With three seconds left on the shot clock, Dekedran Thorn pulled up from beyond the arc for the three-point shot. The ball swished through the net to give the Braves a three-point lead just a few minutes into the game, but it wouldn’t last long, and it was the only lead they’d have.
The 5-4 Maryland Terrapins hosted the 1-8 Alcorn State Braves on Tuesday night in Xfinity Center, looking to continue their 16-game win streak at home which was tied for being the sixth-longest in the nation.
Maryland entered the game coming off of an 81-75 overtime win against Penn State to mark its first in-conference win of the season. Alcorn State on the other hand struggled to crawl out of a seven-game losing streak that started on Nov. 14 against Arkansas State.
The Terps stretched the Braves’ losing streak even further, dominating in a 105-65 victory.
“We’ve put in a lot of individual work over the past two weeks, so being at home and getting into a rhythm, I knew it was only a matter of time until we started shooting the ball better,” Maryland head coach Kevin Willard said post-game, reflecting on the win.
Maryland’s starters included forwards Jordan Geronimo, Julian Reese and Donta Scott along with guards DeShawn Harris-Smith and Jahmir Young. For Alcorn State, forwards Djahi Binet, Jeremiah Kendall and Dekedran Thorn started with guards Byron Joshua and Mike Pajeaud.
The first five minutes of the game proved to be back and forth, with Alcorn State even taking the lead after a three-point basket from Dekedran Thorn. Maryland made 44% of its shot attempts while Alcorn State trailed just behind at 43% during that time.
“They had more energy to start,” Jahmir Young said after the game, regarding Alcorn State. “Having a better start is something that we need to focus on, it’s unacceptable.”
But as the period progressed, Maryland went on scoring runs as Alcorn State hit scoring droughts, despite the higher shooting percentage flipping between teams. A pair of three-pointers from Noah Batchelor were crucial for advancing Maryland’s lead early in the half to create a 10-point cushion.
Thorn continued to be the difference maker for Alcorn State, forcing a Maryland timeout after dunking the ball over the head of Julian Reese with seven minutes left on the clock. He led the team with nine points while making all four of his shot attempts in that stretch to half time, bringing Alcorn State back within five points of the lead.
Despite Thorn’s efforts, Alcorn State trailed Maryland at the break, 33-47.
Jamie Kaiser Jr. led the Terps in points at the half with nine, trailed by Noah Batchelor, Jordan Geronimo and Jahmir Young who tied with six.
Maryland started the second half with three straight baskets, including a three-pointer from DeShawn Harris-Smith, to advance its lead by over 20 points. Alcorn State kept up the pace, making five of its six baskets in the first several minutes to prevent the deficit from becoming 30.
“Me and Coach Willard have been working out at 8:30 every morning, just me and him, working on my shot to build my confidence up,” Harris-Smith said during his post-game presser.
Maryland proved its relentlessness, eventually finding that 30-point lead as Alcorn State went two for 11 in shot attempts. Pushing the Terps past that mark was freshman guard Jahnathan Lamothe with his first three-pointer of the season. The score became 83-53, Maryland, with just seven minutes left in the game.
Lamothe closed out the night with a career-high of 10 points.
“The young guys coming off the bench, just getting the chance to grow a little bit and get used to each other is huge,” Willard said. “Those guys have been working hard so it’s good to see them get rewarded.”
The final minutes proved uneventful as Alcorn State failed to close the gap any further. The only form of excitement came with 30 seconds left on the clock, when head coach Landon Bussie received his second technical foul of the game after arguing against a call, resulting in an ejection.
The ejection resulted in a pair of free throws from junior guard Ben Murphy to make it a 40-point difference, advancing the Terps to a 6-4 record and sending the Braves home at 1-9.
Maryland’s final point-leaders were Julian Reese (15 points, seven rebounds) and Jahmir Young (13 points) ahead of Jordan Geronimo, DeShawn Harris-Smith and Jamie Kaiser Jr. who each scored 12.
Maryland hosts Nicholls State next Tuesday back in Xfinity Center.