Maryland may have room to grow on offense, but they had no problem moving to 2-0 in a 71-51 win over Western Carolina.
After finishing with seven points and rebounds in the opener, Julian Reese grabbed his first double-double after notching 19 points and 12 rebounds on 7-of-9 shooting. He was one of three Terps in double figures, joining Jahmir Young (16 points) and Hakim Hart (10 points).
Maryland opened up the first eight minutes of the game shooting 42%, good enough to give them an early 16-8 advantage. The emphasis to get out and run paid dividends early as Western Carolina found themselves with seven early fouls that put Maryland in the bonus with just over eleven minutes to go in the half. Defensively, the Catamounts attacked Julian Reese early, but he stood his own. Reese reeled in an early rebound with an emphatic “give me that” before hustling back to the other end to throw down an emphatic two-handed slam. Reese opened up the game with ten of Maryland’s first twelve points.
With just over eleven minutes elapsed in the half, a finesse spin-around lay-in from Hakim Hart put Maryland out to a 20-10 lead and forced WCU coach Justin Gray to call timeout. At the 6:40 mark, sophomore Ike Cornish made his first appearance of the season after missing the Niagra game with a lingering hamstring injury. Patrick Emilien, the Canadien grad transfer from St. Francis made his presence felt on defense in the first half. With just over five minutes left in the half, Emilien came up with a big block before forcing a turnover on the very next possession. After only scoring three points in over seven minutes, Jahmir Young was able to convert two baskets around the rim, one of which gave him a trip to the line, before Hakim Hart was able to end the half with two fast-break lay-ups to catapult the Terps to a 32-15 lead into the locker room.
A big reason for the Terps’ early leading was holding Western Carolina to just 20% shooting in the first half, including 2-of-12 from three, as the 15 points were the fewest points allowed since 2014. But for the second consecutive game, Maryland struggled on the boards after finishing minus-3 in the first half rebounding differential, while missing their first ten three-point attempts.
Maryland started the second half right where it ended the first, scoring on four straight possessions going into the first media timeout. Jahmir Young got the scoring started with a contested shot in the paint, and on the next two possession, Donta Scott and Julian Reese were able to pick up points off of offensive rebounds. Minutes into the half, Hart finally knocked one down from the key to expand the Terps’ lead to twenty, 41-21. Donta Scott, who scored zero first-half points, was able to get going more in the second half and made his presence known in the low block where he scored his first four points early in the half.
After sparsely trading baskets for the next five minutes, Maryland began to expand on its twenty-point advantage. After laying a hard screen at half court, a slashing Julian Reese converted a three-point play with a flash pass from Jahari Long. On the next trip down the floor, it was Reese again who expanded his point total to 19. The Terps stone-walled the Catamounts and led by as much as 30.
GONNA FLY NOOOOOOOW
— Maryland Men’s Basketball (@TerrapinHoops) November 11, 2022
Out of the timeout, Ian Martinez threw a lob to the high-flying Scott who converted the play of the game alley-oop. Maryland continued to dominate the Catamounts, with a deer three coming from Noah Batchelor that put 70 on the board for Maryland with three minutes to go. Willard was able to get a couple of late minutes for junior Pavlo Dziuba and freshman Caelum Swanton-Rodger, while Western Carolina was able to shrink the lead back to 20 but that wasn’t enough as Maryland came out on top, 71-51.
Maryland will host Binghamton next Tuesday, November 15 at 7PM.