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12/12 Preview: Maryland vs. Jacksonville State

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One-loss Terrapins looking to continue strong non-conference season

NCAA Basketball: Howard at Maryland Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten — and college basketball in general — will have a slow Monday night. Maryland is the only Big Ten team on the schedule, as the Terrapins look to continue to build a case for the Top 25.

Big Ten Game of the Day:

-Maryland vs. Jacksonville State

  • Time/TV: 7:00PM ET / ESPNU
  • SportsLine Spread: Maryland (-14)

Maryland (10-1) looks for their fourth straight win when they host a Jacksonville State (5-5) team that has suffered back-to-back losses to Samford and Louisiana Monroe.

The Terrapins are coming off Saturday’s 66-56 win over Saint Peter’s in a game that wasn’t as close as the score suggests. Maryland built up a 40-18 halftime lead before letting the Peacocks chip away in the second half.

Maryland got a boost from a pair of freshman against Saint Peter’s. Kevin Huerter scored a career-high 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting, while the highly-recruited Justin Jackson broke out with 19 points after three straight single-digit scoring outings.

Jackson increased his season scoring average to 11.2 points per game, while fellow freshman Anthony Cowan is third on the team with 10.0 points per game. The output has been a welcome addition for a Maryland team that is looking for offensive options outside of All-American Melo Trimble. Trimble, a junior point guard, is averaging 17.2 points, 3.0 assists and 1.2 steals per game on 44.4 percent shooting.

7-foot-1 junior Michal Cekovsky has played well since Maryland lost senior big man Damonte Dodd to a knee injury. Cekovsky is averaging 9.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in just 16.7 minutes per game this season, and will be asked to provide a post presence with Dodd out for at least one more game.

The Gamecocks post a balanced scoring attack, with five players averaging at least 8.5 points per game. Senior guard Erik Durham leads the way with 12.4 points per game on 51.8 percent shooting, including shooting a team-leading 54.4 percent from the 3-point line. Norbertas Giga adds 12.2 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, while Malcolm Drumwright averages 11.3 points and 4.2 assists per game. Greg Tucker and Christian Cunningham chip in 9.9 and 8.5 points per game, respectively. That quintet has started all 10 games for a Jacksonville State team that appears to know how they want to play.

Maryland will need to close out on Durham and the Gamecocks, who are shooting 42.9 percent from behind the arc on the season, including making 9-of-17 3-pointers in Saturday’s 88-83 overtime loss to Louisiana Monroe.

The road Big Ten environment shouldn’t be too much of an issue for the Gamecocks, who have played just one home game this season and are in the midst of a nine-game road stretch.

On the other hand, Maryland is playing their fifth straight home game and is 7-1 at the XFINITY Center this season.

Maryland looks to use Monday’s game to build momentum and learn more about themselves prior to opening up Big Ten play against Illinois on Dec. 27. Jacksonville State won’t be a pushover, but the Terrapins should have what it takes to pull out a fairly comfortable win.

  • Pick Against The Spread: Maryland