Two nights after a nail-biting comeback win over Georgetown, the University of Maryland Terrapins defeated the St. Mary’s College Seahawks, 93-45, in College Park Thursday.
The Division III Seahawks did not pose the same challenges to the Terps as the Hoyas had Tuesday, as Maryland dominated in nearly every facet of the game from tip-off. For a team that had pulled out back-to-back close victories to open the season, the 48-point win was a much-welcomed breather for the Terps.
“We put so much into American and Georgetown, it was nice to just show up and play a game,” Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon said.
Maryland outshot St. Mary’s 44 percent to 32 percent, and took 12 more shots, thanks to the Terps smothering defense. They had a season-high 7 blocks and 12 steals, including four steals from Anthony Cowan.
“It was just another game to get better,” Kevin Huerter said after the game. “Coach was just talking about staying on the defensive principles, keep guarding the ball, keep rebounding, we wanted to not create bad habits. We were just trying to get out there and get better offensively and defensively.”
Throughout the first half, Turgeon opted to use deploy his starters and backups in a platoon system, with all five starters lifted at the same time and then reentering again a few minutes later. This strategy allowed for a well-distributed offensive attack, as four Terps racked up double digits in points.
Damonte Dodd led Maryland’s offensive charge with his first career double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds). L.G. Gill (14 points), Huerter (11 points) and Jaylen Brantley (11 points) also scored double digits. Melo Trimble, usually the center of the Maryland offense, played only 15 minutes, but scored seven points and shot 2-of-3 from the field.
Overall, freshmen accounted for 27 of the Terps’ points, and Gill, a transfer, praised them after the game.
“[Huerter] is one of the best shooters I’ve played with,” he said. “[Cowan] is one of the best passers and he’s the fastest guy on the court.”
The Terps charged out of the gate to build a 21-3 lead in the first seven minutes of play, highlighted by dunks from Huerter and Justin Jackson. Sloppy play on the other end of the court allowed St. Mary’s to go on a small run, but by the end of the first half, the Terps had built a sizable 54-22 lead. Dodd’s ten first half points paced the team.
Maryland struggled coming out of the half, as St. Mary’s matched them shot for shot, and had outscored them 11-10 at the 12-minute mark, when the lead was cut to 66-34. The Terps the pulled away, as two Jared Nickens foul shots and a Dion Wiley dunk re-ignited the offense that had been so potent in the first half.
When all was said and done, the Terps had extended the margin of victory to 48 points, capped off by two free throws from freshman Travis Valmon, who entered late in the game for his first collegiate game action.
Now off to a 3-0 start, Maryland will be back in action Sunday at 2 p.m. in College Park against Towson University.