Maryland Men Win in Second Straight Trip To Baltimore

jon-and-ernie-grahamAfter playing a game in Baltimore in December 2015 for the first time in 17 years, the Maryland men’s basketball team returned to Royal Farms Arena on December 20 against the Charlotte 49ers. With one of the top scorers in program history serving as an honorary captain on the anniversary of a record-setting night, the Terrapins struggled in front of a crowd that was on their side.

A layup by Ivan Bender of Serbia gave Maryland a 7-5 lead just over three minutes into the game. However, that two-point lead quickly turned to a two-point deficit as the 49ers’ Andrien White hit a three-pointer from the right elbow, was fouled by Maryland’s Kevin Huerter, and then made the free throw to complete the four-point play. That started an 8-0 run by the 49ers that gave them a 13-7 lead. Bender and Michal Cekovsky got increased playing time because of an injury to starting center Damonte Dodd.

Upper Marlboro native Jon Davis then gave the 49ers their largest lead of the game at 32-22 by finishing a pass from Braxton Ogbueze for a layup with 5:42 left in the first half. Turnovers and an inability to hit open jump shots and finish layups plagued the Terrapins throughout the first half, but they fought back as the half came to a close.

After Najee Garvin committed an offensive foul with nine seconds left, Melo Trimble drove down the court, but missed a layup. Cekovsky finished the ensuing scramble by tipping in the ball to beat the halftime buzzer and pull Maryland to within 37-36 at halftime. Anthony Cowan had nine points and Cekovsky scored eight to lead the Terrapins in the first half. Maryland shot just one for six from the three-point line, and turned the ball over 13 times, leading to 14 points for Charlotte. Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said Charlotte’s zone defense caught his team off-guard.

“We didn’t expect them to start in zone. We’ve been practicing in zone a lot, and it showed in the second half,” Turgeon said. “They did some things a little bit different in their zone, and we were just kind of standing around, and we just couldn’t really get any rhythm. The turnovers were disappointing…the no-look passes and throwing to guys that weren’t there.” Turgeon added that injuries and illness racked the team in the week leading up to the game.

The Terrapins got off to a fast and furious start in the second half, scoring on each of their first three possessions, capped by Cekovsky finishing off an alley-oop from Huerter. The layup gave Maryland a 42-39 lead and forced Charlotte to call a timeout just under a minute into the second half. The Terrapins retook the lead with an 11-2 run over a 3:42 stretch on a jumper by Bender and back-to-back-to-back three-pointers by Huerter and Cowan for a 56-49 lead with 11:15 left. Another three by Jared Nickens just over 30 seconds later extended the lead to 60-51. A goaltending call on an attempted layup by junior guard Melo Trimble gave Maryland a 67-55 lead when a media timeout was called with 7:32 left in regulation. However, the 49ers wouldn’t go away.

Davis scored 6 straight points for the 49ers to pull them to within 69-61, but L.G. Gill set up Nickens for a three-pointer that stretched the Maryland lead back out to 72-61 with just under six minutes left in regulation. Trimble and Brantley then hit back-to-back threes to give the Terrapins an 83-64 lead with 3:47 remaining, effectively putting the game out of reach. Maryland

closed out the game on a 16-9 run over the last five and a half minutes and cruised to a 88-72 win before a paid crowd of 7,139, improving to 12-1 heading into Big Ten play. Trimble finished with 21 points (17 in the second half) to lead the Terrapins, while freshman Anthony Cowan added 16. Cekovsky, Huerter and Bender each finished with 10. Davis led all scorers with 28 points for the 49ers.

This was the second straight year that Maryland has played a game in Baltimore, which is home to a significant portion of the team’s fan base. Turgeon praised the crowd in Baltimore.

“It’s the best crowd we’ve had in three or four games, so I was proud of that. Our guys like coming over here. Every time I come to this city, there are so many Terp fans over here that make you feel special, so we’ve enjoyed it the last two years. Of course, we won both games, which helps, and we’ve had great crowds, so it’s been a lot of fun,” Turgeon said.

