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.

Maryland Women Celebrate 10th Anniversary of National Championship

 

 

The fifth-ranked Maryland Lady Terrapins started off 2016 by celebrating the 10th anniversary of their national championship, when Head Coach Brenda Frese’s team came from behind to defeat Duke 78-75 in overtime at what was then known as the Fleet Center in Boston. The first 2,006 fans at the Jan. 2 game against ninth-ranked Ohio State received commemorative T-shirts as they made their way inside the Xfinity Center. During timeouts, videos were played on the scoreboard as players from that championship team shared their thoughts on Frese and their championship season. However, at the end of the day, Maryland wasn’t able to celebrate a fifth straight win against Ohio State.

Maryland bounced back from a tough loss, coming up just short against defending national champion Connecticut, 83-73 in the Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 28. Brionna Jones scored 24 points against the Huskies. The Terps responded with a 79-63 win two nights later in their Big Ten opener at Illinois. Jones had another big game, scoring 16 points and grabbing a career-high 19 rebounds.

Maryland held Ohio State scoreless for the first 4:05 of the first quarter. Ohio State finally got its offense untracked, but the first quarter was a sloppy one for both teams, as they combined for 13 turnovers. Maryland led 18-14 after the first, led by seven points from Shatori Walker-Kimbrough. The Terrapins stretched that lead out to 28-20 with a 10-3 run over a three-minute stretch, capped by a layup from Walker-Kimbrough with six and a half minutes left in the second quarter, forcing Ohio State to call a timeout as the crowd of 10,119 roared its approval. However, the Buckeyes held the advantage for the rest of the quarter, cutting Maryland’s lead to 40-37 at halftime. Redshirt senior guard Brene Moseley led all scorers with 13 points and five assists.

Early in the third quarter, Jones found herself in foul trouble after getting called for her third foul on Ohio State’s first possession of the quarter. That triggered a 9-0 run by the Buckeyes to take a 46-42 lead as Maryland called a timeout with 7:42 left in the period. That timeout appeared to spark the Terrapins, as Moseley set up back-to-back three-pointers by Kristen Confroy and Walker-Kimbrough, and then made a free throw to put Maryland back up, 49-47 with just under seven minutes left in the third. Ohio State closed out the quarter on a 7-2 run to take a 61-57 lead into the final 10 minutes.

A three-pointer by the Buckeyes’ Ameryst Alston stretched Ohio State’s lead to 70-63 with 7:11 left in regulation. Walker-Kimbrough responded with a three of her own that cut the Buckeyes lead in half and pulled Maryland to within 72-69 with 3:11 left. However, that was as close as the Terrapins (12-2, 1-1 Big Ten) would get the rest of the way as they lost to Ohio State (10-3, 2-0 Big Ten) 80-71. Kelsey Mitchell of the Buckeyes led all scorers with 27 points, and the Buckeyes outscored the Terrapins in the paint, 34-14. Moseley scored 20 and dished out 10 assists off the bench. This was Maryland’s first ever loss in the Big Ten after 22 straight wins, and snapped a 28-game home winning streak. Buckeyes head coach Kevin McGuff acknowledged the significance of the win, but didn’t want his players to make it out to be more than it really was.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Maryland, and what Brenda and her staff have been able to accomplish here, so it’s a great road win against a great team. At the same time, we gotta take it for what it is: one Big Ten win,” McGuff said. “So we got to get back to work, make sure we continue to get better. As I told the team, we’re going to see Maryland again, and they’re going to be better, because they have a great team, and they always improve throughout the year, so if we’re not improving, and we’re not better, it’s not going to go our way.”

Frese chalked up the uncharacteristic play of her team to the effects of playing three games in less than a week.

“It definitely looked like you saw the effects and the impact of three games in six days. It’s not an excuse in terms of how we played. Like I told our team in the locker room, when you want to be a championship team, we want to compete for titles, there’s going to come a time in the tournament where we got to play three games in three days,” Frese said. “I thought there were a lot of uncharacteristic plays of us with fatigue today, which is the mental side of the game for us as a team that we got to improve on.” Frese credited Ohio State for coming out with more energy in the second half, and said her team played loose with the ball, committing 20 turnovers. With all the hype about celebrating the 10th anniversary of Maryland’s national championship, Walker-Kimbrough took responsibility for the loss.

“Today…I don’t think I came out ready to play, and so I’ll take this loss for my team. I have to come out better, and play a lot better,” said Walker-Kimbrough, who scored 16 points, but only shot six of 17 from the floor, and committed seven turnovers.

Maryland’s next game will be at home on Jan. 7 against Nebraska (9-3, 0-1 Big Ten) for “Basketball Bingo” Night.

