New look Terps baffle the Bobcats 83 – 69
The University of Maryland opened its basketball season blowing out the Quinnipiac Bobcats 83 – 69 at Xfinity Center. While starters Eric Ayala, Hakim Hart, and Donta Scott return to their starting roles, Daron “Fatts” Russell and Qudus “Q” Wahab showed why this team is ranked to start the year.
While neither team started off the season on fire from the field, Maryland steadily gained momentum in a controlled, methodical, and balanced effort to build to a double-digit lead early in the first half that was never relinquished. Statistically, there was no standout with five Terps finishing with double digit points, the team looked lightyears ahead of last year’s team at this time. They are fluid on offense, show depth on both ends of the floor, and the distribution of the basketball is allowing Maryland to opportunity for a layered approach on offense.
Wahab led Maryland with seventeen points and Eric Ayala snagged 8 rebounds on the night. While Silver Spring product Matt Balanc led all scorers with twenty-five points shooting an impressive 75% from the field (9-of-12) for the Bobcats.
It has been stated many times, but the additions of Russell and Wahab were on full display yet again. Last season Maryland, out of necessity, relied on a plethora of undersized individual efforts to crash the boards, create chaos in transition, and run a simplistic offense with limited creativity. The effort needed was exhausting to watch. That was not how Maryland looked in their exhibition matchup or against Quinnipiac. Instead, Maryland could comfortably close passing lanes while also rotating on the perimeter defensively with the 6’11 Wahab confidently safeguarding the rim.
The names Ayala, Hart, and Scott may have the same letters, but the men underneath their respective jerseys looked completely from last year. Ayala is focused on the perimeter and cognizant of the critiques from NBA scouts on both ends of the floor. Scott is in the best shape of his career, allowing him to get open mid-range looks at willand the now 6’8 Hart is disrupting the opposition both in transition and the passing lanes. . Most surprisingly is Hakim Hart, who is quietly emerging as a top defender and role player that Maryland will need when they increase their level of competition. He has not needed to score as of yet, but if the offense has developed as much as his defense has, Maryland will be competing with the best in the Big 10.
Up next, Maryland faces former Terp Ricky Lindo Junior and George Washington University on November 11th and the Vermont Catamounts this Saturday, November 13th. Both games will be played at Xfinity Center at 6:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. respectively.