With just three games to go before the opening of Big Ten play, the University of Maryland Terrapins continued their strong start to the season with a 66-56 win over St. Peter’s University for their 10th win of the season.
The Terps switched their lineup around for this matchup as Michael Cekovsky started in place of the injured Damonte Dodd at the five position. They definitely used his size to their advantage as he seemed to tower over St. Peter’s 6-foot-8 Quadir Welton.
The Terps defense was stifling in this one, probably the best defense they played all year. At the 14:18 mark in the game, St. Peter’s had yet to score a single point with two turnovers their first three possessions and went 0-for-7 from the field. They ended up not scoring until a offensive rebound and put back by Sam Idowu gave the Peacocks their first points of the game at the 11:57 mark.
By this time in the game the Terps had built a 14-0 lead with a flurry of three pointers from Anthony Cowan, Kevin Huerter, and Jaylen Brantley.
Meanwhile Maryland continued scoring — with seven total Terps scoring at least a point, contributing to an 8-0 run in the closing minutes of the first half. Cekovsky was outstanding in the first half with a perfect 3-3 from the field, one assist and one rebound and solid defense as the biggest guy on the floor. He had 10 minutes in the first half but was benched due to foul trouble.
Maryland finished the first half with a 22-point advantage, leading 40-18 while shooting 68 percent from the floor and causing seven turnovers. Kevin Huerter lead the team with 12 points and a perfect field goal percentage.
In the second half, the Peacocks showed more of a fight as they went basket for basket for most of the second half. But trading baskets at the 10:44 mark in the game is really all Maryland needed to do to hold out for their 10th win of the season and third in a row.
The players of the game for the Terps were a pair of freshman: Justin Jackson, who finished with 19 points, five rebounds and made it to the line four times in 25 minutes, and Kevin Huerter, who finished with 14 points and 4 rebounds in 26 minutes.
More importantly, Melo Trimble played a total of 24 minutes and recorded just five points and four assists. Strange at a glance, but I think it allowed other players to get involved offensively.
“It was kind of a boring game,” Head Coach Mark Turgeon said. “We just didn’t finish the game the way we we’d like to have finished it…we’ve had two good first halves all year and that was one of them.”
The Terps stay at home for their next game Monday at 7 p.m. against the Jacksonville State University Gamecocks.