In a post-Thanksgiving contest against Coppin State this afternoon, Maryland did what they needed to do in a 95-79 win over Coppin State.
Julian Reese (24 pts), Hakim Hart (22 pts) and Jahmir Young (21) became the first three Terps to score 20 or more points in the same game since Juan Dixon, Chris Wilcox and Lonny Baxter did so in the final game at Cole Field House. “These guys play unselfishly. They like to pass the basketball. I think as they’re getting more used to playing with each other, they’re understanding when to get certain guys shots, when to get guys the basketball,” head coach Kevin Willard said post game. “We’re still a major work in progress, but I think from the standpoint of those first five, I think they have a really good feel for what everyone can do on the court.”
With Patrick Emilien out due to an ankle injury, Reese opened the game hot from the floor after knocking down his first nine shots, one shy away from the program record. “We knew we had a size advantage,” Willard added. “We haven’t shot the ball very good at home, shot well on the road but he was a monster. He knew they were loading up the box when he got the ball in the post so it was an easy way to go get it.” After failing to record one last season, Friday’s performance gave Reese his second double-double and fourth double-figure of the season. “His consistency going there has been really why he’s been doing what he’s doing.”
Hakim Hart also played a big hand in Maryland’s success after notching 10-plus points for the fifth consecutive game. “I’m getting used to what he can do. He’s very good on ball screens, very good coming off a lot of dribble hand offs. He’s an excellent passer and he’s worked really hard on his shot to become a consistent shooter, so I just think that when he’s on the floor he’s a little bit of a mismatch and I have a lot of confidence in him.”
Still, the Terps’ performance against Coppin State was far from its best showing this season after allowing Coppin State to shot 54.9% from the floor and 9-of-19 from deep, including 28 points from former Penn State guard Sam Sessoms. The size advantage gave the Terps a clear edge on the glass, but the poor three-point shooting resurfaced after finishing 4-of-21 thanks to just three players. But Willard took accountability for that performance with tougher competition on the horizon for Maryland basketball.
“I’ve never had a game after Thanksgiving, I was in a tournament. I technically gave these guys a glorified day off yesterday. We practiced early in the morning at 8 AM, we were done by 10 [AM], we didn’t do any five-on-five. Just because we had been on a grind and we have a grunt ahead of us, I apologize for a bad practice and told them they have to pick me up because I gave them a bad practice and that’s the reason, we’re playing bad. It’s not them, it’s me.”
Maryland will travel to face Louisville on Tuesday, November 29 at 7 PM.
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