Maryland begins first Big Ten basketball season

By Andrew R. Koch

The Maryland Terrapins’ first basketball season in the Big Ten is officially underway. The UMD Men’s and Women’s basketball teams hosted a Superman-themed “Super B1G Maryland Madness” rally on Oct. 17 at the XFINITY Center to kick off the 2014-2015 season. Radio Men’s basketball announcer Johnny Holliday served as the Master of Ceremonies. He began the evening by pointing out the new video scoreboard over center court. The two video-boards measure 12-and- a-half foot tall by 33 foot wide each and feature the Under Armour logo at the bottom.

The XFINITY Center in College Park, Maryland
The XFINITY Center in College Park, Maryland

The Women’s team was introduced first, players making their way down to the court from the luxury suites into the lower bowl. The coaching staff, led by Head Coach Brenda Frese, was introduced next. She expressed confidence in both her team and the Maryland fans in her speech to the crowd.

“How are the best fans in the country doing tonight?” Frese asked in her opening remarks.

She told the Terrapin faithful that after falling just short in their Final Four appearance last season, her team is “extremely hungry” and “extremely motived” for the coming season. Keeping in the spirit of the rally she also informed the crowd that she’s been asked what it will be like for Maryland to come to the Big Ten. Her response to them she stated is always, “What will it be like for the Big Ten to come to Maryland,” ending her speech in a round of applause.

Following a performance by the dance team, the Men’s team was introduced next and players rose up one by one onto the stage. As a unit, they walked through red lasers down onto the floor, took a ball provided to them by one of the ball boys, and dribbled down to the basket for either a layup or dunk. After the coaching staff was introduced, Head Coach Mark Turgeon came out of a phone booth, ditched a pair of glasses, and opened up his shirt to reveal a Superman-inspired Maryland logo. His remarks to the crowd were inspired by the slogans of their apparel provider.

“We will play harder. We will play smarter. We will practice like champions, and we will…protect this house,” the fourth-year head coach told the crowd. He added that even though the season is just getting started, this is already one of his favorite teams in 16 years as a college basketball head coach. Emphasizing their position as student athletes, Turgeon praised his player’s for going to their classes, getting good grades, and maintaining a good work ethic in practice.

“They come to practice on time, they work their tails off, and they’re very coachable,” Turgeon said of his team, which was picked to finish 10th in the Big Ten in the preseason coaches’ poll. He praised the strength the conference has showed on the national stage over the last several years.

“The Big Ten is a heck of a league, arguably the best league in the country the last four years; great coaches, great players,” Turgeon said, whose recruiting class has been ranked in the top 10.

Redshirt senior guard Richard Pack will be among the players counted on to direct Maryland’s offense. The Detroit native is a two-time transfer, having played his freshman and sophomore seasons at Florida International University before transferring to North Carolina A&T and then Maryland. He’s tried to impart to the Maryland freshmen how things work in college basketball and how it’s different from high school. Pack feels that the team will perform well this year because of how close the group is. He was asked about how that confidence can be translated into positive results:

“A lot of the confidence has come from how hard we’re working and how together we’re playing, so we lean on each other, so we give each other confidence.” Pack said. “We’re a tight group, and I think that’s how it can translate. Whenever someone is feeling down, someone else picks it up. Someone’s having an off night, another guy picks up that slack. We have that type of team this year where I think we have a lot of guys who can contribute.”

The Maryland women were picked as the preseason favorite to win the Big Ten. Coach Frese says that means her team has already garnered respect from its new league.

“I think people have obviously followed our program and watched our tradition and our past,” Frese said, pointing out that the games during the regular season are more important than a preseason ranking. However, the team will have to move forward without the most successful player in program history, Alyssa Thomas. Frese says it will have to be a group effort to fill the void that Thomas is leaving behind.

“No one’s going to do what Alyssa Thomas did. She’s one of the special players who’s hanging in the rafters for a reason, but I do think it’ll be by committee,” Frese said.

Two of the players Frese singled out to watch are sophomore center Brionna Jones of Havre de Grade, who will provide a presence in the post, and sophomore guard Lexie Brown, who was named to the All ACC Freshman team last season. In the team’s intra-squad scrimmage, Brown connected on a pair of three pointers.

As part of the evening, the teams unveiled new uniforms from Under Armour. Both teams have red, white and yellow uniforms trimmed with the colors of the Maryland flag. The men’s team will also have a black alternate uniform. Each team then performed a dance routine that Brown said took two to three weeks of several hour practices with the dance team to perfect.

November’s schedule for the

Maryland Women features six home games, including South Florida on Nov. 19 and Loyola on Nov. 24.

The Lady Terrapins will play James Madison and Washington State in the San Juan Classic in Puerto Rico during Thanksgiving weekend. The Maryland Men will play seven home games and travel to Kansas City to join Arizona State, Iowa State, and Alabama in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic the week of Thanksgiving.