During the first media timeout of the second half, honorary captains Ernie and Jon Graham were recognized. Ernie currently ranks 13th on the all-time scoring list at Maryland. On December 20, 1978, Graham set Maryland’s single-game scoring record by scoring 44 points as the Terrapins defeated North Carolina State 124-110 in the season opener of the 1978-1979 Atlantic Coast Conference at Cole Field House. Jon, a graduate of Calvert Hall College in Towson, played for two years at Penn State before transferring to Maryland for his senior season last year.

Maryland will begin its Big Ten schedule on Dec. 27 against Illinois at the Xfinity Center in College Park.

Terrapins football begins new era in Big Ten

By Andrew Koch

Maryland Head Coach Randy Edsall and his staff have finalized their roster, and the Terrapins have broken camp as they get ready for their first season in the Big Ten Conference.

After announcing in 2012 that it would be leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference after helping create the conference in 1953, the University was sued by the conference for the exit fee of $52.3 million. That exit fee had been raised twice within the previous year. According to ESPN, the fee was first increased to $20 million in 2011, after Syracuse and Pittsburgh joined the conference, and then up to $52.3 million the following year, when the University of Notre Dame announced that it would join the ACC in all sports except football.

Two months later, when Maryland announced that it was going to join the Big Ten, the ACC responded by withholding Maryland’s share of the conference’s TV and bowl revenue. Maryland filed suit, calling the move “an illegal penalty.” After being sued for the exit fee, the University filed a $157 million countersuit against the conference. In the suit, the school claimed that the ACC tried to recruit a pair of Big Ten schools to join after Maryland announced it was leaving. In a settlement that was reached on Aug. 8, the ACC will be allowed to keep the $31.4 million in TV and bowl revenue, and Maryland won’t owe the conference any additional money.

With all the legal wrangling in the background now in the rear-view mirror, the Terrapins football team focused on preparing for a new season and a new conference. Maryland went 7-6 in 2013, its final season in the ACC, including a 3-5 record in conference games. In training camp, much of the competition was on the offensive side of the ball. According to Matt Bertram of the Athletic Department’s Media Relations Office, this year’s training camp saw a wide-open competition at tight end. That position will have a young group, with the most experienced of the five on this year’s roster being sophomores Andrew Isaacs, Brian McMahon and P.J. Gallo. The other two tight ends on the roster are redshirt freshmen Eric Roca of Puerto Rico and Derrick Hayward of Wicomico High School in Salisbury. At running back, four players were competing for two spots to get regular playing time. However, one of those running backs, Jacquille Veii, has been converted into a wide receiver, and will be lining up in the slot.

The defense will be anchored by senior Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil (Towson High School) and Sophomore Yannick Ngakoue at linebacker. Cudjoe-Virgil had 18 total tackles, three sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss and an interception in six games as a redshirt junior last year. Ngakoue added 10 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. The pass rush will be led by defensive end Andre Monroe, who led the team with 9.5 sacks, good for a tie for sixth in the ACC. Monroe set career highs in total and solo tackles in a game (10 total, seven solo in Maryland’s loss to Marshall in the Military Bowl), sacks and tackles for loss (three sacks, and 3.5 tackles-for-loss in an overtime win at Virginia Tech).

Maryland will open the season on Aug. 30 in College Park against James Madison. The non-conference schedule will include games at South Florida, home against West Virginia, and at Syracuse. The Terps will play their first Big Ten game on Sept. 27 at Indiana. The following week, they’ll play their first Big Ten home game against fifth-ranked Ohio State in the Buckeyes’ second visit to Maryland.

Following their bye week, Maryland will host Iowa on Oct. 18, and then travel to number 14 Wisconsin. The Terrapins will play at Penn State on Nov. 1, and after another week off, will have a night game at home against Michigan State. Maryland will wrap up the season with games at Michigan on Nov. 22, followed by the regular season finale at home against fellow Big Ten newcomer Rutgers on Nov. 29 during Thanksgiving weekend.