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Maryland-Cleveland State Preview: 5 things you need to know

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Maryland-Cleveland State Preview: 5 things you need to know

Coming off a tournament championship in the Cancun Challenge, Maryland faces Cleveland State on Saturday night in College Park.

Here are five things you need to know about the matchup.

1) Another tune-up (and avoiding the trap)

Maryland heads to Chapel Hill to face North Carolina on Tuesday. They have to play this game first, though. Just as Rasheed Sulaimon called Rider a “trap game” before the team headed off to Cancun, Cleveland State could function the same way.

You avoid a trap by staying focused and executing the game plan. Maryland should be able to do that on Saturday night.

2) Hitting their stride?

Up until Wednesday, Maryland looked like it had been driving with the parking brake on. They had to battle back from second-half deficits and squeaked out wins over Georgetown and Rider in the process. Finally, against Rhode Island, they looked like the nation’s No. 2 team.

The offense was running like a machine, they were getting out in transition, and they were defending like their length should make them capable of doing. That showed in the final score vs. the Rams.

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3) Defense should take precedent again

Cleveland State struggles offensively. The Vikings rank 337th of 351 teams in the nation in offensive efficiency, scoring just 0.819 points per possession. Demonte Flannigan, the team’s leading scorer, averages 10.2 points per game.

This presents an opportunity for Maryland. With the length that they have, they should be able to force tough shots and turnovers. That can help to kickstart the offense like it did against Rhode Island.

4) More comfortable Melo

If you looked at statistics alone, you would think Melo Trimble has been coasting so far this season. He is, as it turns out, leading the team in both points (16.2) and assists (4.2) per game. The truth is, the game against Rhode Island was the first that he truly looked comfortable -- and that should be scary for defenses.

He was producing even when appearing tentative and a bit out of sorts. Now that he appears to be settling into a groove, everything is trending in the right direction.

5) Leaning on the bench?

Coach Mark Turgeon has said in the past that he has to have “guts enough” to put backup guard Jaylen Brantley into the game to take minutes pressure off of Trimble and Sulaimon. That hasn’t been easy, with Maryland having to battle back against some mid-majors.

Against Rhode Island, Turgeon finally had the opportunity and Brantley was solid. The junior college transfer did not score, but he had three assists with no turnovers. That’s a step in the right direction.

Even if he can give Maryland 10 turnover-free minutes per game, that will help the cause as Maryland adapts to life without Dion Wiley.

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Maryland's Kevin Huerter surprises at 2018 NBA Combine

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Maryland's Kevin Huerter surprises at 2018 NBA Combine

Going into the 2018 NBA Combine, Kevin Huerter was not receiving much hype, was off many NBA Draft boards, and many assumed he was heading back to college anyways.

Playing in the first scrimmage of the combine process, all those storylines quickly changed.

Playing against players like Jacob Evans, Donte DiVincenzo, Udoka Azubuike, and Jevon Carter, Huerter emerged as one of the top stars. The two-year Maryland spot-up shooter saw 25 minutes of action and only trailed Penn State prospect Tony Carr in points on his squad.

With 14 points (5-11 FG, 3-8 three-pointers), Huerter showed development since he was last seen with the Terps. His passing was the biggest asset for his team and was not afraid to take a shot against these top defenders.  The 6-7 forward also added three rebounds, an assist, and had only one turnover.

Although his shooting in-game was not fantastic, in the individual drills he showed off.  Of the seven shooting marks, he ranked in the top five in five of them.  He also had the best shuttle run (2.96 seconds).

No question, Huerter’s draft stock significantly rose. Although still early, he is looking to be the highest rated Terp prospect this year over Justin Jackson and Bruno Fernando.

Consensus among those at the NBA Combine seems to believe that Huerter will return for his junior season at Maryland.

After today though, it may be hard to say no.

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Panthers' first-round pick D.J. Moore visits Maryland with his new puppy

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USA TODAY Sports

Panthers' first-round pick D.J. Moore visits Maryland with his new puppy

D.J. Moore has an adorable new puppy!

Days after the Carolina Panthers selected Moore as the No. 24 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the former Maryland wide receiver returned to his roots and paid a visit to College Park.

But the first-rounder wasn’t alone when he went to Maryland. According to the Terps’ football Twitter account, he brought his new puppy with him. Seriously, look at this puppy!

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The Big Ten Receiver of the Year in 2017, Moore was obviously a crucial component of the Terps’ offense. He finished the season with 80 catches — a Maryland single-season record, which was also a Big Ten high.

He declared for the NFL Draft after his junior season with Maryland.

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