With Reese Sidelined, Maryland Basketball Cruises to Victory

After an eight day break in between games, Maryland got back in the win column with a 30-point win over Saint Peter’s on Thursday evening.

Hakim Hart finished with a game-high 20 points (7-of-8) while adding a pair of steals and rebounds. Hart was one of three players to finish in double-figures, joining Jahmir Young (14 pts) and Patrick Emilien (10 pts).

In fact, Thursday would prove to be Emilien’s first career start as a Terp with forward Julian Reese sidelined due to his shoulder injury. Emilien wouldn’t be the only first-time starter with Ian Martinez drawing the start with Don Carey coming off the bench.

So it was fitting that Martinez got the scoring going for the Terps off a mid range floater and the Terps then followed that up by forcing a shot clock violation. After both teams struggled offensively through the opening minutes, Noah Batchelor ended a brief 4-0 Peacock run with a three-pointer then after Hart forced a turnover, Emilien responded with a layup to give the Terps a quick four-point lead again. Willard leaned on his full roster with Ike Cornish, Batchelor, and Caelum Swanton-Roger getting playing time as well, but in the first ten minutes, the Peacocks were taking advantage of a small Terps squad with Reese out and had a big advantage in rebounding with a plus-eight rebound margin. Scott, Emilien, and Carey would combine for a quick 6-0 run that would force St. Peter’s to use their first time out of the game. The Terps would continue their stifling defense by forcing another turnover out of the Peacocks timeout, but both Jahmir Young and Donta Scott dealt with foul trouble early to help St. Peter’s finish enter the first half in the bonus. With Young and Scott on the bench, it was Hart’s time to shine after picking up a quick seven points. At the under-four time out, the Terps had a 12 point lead up 26-14.

The Terps defense held the Peacocks to just 25% from the field and 14.3% from three as well as forcing nine turnovers. It seemed like every possesion the Peacocks had, the shot clock was hitting single digits simply because of the defense the Terps were playing. The Terps were able to use the fast break to help them out on offense by shooting 50% from the floor and also shot 60% from the free throw line. The one area on offense they struggled was from three, though as Maryland finished, 25% from behind the arc through the first half.

Still after taking a 16-point lead into the locker room, Maryland’s defense picked up where it left off and forced yet another turnover. Saint Peter’s first three possessions of the half would end in turnovers and Young started the scoring of the second half with a transition dunk off one of the Peacock turnovers. Scott then followed that up with two straight three-pointers before Hart decided to join the three point party and make one of his own to help the Terps build a 11-6 run heading into the under-16 timeout.

Maryland would lead by as many as 36 points sparked by the 13-0 second-half run as Willard saw all but one player play at least ten minutes in the win. While Saint Peter’s won the battle on the boards, Maryland’s 57% shooting in the second half helped put the game away.

Maryland will get another rest period before they welcome UMBC to the Xfinity Center on December 29th at 7 PM, the final tune-up game before Big Ten play resumes.

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