Maryland Basketball had a block party in College Park and gave fans a good show in their first Big Ten/ACC Challenge victory since being inducted into the Big Ten conference.
Third-ranked Maryland Basketball was 8-0 coming into this Big Ten/ACC Challenge matchup with the now 6-2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
After their Orlando Invitational championship win, they couldn’t afford to come back to College Park and lay an egg. The Fighting Irish have good guard play and an experienced forward in John Mooney who is averaging a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Maryland basketball Sophomore Forward Jalen Smith recorded four double-doubles in the first eight games of the season. This matchup was one to watch.
Darryl Morsell started the game at one of the forward spots and guarded Mooney. This is a move by Mark Turgeon I wasn’t expecting but it did make sense given his defensive prowess.
Notre Dame’s big men Mooney and Juwan Durham did the early scoring for the team as the Fighting Irish had a 9-4 lead with 15:10 to go in the first half. An Anthony Cowan Jr. steal and layup brought the Terps within one, 9-8.
The Terps missed 10 consecutive three-point shots. Neither team was shooting efficiently. They only made a combined nine shot attempts and the shooting percentage for both teams was under 30 percent.
At the 7:37 mark, the Fighting Irish led 13-11 and Mooney had a quick five points and seven rebounds.
Aaron Wiggins had two blocks and drew a charging foul early to help the Terps defensively. Both of them came as a result of him chasing down the ball and swatting it in the air.
The Terps went on a 10-2 run to grab a six-point lead. Their lead increased to 11 after an Eric Ayala slam and yell that got the Xfinity Center crowd excited. They had a 30-19 lead after that basket.
The half ended on a high note as Wiggins missed a three-pointer and jumped over Mooney to execute a nice putback slam. That was the perfect way to end the half for the Terps and follow through on a missed shot.
THAT’S how you follow up your own shot pic.twitter.com/ihxK4yCT0J
— ESPN (@espn) December 5, 2019
The Terps had a 12-point, 32-20 lead at halftime. Ayala was the game’s leading scorer with nine points accompanied by three assists and a steal. They outscored the Fighting Irish 21-7 to finish the half.
Durham and Mooney had seven points apiece and a combined 10 rebounds.
The Terps got hot at the right time on the floor and it started thanks to multiple plays being made by Ayala and Wiggins. Wiggins has been on a tear lately. Maryland Basketball is at its best when he plays well.
Maryland kept their foot on the gas in the second half knocking down shots courtesy of Ayala, Cowan Jr., Wiggins, and Morsell.
The Terps led 44-31 at the 14:59 mark and were shooting at 46 percent from the field. Smith had recorded another double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
The Terps were in control of this game with a 50-33 lead. At this point, the Terps recorded five blocks. Three of which came by way of Wiggins chasing down the basketball.
Maryland basketball won its first Big Ten-ACC Challenge with a 72-51 victory. They were 0-5 in this challenge since their move to the Big Ten. This 9-0 start was their first in 20 years.
Defense played a huge role in the victory. The Terps blocked 10 shots and created 10 Notre Dame turnovers. Smith finished with 15 points and 16 rebounds, a career-high for him. He also blocked five shots. Mooney’s 17 points and 12 rebounds weren’t enough to beat the third-best team in the country.
Next up for Maryland basketball is the Illinois Illini (6-2) Saturday, at 5 pm on ESPN2.