Maryland Terps

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Cancun Preview: 5 things to know about Maryland-Illinois St.


Cancun Preview: 5 things to know about Maryland-Illinois St.

Maryland plays the first of its two games in the Cancun Challenge Tuesday night in Mexico against Illinois State.

Here are 5 things you need to know to get ready for the matchup.

1) A chance to get away

Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon has continued to stress that this trip to Cancun will be crucial for his team as a way to get away and have his players bond with one another. The Terrapins have been on a fast track when it comes to building chemistry after not being together as a full unit for much of the summer.

That team chemistry shows itself in different lineups, especially on offense when this team can look like an elite point-scoring machine when it’s clicking.

2) Don’t want to keep it close

Maryland’s last two games have been come-from-behind victories over Georgetown and Rider. The Hoyas are proving themselves to be a quality opponent -- as we saw with how they were able to push Duke to the brink on Sunday -- but the Rider win is still alarming in many ways.

Turgeon has made the point that every team will give Maryland its best shot because of the ranking next to their name. Allowing teams to stay in it give them confidence and that snowballs to the point that you see the results you saw last week. First priority vs. Illinois State? Get them in a hole early.


3) The Redbird to watch

Turgeon was highly complimentary of Illinois State senior DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell, who is the team’s only double-digit scorer and its biggest offensive threat.

Expect Rasheed Sulaimon -- brought in to be the team’s perimeter stopper defensively -- and Jake Layman to both see time guarding him. Not only is he a volume scorer, but he is efficient as well. He shooting 53 percent from the floor, 40 percent on limited three-point attempts, and 70 percent from the line on about five attempts per game.

Take Akoon-Purcell out of the game and the rest should take care of itself on that end of the floor. Overall, the Redbirds are 265th in the nation in offensive efficiency, scoring just 0.906 points per possession.

4) Let’s look at Melo Trimble

Melo Trimble has to be the quietest leader in points per game of any team in the country. I say that for this reason -- he has averaged 16.3 points per game on efficiency numbers far below what we saw from him last season.

So far this year, he is shooting about three percentage points lower from the field, about eight percentage points lower from three, and a whopping 17 percentage points lower from the free throw line.

Imagine what he’ll do when he kicks it into gear. Maybe that starts in Cancun. My guess would be that if it does, this Maryland offense fully gets going as well. “Fully gets going” is a scary thought, too, because the Terrapins are already 35th in the nation in offensive efficiency.

5) Figuring out the rotation

The domino effect of Dion Wiley’s injury is having more of an impact than probably originally anticipated. Unable to as easily go small, there is a clear drop-off in production when lineups that include Damonte Dodd or Michal Cekovsky are heavily leaned upon.

What’s the solution?

It’s tough because when Layman is allowed to shift to the power forward spot, it totally changes the dynamic of the offense because of his versatility. He can score on the block or kick to shooters. That has to be used sparingly, though, because Layman at the four means Jared Nickens at the three, but Nickens is the most reliable relief option for the much-taxed backcourt of Rasheed Sulaimon and Melo Trimble.

Junior college point guard transfer Jaylen Brantley being able to take on significant minutes would make things easier, but it’s difficult to say when that will happen. For now, these are the cards Turgeon can shuffle.

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Maryland women's shooting struggles lead to second-round loss vs. N.C. State


Maryland women's shooting struggles lead to second-round loss vs. N.C. State

RALEIGH, N.C.  — Kiara Leslie had 21 points and 11 rebounds against her former team, and North Carolina State beat Maryland 74-60 on Sunday in the second round of the women's NCAA Tournament.

Leslie, who spent three seasons at Maryland before graduating and transferring to N.C. State, finished one point shy of a career high.

Kalia Ealey and Chelsea Nelson added 12 points apiece while Akela Maize scored 11 to help the fourth-seeded Wolfpack (26-8) earn their first Sweet 16 appearance since the late Kay Yow led an inspirational run in 2007.


N.C. State, which shot 45 percent and was 7 of 14 from 3-point range, will play the Oklahoma State-Mississippi State winner on Friday night in the Kansas City Regional semifinals.

Brianna Fraser had 17 points for the fifth-seeded Terrapins (26-8), who were held to 37 percent shooting.

