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Justin Jackson carries Terps for big road victory over Minnesota

Justin Jackson carries Terps for big road victory over Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS -- Justin Jackson had a career-high 28 points and 10 rebounds, making all five of his 3-point attempts, and No. 22 Maryland beat Minnesota 85-78 on Saturday for its sixth straight win.

Jackson and fellow freshman Kevin Huerter combined to go 10 for 12 from 3-point range. Huerter finished with 19 points and Melo Trimble added 13 points, nine assists and seven rebounds as the Terrapins (19-2, 7-1) kept pace with Wisconsin in a tie for first place in the Big Ten.

Akeem Springs led the Gophers (15-7, 3-6) with a season-high 23 points, but they lost their fifth consecutive game despite a 41-31 rebound advantage and a 21-10 assist-to-turnover ratio. The biggest problem for Minnesota was its defense, with Maryland making more than half of its field-goal attempts (30 for 59), including an 11-for-18 performance from beyond the arc.

The Terrapins were four-point underdogs, their memory still relatively fresh of last year's 68-63 flop at Minnesota that gave the Gophers their first Big Ten victory after starting 0-13 in conference play. Minnesota has three new starters after the mess of last season, creating the toughest road test to date for a Terrapins team that won its first six contests away from campus.

The start was sluggish, with both teams missing nine of their first 12 shots, but the Gophers got their crowd going with a 19-1 run sparked largely by Springs that gave them a 21-9 lead past the midpoint of the first half. Four of their first six made field goals were dunks, further enhancing the energy in the 89-year-old arena.

Amir Coffey, who has produced most of his best rookie performances against Minnesota's most daunting opponents, swished a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 44 seconds left before halftime for a 33-26 lead. He scored each of his 11 points in the first half.

Minnesota entered the afternoon with the Big Ten's lowest 3-point shooting percentage allowed and Maryland was third, but the game became sort of a long-range shooting contest as players on both sides began to heat up.

Trimble's twisting, foul-drawing layup, after which he glared at the Minnesota student section for emphasis, put the Terrapins in front 58-56 for the first time since 9-8. Trimble gave them the lead again at 73-71 with a similar, gravity-defying play that drew a foul on Springs for a three-point play with 2:49 left.

Nate Mason answered with a 3-pointer and tied the game at 76 with a pair of foul shots with 1:47 remaining, but Huerter hit a 3-pointer from the corner to quiet the crowd and help the Terrapins inch toward the finish.

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Report: Top quarterback recruit Caleb Williams gave Maryland last word before college decision

Report: Top quarterback recruit Caleb Williams gave Maryland last word before college decision

On Saturday night, the No. 1 quarterback prospect of the 2021 recruiting class will announce his decision on where he will spend his college career. And he may not even have to leave the DMV to do it.

Gonzaga’s junior signal caller Caleb Williams has narrowed his list of options down to three schools: Oklahoma, LSU and Maryland. Though the Sooners under quarterback guru Lincoln Riley are considered the favorites to land him, the hometown Terrapins have outlasted a plethora of other schools throughout Williams’ decision-making process. According to The Washington Post, he gave head coach Michael Locksley and the Terps final word, last speaking with Maryland coaches on June 27.

Ranked the fourth overall player in his class by 247sports, Williams is coming off back-to-back seasons in which he was named first-team All-Met. As a junior in 2019, he threw for 1,770 yards and 19 touchdowns while showcasing his dual-threat ability by rushing for 838 yards and another 18 scores.

Locksley and the Terps have already enjoyed a successful offseason of recruiting highlighted by landing 247sports’ fourth-ranked wide receiver in the 2020 class, Rakim Jarrett. A product of St. John’s in D.C., he flipped from LSU on signing day, surprising even Locksley.

RELATED: HOW STEFON DIGGS CONVINCED RAKIM JARRETT TO PICK MARYLAND OVER LSU

Though the Terps went just 3-9 (1-8 in Big Ten play) last season, the addition of Jarrett as a legitimate weapon in the passing game may be enough to convince Williams to forego Oklahoma and LSU. He plans to announce his decision Saturday at 9 p.m.

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Top 2022 prospect Emoni Bates commits to Michigan State

Top 2022 prospect Emoni Bates commits to Michigan State

The No. 1 prospect basketball in the class of 2022 Emoni Bates announced his commitment to Michigan State on Monday. 

The five-star small forward is considered the best high school prospect in more than a decade and will be taking his talents to the Big Ten.

Bates had offers from four other schools: DePaul, Florida State, Kentucky and Michigan. The Michigan native announced his commitment extremely early in the recruiting process –– so early that the top eight recruits in the 2021 class have not even announced their decisions yet.

The 6-foot-9, 205-pound forward became the first commit of Michigan State’s class. He is also the first five-star to become a Spartan since Jaren Jackson Jr. in 2017 and the first No. 1 prospect to sign with the school since ESPN began its recruiting database in 2007.

His commitment came at a crucial time for the Spartans who lost significant talent at the end of last season in 2019 Big Ten Player of the Year Cassius Winston, who graduated, and 2020 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Xavier Tillman Sr., who declared for the NBA Draft after his junior season.

Maryland will now have to face Bates at least twice a year in Big Ten play. The Terps have two commits in their class of 2021 – four stars Julian Reese and Ike Cornish – but have yet to add a member to the class of 2022. 

Last season, Maryland and Michigan State each won one matchup against the other. The two teams tied alongside Wisconsin as co-Big Ten Champions. All three teams posted a 14-6 conference record before the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments were cut short or canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

In the final AP Poll, Michigan State finished ninth while Maryland finished 12th.

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