Mount St. Mary’s senior guard Joshua Reaves drove down the court with no one in sight to impede his way to the basket. Reaves glided into the lane and jumped to lay it in, but as he jumped he was met with resistance. Freshman guard DeShawn Harris-Smith hustled from the other end of the court to meet the senior at the rim, blocking the shot with his long arms straight up.
“That’s just energy plays that takes no talent to go out there and block shots,” said Harris-Smith. “It was just all about how bad you want it.”
Maryland men’s basketball beat Mount St. Mary’s, 68-53, Tuesday night at Xfinity Center. The Terps’ defense was a big reason Maryland improved to an 11-0 all-time record against the Mountaineers.
The Terps forced 14 turnovers and blocked six shots, holding the Mountaineers to 35.6% shooting. Maryland also gave up just two three-pointers in the game.
“Going into the game we knew from the box scores of their two exhibition games they had taken a ton of threes and even going back to last year, they were very [a] heavy three point shooting team,” said head coach Kevin Willard. “They were locked in and I think that’s what, they can keep that all year long, and get better on the offensive end. That’s really good.”
The Terps opened the game playing through junior forward Julian Reese. Reese scored the first five Maryland points from the post and free throw line. Jahmir Young added a layup to give Maryland an early 7-2 lead.
The score stalled there with both teams going scoreless for the next four minutes, as the defenses took over. Both teams combined for ten missed shots and three turnovers before Reaves scored on a jumper ending the scoreless stretch.
Freshman Jaime Kaiser Jr. broke Maryland out of its scoring funk with the first three of the game, and his first points as a Maryland Terrapin. The three broke the Terps out of an 0-4 slide from beyond the arch to start the game.
Maryland carried a slim lead throughout the half. The slim lead eventually increased to a double digit advantage late in the half due to the scoring of Harris-Smith. The freshman guard earned his first points as a Terp on an putback, finishing on the opposite side of the rim from where he rebounded the ball.
“It was great,” said Harris-Smith. “I had my family out there. My whole high school team came, so I had a lot of confidence.”
Harris-Smith scored eight of his ten first half points within the final five minutes of the first half. He ended the half with a layup sending the Terps into the break up by 14.
The Terps started the second half with the same defensive intensity. Donta Scott stole the ball in the half court and rifled a pass to Harris-Smith running in transition. Young ran down the other side and Harris-Smith threw it up to him. Young dunked it in completing the guard-to-guard alley-oop and erupting the Xfinity crowd.
The Terps were rolling for much of the first ten minutes of the second half, then the offense suddenly went cold. The Terps went without a field goal for almost eight minutes scoring their points exclusively from the free throw line. Despite the cold shooting the Terps were able to weather a small run from Mount St. Mary’s to hold onto the lead.
“We just got to take the runs and then come back and fight, punch a little bit harder then they did,” said Harris-Smith.
Reese ended as the game’s leading scorer with 18 points to go along with his eight rebounds. Harris-Smith and Young both ended with 12 points.
The Terps will go on the road to take on Davidson on Friday in the 2023 Asheville Championship Tournament.