Leading scorer Kaila Charles, plagued all day by foul trouble, finished with four points -- 14 fewer than her average -- on 2-of-8 shooting before fouling out with 2:29 left. She had scored in double figures in 30 of her previous 33 games.

Maryland's offense, which averages 80 points, had trouble scoring against one of the nation's stingiest defenses.

N.C. State allows 56.7 points per game and only one team in the past two months -- top-seeded Notre Dame -- has reached 70 against the Wolfpack.


Maryland: The Terrapins were denied their sixth Sweet 16 in seven years in part because their potent perimeter game was nonexistent. Maryland, at 39.1 percent the nation's seventh-most accurate team, missed all five of its 3s. Kristen Confroy, who's third in the nation from long range at 40.3 percent, didn't attempt one.

N.C. State: Leslie kept tormenting her former teammates by turning steals into layups. Big brother C.J. Leslie led the N.C. State men's program to a Sweet 16 in 2012, and now she's headed to one, too.


N.C. State will play either top-seeded Mississippi State or ninth-seeded Oklahoma State on Friday night in the Kansas City Regional semifinals.


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Big Ten season comes to a close for Maryland in final seconds of second round


Big Ten season comes to a close for Maryland in final seconds of second round

NEW YORK -- After struggling with injuries and poor play most of the season, Wisconsin is peaking at the right time.

Brevin Pritzl broke a tie with a foul-line jumper with 28 seconds left and Khalil Iverson secured the win with a steal in the waning seconds, leading Wisconsin past Maryland 59-54 on Thursday in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament.


Brad Davison and Iverson each made two free throws in the final nine seconds, and the ninth-seeded Badgers (15-17) advanced to the quarterfinals against top-seeded Michigan on Friday at Madison Square Garden after winning for the fifth time in seven games.

"It's a credit to these guys to my right and also the guys back in the locker room, how they've grown over the last month," Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. "It has been fun to watch and hopefully we've got a lot more basketball yet to play."

The win wasn't pretty, but the Badgers made all the key plays down the stretch and eight-seeded Maryland (19-13) didn't.

The biggest plays were offensive rebounds by Iverson and Ethan Happ after Pritzl and Davison missed 3-point shots with the game tied at 53.

After the second miss with 40.3 seconds to go, Wisconsin called timeout and Pritzl got the game-winner 12 seconds later.

"I think, especially at the end of this game, the possessions are magnified," Davison said. "When you do things right those final possessions, you can really turn things around."

Maryland had a chance to tie the game when Kevin Huerter was fouled by Happ with 9.2 seconds to go, but he missed the first of two free throws and the Terps came up short for the seventh time in 11 games.

"I feel like we were fighting uphill all night," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "We had the lead 24-23. It's the one time we had the lead. We tied it a bunch of times. It really came down to two things. We fouled too much and we couldn't get a rebound when we needed a rebound."


Happ had 14 points and seven rebounds for Wisconsin, which lost to Michigan State 68-63 less than a week ago. Davison finished with 13 points while Iverson had 11 and six rebounds and Pritzl 10 points. The Badgers, who lost starting point guard D'Mitrik Trice and reserve Kobe King to injuries in December, won despite shooting 36 percent.

"I personally figure we just have to string together an entire game for 40 minutes and just staying toe to toe with them like we did last game," Iverson said. "I know we'll be ready for them."

Huerter had 20 points to lead Maryland. Anthony Cowan Jr. added 16 points and Bruno Fernando had 12 points and nine rebounds.

Wisconsin never trailed in the second half, but it never led by more than three points in the final 11:40 until the closing seconds.

Pritzl's jumper broke a 53-all tie. Huerter then missed the first free throw and made the second. Maryland fouled Davison on the inbounds pass and he made both shots with 8.5 seconds to go for a 57-54 lead.

Wisconsin fouled Cowan rather than let him attempt a game-tying 3-pointer. Since it was a nonshooting foul, the Terps had to inbound with 5 seconds to go and Iverson stole Dion Wiley's pass and then closed the game with two free throws.

"He has evolved into our defensive end stopped," Gard said. "For him to come in and make a play like that at the end to seal it was great."