Jahmir Young’s career night carries Maryland over UCLA

UCLA’s Brandon Williams spun with the ball beneath the basket before effortlessly sinking a jump shot over the raised arms of Maryland’s Donta Scott. In a complete turn of momentum, UCLA narrowed a 20-point deficit to just four with only six minutes left on the clock.

The 7-4 Maryland Terrapins traveled to Los Angeles on Friday for their fifth road game of the season, facing the 5-5 UCLA Bruins who had still yet to play an in-conference game.

The Terps entered the night coming off of a three-game win streak, most recently beating Nicholls State, 73-67. UCLA was in an opposite situation, buried in a three-game losing streak with its latest loss handed by underdog Cal State in a 72-76 defeat. 

Maryland extended its win streak to four, defeating the Bruins, 69-60.

Maryland’s starters included forwards Jordan Geronimo, Julian Reese and Donta Scott along with guards DeShawn Harris-Smith and Jahmir Young. For UCLA, forwards Adem Bona, Sebastian Mack and Aday Mara started with guards Dylan Andrews and Lazar Stefanovic.

“We got in foul trouble, we got small, but I think going small must have helped us a little bit because we were able to get lower, box out and create space,” Maryland head coach Kevin Willard said in his post-game interview.

Jahmir Young was the difference maker for Maryland to start the game, leading the Terps with eight of their eleven points in the first five minutes to establish a multi-possession lead over the Bruins. Young made all three of his shots in the opening minutes— a pair of three-pointers and a layup. 

With exactly ten minutes left in the first half, Maryland had doubled UCLA’s score at 20-10 as the Bruins converted just one of their 10 shot attempts. As for Maryland’s scoring success, Young was single-handedly growing his team’s lead. 

By the five minute mark, Young converted seven of his eight shot attempts to account for 21 of Maryland’s 34 points, tying UCLA’s total score. Half of his baskets in that stretch were three-pointers.

UCLA went into the half making only two of its last ten shots and thus found itself falling behind the Terps at a 28-43 score. 

Young, who led Maryland with 23 points in the half, was trailed by DeShawn Harris-Smith and Donta Scott who each accounted for seven. UCLA’s established point-leaders were Sebastian Mack with 12 points and Adem Bona with 5 points.

Subbed in for Julian Reese just four minutes into the second period, Caelum Swanton-Rodger received his fourth personal foul after being on the court for just 30 seconds. His total playing time totaled just three minutes, forcing Willard to rely on transfers Mady Traore and Jordan Geronimo as Reese’s substitutes for most of the game thereafter.

“Mady’s been in a tough spot all year because of injuries and he hasn’t practiced at the five spot, but he went out there and did a phenomenal job of not messing the game up,” Willard said. “He had some really good defensive possessions, and I think everyone stepped up.”

Swanton-Rodger would foul out completely with eight minutes left to play, followed by Reese who fouled out two minutes later, and then Geronimo who fouled out with a minute left. 

UCLA’s chance to make a comeback looked greatest with just ten minutes left in the game as Maryland hit a lengthy field goal drought that spanned over eight minutes. The Bruins managed a nine-point run to crawl back within 10 points, and the margin appeared to slowly shrink as the clock neared zero.

With five minutes remaining, Sebastian Mack made a jump shot inside the paint to make it a two-point game. But before UCLA could tie or even take the lead for its first time, Jahmir Young stopped the Bruins’ momentum with a layup and jumper on back-to-back possessions to force a timeout. 

After the break, two more layups and a free throw from Young created a sizable gap to prevent Maryland from losing its lead. The Terps were up by nine when time finally expired.

Young finished with a career-high of 37 points, followed by Donta Scott who scored 17 and DeShawn Harris-Smith who scored nine. Despite playing 22 minutes, Julian Reese finished with a season-low of just one point and only four rebounds.

“We haven’t won a road game this year so I really wanted to help lead these young guys and this team,” Young said after the game. “We have a break for a few days, so I wanted to go out there and leave it all out on the floor.”

The Terps host the Coppin State Eagles next Thursday in College Park.