On Saturday afternoon, the Maryland Terrapins squared off against the Minnesota Golden Gophers for a conference battle in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Fueled by aspirations of taking down one of the Big Ten’s elite, Minnesota provided a strong showing in the first, entering the half up 33-26.
However, as the matchup progressed, Maryland fought its way back.
Maryland’s ability to capitalize down the stretch was unmatched. Leading by just one point in the final minutes of the game, the Terrapins went on a 6-0 run to closeout the game. Maryland’s 85-78 victory over Minnesota, marked its seventh conference victory this year.
Let’s see what we learned from the game.
What We Learned
1. Minnesota’s Defense Was Unable To Contain Maryland’s Talent.
This season, Minnesota leads the Big Ten in defending the three, and is currently ranked second in the conference for field goal percentage defense. While the statistics highlight the Golden Gophers’ defensive abilities, those numbers didn’t mean much to the Terrapins. Maryland shot 61 percent from beyond the arc in the win, connecting on 11 of its 18 shot attempts.
The Terrapins also managed to generate a 51 percent field goal percentage on the afternoon. In comparison, the Golden Gophers shot 53 percent from the perimeter, and just 42 percent from the field. With Minnesota occupying one of the most dominate defenses in the Big Ten, stronger showings are required when facing good teams.
Throughout the game, Maryland rarely struggled to manufacture quality scoring opportunities. If Minnesota expects to closeout top Big Ten teams, its talented defense must rise to the occasion.
2. Maryland Has Other Players That Can Step Up.
As Big Ten play got underway earlier this season, one question that resonated in the minds of many, was whether or not Maryland could get other players to step up when Melo Trimble is unable to produce.
However, throughout the first portion of conference play, Maryland has proven that they possess players who can make sizable contributions alongside its star player. This win over Minnesota exemplified that idea, as several players displayed their importance to the team.
Freshman forward Justin Jackson was outstanding for the Terrapins, leading the way behind his 28-point, 10-rebound, double-double. Jackson’s shots were on target all game, as he shot 5-of-5 from the perimeter.
Freshman guard Kevin Huerter also came up big, scoring 19 points. While the two freshman excelled, Trimble also found a variety of success. He was everywhere for Maryland, scoring 13 points with seven rebounds and nine assists.
If Maryland can continue to put together these collective team performances, get used to seeing the Terrapins on top of the Big Ten.
3. Minnesota’s Rebounders Have Potential.
In the loss, redshirt-junior center Reggie Lynch and freshman forward Eric Curry, each pulled in 10 rebounds. While the end result may not have been what they may had hoped, the team’s 41 total rebounds compared to Maryland’s 31, says something.
With Lynch and sophomore forward Jordan Murphy in the starting five, Curry’s bench play is of utmost importance. With these players controlling the boards, Minnesota has three rebounders it can look at to produce. Murphy, who notched just four boards in the loss, is the Big Ten’s seventh best rebounder with 7.7 rebounds per game.
If Minnesota wants to step up, it must capitalize on the opportunities made by these standout big men.
Minnesota will look to bounce back from this loss against Illinois, as Maryland sets its sights on Ohio State. Both teams contain a surplus of talent, and if utilized correctly, can help bring in numerous future Big Ten victories.