Maryland basketball (2-0) put on a defensive and shot selection clinic to beat the Navy Midshipmen (1-1). Here are a few takeaways from the win.
Maryland basketball continues its dominance at home. Without fans in the stands, that hasn’t changed. Over the last three seasons (this win included), they have recorded a 48-7 (.873) overall record. They own the record for most home wins in Big Ten history with 48. The Terps are also 53-6 in non-conference home games over the last seven seasons, including nine straight wins dating back to 2018.
Eric Ayala made all 13 of his shots from the field, perimeter, and free throw line against Old Dominion. Darryl Morsell and Galin Smith followed in his footsteps going a combined 12-for-12 against Navy. Seeing a game like this from Smith is going to be pivotal. He asserted himself on the offensive end and it paid dividends. As the new floor general, Ayala is showing Terps fans what he’s capable of and that will be big moving forward into conference play.
Maryland’s use of the 2-2-1 zone press defense was a major factor in the win because the Midshipmen couldn’t move the ball as well as they did against the George Washington Colonials who they racked up 26 assists against.
The Terps were on fire from the field in this game. They shot 60 percent from the field in the first half and 75 percent in the second half. Their area of attack was the paint. They owned it. The Midshipmen couldn’t stop them. A 42-28 advantage in the paint means that your frontcourt is better than theirs. A game like this shows what the Terps frontcourt is capable of if they are aggressive on both ends of the floor.
Check out the takeaways from the win that pushed the Terps all-time series lead to 32-28.
The Maryland basketball defense controlled the first half down the stretch
The Midshipmen came out ready to play and kept the game close for the most part in the first half.
The Terps 2-2-1 press caused a bit of trouble for the Midshipmen and at times they were able to beat the press and score. That defense was a new development that Turgeon brought into the system this season and the Terps players took to it.
They pulled away after a nice fast-break sequence where Jairus Hamilton brought the ball down the floor and ended with Smith fighting through three Navy defenders to score with a hook shot.
Smith was largely responsible for the Terps gaining that 32-25 halftime lead because of his tough post play. He finished the first half with eight points and 12 points total.
Terps experienced guards continue to lead by example
Coming out of halftime, Ayala knocked down two threes to boost the Terps lead back to 10 points (35-25) and 14 (40-26) later in the second. This is the kind of progress and production Mark Turgeon wanted to see out of his floor general.
After a down year, I’m sure Ayala is glad he’s performing the way he is as well.
Morsell led the way for the Terps in the first half with 11 points. He got to the basket early and showed off his jump shot in the midrange.
Aaron Wiggins came on strong in this half. The 2019-20 Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year led the Terps on a 10-0 run to give them a 60-42 lead. He also showed his defensive acumen stretching out to block a shot on a dribble-drive and took a stolen pass to the house for a converted and-one opportunity.
Navy lost the assist battle, and their offense was nonexistent
As I mentioned earlier, Navy was able to beat George Washington because they shared the basketball and knocked down their shots. Against Maryland, they struggled mightily as the game went on because the Terps stifled their efforts to get the basketball inside and forced them to become a three-point shooting team. They were 6-of-23 (26 percent) from out there.
The 2-2-1 one press that Turgeon has worked into the game plan was very effective against the Midshipmen. Throughout the game, the press moved up the length of the floor and caused problems. While Navy was able to crack it at times, you saw in this game just how pressure affects a team’s offensive flow.
The Terps will take on the Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers (1-0) on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on the Big Ten Network. The Terps won the last meeting 92-77 in 2018 and have an 8-0 record against them.
The Navy Midshipmen will face Mount Saint Mary’s tomorrow at 3 p.m. at the Xfinity Center.