The University of Maryland Terrapins bounced back after a tough home loss to the University of Pittsburgh, rallying behind momentum-swinging performances by Jaylen Brantley (12 points, two rebounds, one assist) and Damonte Dodd, to come from behind and beat the Oklahoma State University Cowboys, 71-70.
“Really proud of my group. We beat a really good team tonight, really well coached team. A team that’s hard to prepare for,” Maryland Head Coach Mark Turgeon said. “We just kept battling.”
Maryland overcame 18 turnovers and woeful 18.2 percent (4-22) three-point shooting to win the game on a pair of Melo Trimble free throws.
This contest was a tale of two halves.
In the first, the Terps got out to a 1-0 lead when Kevin Huerter got to the free-throw-line 15 seconds in, but spent the remainder of the half trailing the Cowboys.
Maryland struggled to contain Oklahoma State in the first half, as the Cowboys shot 45 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from three.
Jawun Evans (16 points, 5 assists) led the Cowboys with 10 points and four assists in the first. Maryland struggled to slow him all night.
On offense, the Terps’ success came with Trimble (13 points, six assists, four rebounds) and fellow guard Anthony Cowan (11 points, two assists, five rebounds) breaking defenders down off the dribble and driving to the basket for layups or kick-out passes – Oklahoma State could not defend their speed and quickness.
Cowan and Trimble paced Maryland in the first half with nine and 10 points respectively, and a combined five assists.
The Terps got to the foul line 12 times in the first half, but converted on just seven free throws, good for 58.3 percent.
Turnovers were the difference in the first period, as Cowan (four turnovers) and the Terps turned it over 13 times, compared to just eight for the Cowboys.
The second half was a different narrative entirely.
Maryland came out playing suffocating defense, holding the Cowboys to 34.6 percent from the field and 30 percent from three. The Terps totaled four steals, three blocks and forced seven Oklahoma State turnovers.
Turgeon’s team continued to attack the hoop in the second half, scoring 22 points in the paint and getting to the foul line 17 times, where they made 12 of 17 (70.6 percent) free throws.
Down 60-48 with 12:11 to go, forward Justin Jackson grabbed an offensive rebound off a Brantley miss and converted a layup – this sparked a 13-0 run for the Terps.
On the ensuing defensive possession Damonte Dodd (12 points, eight rebounds, three blocks) came up with emphatic block.
Dodd played bigger than his 6-foot-11-inch, 250-pound frame, changing the tone of the game with two-handed blocks against the glass and rim-rattling slams that got the crowd of 17,391 roaring.
“Damonte Dodd’s defense in the second half was, was great,” Turgeon said.
The 13-0 run gave Maryland its first lead since the 1-0 lead in the first of play. After this, the opponents traded two-point buckets and one and two point leads for the remainder of the half.
Brantley added five points, one assist and a steal in the final 10 minutes of play.
“Jaylen played tonight like he practices every day … hard. He’s a leader. He believes and he never stops talking,” Turgeon said. “He’s a winner. He made winning plays.”
With 0:21 left on the clock Maryland got the ball. Oklahoma State took a timeout and prepared for the Maryland possession. Maryland Head Coach Mark Turgeon used the timeout to draw up a play.
Melo Trimble got the ball, drove to the hoop and drew the foul. With 9 seconds left, he stood at line for two free throws and a chance to give Maryland the lead.
First free throw: swoosh. Second free throw: swoosh. 71-70 Terps with 0:09 remaining.
The Cowboys inbounded the ball to Evans who ran down the court, spun off a screen and drove to right of the key, with Cowan glued to him defensively, and forced up an off-balance shot that clanked off the iron. Ball game, Maryland.