Maryland basketball maintains dominance inside Xfinity Center

Maryland basketball bounced back in a big way on Wednesday night with an 88-70 win over Minnesota, setting the stage for the final home game this weekend.

Maryland will have a chance to end its conference slate perfect at home for the first time since the 2015-16 season. The homecourt advantage inside the Xfinity Center has been evident over the years with Maryland 111-28 at home over the last eight seasons and if the Terps are able to pull off the upset against Northwestern, it will mark the third time since the 2015-16 season that Maryland finished 16-1 in all home games.

Wednesday night’s crowd for the Minnesota game was far from the atmosphere that fans created one week prior for the upset over then third-ranked Purdue, but that wasn’t on the mind of the players after rebounding from the Nebraska loss. “I feel like you can’t just let down in the Big Ten so if it’s from playing number one to playing whoever, at the end of the day it’s a team that’s coming in your gym trying to take over what you’ve got going on. I feel like that’s not something that we look forward to happening,” Donta Scott said following the win. “At the end of the day, if the wins come or not, we’re going to give our all. We’re going to play to the best of our ability at the end of the day. This is our passion. This is what we step on the court every day to do.”

Courtesy of a season-best 73.1% shooting in the first half, Maryland used a 25-4 run to bust Wednesday’s game wide open. “We really were rolling there for a while – I think at one point we were 30-for-40 – so it was definitely good to be back at home. I think Donta making a couple of shots early really helped relax everybody. We struggled to score against Nebraska’s defense; I thought we started a little bit slow tonight. It was our third game in seven days – these end of the year stretches can be tough. I thought Ian [Martinez] gave us a really good boost defensively; once we got going defensively that really allowed us to open up offensively.”

Maryland finished the night shooting 68.1% from the field, the sixth-best percentage in school history, while also knocking down seven of their 13 attempts from three. With all five starters in double figures, Julian Reese set a new Big Ten career high with 21 points while recording his second straight double-double and fifth of the season. Donta Scott, meanwhile, bounced back on the offensive end with 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting, while Hakim Hart added another 20 points, six assists and four steals. “From now on I’m just going to stay in attack mode, that’s what this team needs and its going to be great.”

Wednesday’s win marked the seventh win in Maryland’s last nine games as they’re now tied with Indiana for third in the Big Ten. The Terps could have company, though, with four teams tied for fourth with a 9-7 record. Three of those teams (Illinois, Rutgers, Michigan) will be in action on Thursday night as the Terps look to secure a double bye in the Big Ten Tournament.

Maryland has a favorable schedule to close out the season with ESPN’s matchup predictor favoring the Terps against both Northwestern and Penn State with a road game against Ohio State sandwiched in between, but the biggest question remains: how successful can the Terps be on the road? Maryland enters March just 4-8 away from the Xfinity Center, still look to become the ‘road warriors’ that fans have waited to see.

“Really just taking this momentum and taking it on the road when that time comes, I think that’s a big step we’ve got to take and be road warriors and figure out how to win on the road, tough environments,” Don Carey said earlier this month.

Maryland will host Northwestern on Sunday for a noon tipoff.

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