Maryland men’s basketball’s new offensive identity propels team to best start in years

Photo by Maryland Athletics

Since joining the Big Ten in 2014, Maryland has struggled in the ACC/B1G Challenge posting a 1-7 record entering Tuesday night. Maryland’s only win since 2014 was a 72-51 victory against Notre Dame in 2019. 

The last two years, Maryland struggled, scoring under sixty points in both their ACC/B1G challenge games, but this year they scored their most points in the challenge since scoring 81 in their 89-81 loss to North Carolina in 2015.

No. 22 Maryland men’s basketball (7-0) made sure to finish off their last appearance in the ACC/B1G Challenge with a bang, trouncing Louisville (0-7), 79-54, to remain one of the final 18 undefeated teams in the country. 

The Terps’ 25-point win was their largest win in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge since their 62-39 win against Penn State in 2010. 

The Terps evened their record in the challenge to 12-12. 

The Terps took down Louisville with a balanced scoring attack, with every player with more than four minutes scoring points to earn Maryland its fourth wire-to-wire win of the season.

“It’s been great,” head coach Kevin Willard said. “I’m sure it’s not going to last, so I’ve enjoyed it while it’s lasted. It’s great when you’re coaching you look up, and you’re up 25.” 

Forward Donta Scott had his best showing in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge of his career, as he led the team with 18 points after a quiet game against Coppin State.

In the last two seasons, Scott scored 11 points against Clemson in 2020 and Virginia Tech in 2021 but continued his strong senior season by knocking down 3 three-pointers and grabbing five rebounds in the win. 

Guard Jahmir Young started the night off with a three-pointer and scored seven of Maryland’s first 11 points as the Terps went on a 13-2 run to build an 18-4 lead seven minutes into the game. 

The Terps went on two large scoring runs in the second half, enabling them to break the game wide open after Louisville cut their halftime deficit to 37-26.  

Scott scored two of his three-pointers at the start of the second half. The Terps started the second half red-hot from beyond the arc. The Terps’ first five buckets of the second half were all three-pointers, building a 52-32 lead. 

The Terps have been inconsistent from three-point range all season, shooting over 40% in their games against Niagara, Saint Louis, and Miami while also shooting 20% or below in their other three games entering the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.  

The Terps finished the win shooting 37.5% from beyond the arc. The Terps also got 22 points from their bench, the most on the season. 

Guard Ian Martinez was a spark off the bench, scoring 10 points. Martinez nailed a wide-open three-pointer in transition and laid down a dunk on a no-look pass from guard Hakim Hart. 

Forward Patrick Emilien returned after missing the last game with an ankle injury and set a new season high with six points, including laying down a wide-open dunk midway in the second half.

Willard’s hot start continues in his debut season with his second double-digit win against a Power Five team before Maryland opens Big Ten play on Friday night against No. 16 Illinois (5-1) in the annual Gold Rush game.