s practices the past week. “We just got after it and made sure we were sharp on both ends of the floor. I feel like we got better this past week and it really helped us get this win.”

Emilien filled the void left by Julian Reese, who was sidelined as he recovers from the shoulder injury that sidelined him for the second half against UCLA. Willard declined to provide an update on his star forward but did take note of Emilien’s production as he was one of three players to finish in double figures (10 points) while adding four rebounds and three blocks in 26 minutes to finish with a plus-26 scoring differential.

“Pat’s been awesome all year. I mean, unfortunately for Patty, he’s a walking band-aid. He’s had this sprained ankle, sprained ankle, and then he got in the Tennessee game and the first four minutes he’s in the game, he sprained his toe once some guy dives on him. When he’s kind of in rhythm and consistent. He’s been really good all year. It’s just his problem is he hasn’t been healthy, so I’m hoping this time off will kind of get him right.”

In the end, ten different players played at least ten minutes as Maryland built a lead of as much as 36 points to allow Willard to empty his bench. “We just kind of gave them a chance for guys that have been practicing hard and working hard to get out and play a little bit. I think in an environment that was a little bit less stressful than playing Wisconsin, Illinois, Tennessee, and UCLA. So it’s a little bit of a break in that kind of gives me see where guys are and I thought, you know, guys like Ike and Noah, you know, even Cal, just to get him out there and have him get some game time [because] he practices really good, but man, as a freshman you get really nervous and the only way to get over those nerves is playing a little bit.”

Maryland will have one final next week when it hosts UMBC next week, but after losing the battle on the glass 38-30, Willard knows where his team needs to improve heading into the January 1 matchup against Michigan with Big Ten play right around the corner again.

“We’re just not a big team so I don’t think we’re ever gonna be a great rebounding team. I think our goal is just to be a good rebounding team.”

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