Photo Credit

Showdown at the Comcast Corral: Maryland holds off Texas rally 69-64 to head to the Sweet Sixteen for the third year in a row

On Tuesday, March 25 at 7 p.m. the Maryland Terrapins and the Texas Longhorns faced off for the fifth time in school history, with Maryland leading the all-time series 3-1. The #4 seeded Terrapins entered the “Go Big or Go Home” battle 25-6 overall (12-4 in the ACC), while the #5 seeded Longhorns were 22-11 overall (11-7 in the Big 12). The second round matchup would determine if everything truly was bigger in Texas—unfortunately for the Longhorns, the Terrapins held on to win 69-64 and are headed to Louisville for their third Sweet Sixteen in a row where they will face off against #1 seeded Tennessee.

They did it again! The Terps' Women's Basketball team head to the Sweet Sixteen for the  third time in a row.
They did it again! The Terps’ Women’s Basketball team celebrates securing their trip to the Sweet Sixteen. (Photo credit: Maryland Athletics)

“Neither team deserved to lose that game—to be able to see the play of both teams between the runs and battles. It was a complete 40 minute game. I’m excited to be able to go [to the Sweet Sixteen], and we are going to make a run for the roses,” head coach Brenda Frese said after the game.

Gameplay started rough for the Terps with freshman guard Lexie Brown missing a jumper, followed by a foul by Katie Rutan, which sent Texas’s Brady Sanders to the line. She made both free throws, but Maryland’s senior center Alicia DeVaughn tied it up with a layup. Both teams went scoreless for at least the next three minutes, when Texas’s Chassidy Fussell broke the streak with a three-pointer to push Texas back in the lead by three. Back-to-back three-pointers by Terps’s guard Laurin Mincy, with a Texas jumper in between set the Terps off on a mini run, which was then stopped when Texas’s Brady Sanders returned to the line for two and make them both.

Frese attributed Mincy to be “a big piece of the runs we made tonight.” The point spread never rose more than three points until 6:44 left in the half when DeVaughn nailed a layup, sending the Maryland’s lead to five. Texas went on another short run, eventually leading by six with just over a minute and a half to go in the half. The Terps chipped at the Longhorn lead with a senior forward Alyssa Thomas shutout to tie the score at 31 at the half.

“I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen Alyssa [Thomas] with zero points and we were tied at halftime,” Frese said during the press conference. Thomas responded to questions about her not scoring in the first half, saying, “I was struggling to score and some of my teammates had a hot hand. I knew I just had to be patient and wait for my opportunity.”

The second half saw a change in Maryland’s strategy, but the Terps maintained the pace of the game. Thomas found her first points of the game at 18:21 with a jumper. Maryland got hot with 16:36 left in the game when Thomas made a jumper and was fouled which turned into an old-fashioned three-pointer for the Terps. She followed her free throw up with another layup after a missed jumper by Fussell and a rebound by Brown and the fans, a showing of 4,042, went wild. Maryland went off on another run which earned them the largest lead of the night, 11. A late run with three pointers scored first by Fussell, then back-to-back by Krystle Henderson cut the Terrapins’s lead to just a one-possession game at 2:11 to go. A layup, this time by Texas’s Imani McGee-Stafford cut the lead even further to a single point game. A missed three-pointer by Fussell, which would have given the lead to Texas, followed by a foul on McGee-Stafford which sent Mincy to the line for two (she made both), pushed the Terps’s lead back in the other direction. A missed potential game-tying three-pointer by Nekia Jones ultimately cost the Longhorns the opportunity to advance in the tournament. A late foul by McGee-Stafford, her fifth and final, sent Thomas to the line for two–she made both and thereby solidified Texas’s fate.

“Sequoia [Austin] and Chloe [Pavlech] gave me confidence. They told me they weren’t worried and told me to get to the basket and keep working,” Thomas said of her very different performance during the second half.

The big story of the night of course was Thomas being shut out in the first half to come back in the second and score 16 points, earning her 26th double-double for the season. Also leading in points was DeVaughn with 12 points and seven boards; Lexie Brown and Laurin Mincy had ten points apiece. Malina Howard, a starter early in the season also played 30 minutes and contributed nine points and three boards.

“It was poetic justice. She continued to keep fighting in practice and just kept working,” Frese said of giving Howard more than double the playing time she’s had in a single game all season.

The Terps head to Louisville, Kentucky, to play #1 seeded Tennessee on Sunday, March 30, where Coach Brenda Frese hopes to change the outcome of her two recent NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances, which have ended in losses. Sunday’s game will mark the third straight trip to the Sweet Sixteen for Alyssa Thomas who played her last game at Comcast Center tonight.

“This is the most depth that we’ve had in the last four years that I’ve been here. Just the energy and how we are willing to fight for each other is definitely different. It’s going to be a special ride,” Thomas said of their road ahead for a chance at the championship title.

The game time is yet to be determined.

Follow me on Twitter @LawofCooking for updates.