No.3 Maryland cruise against Fighting Irish, win Big Ten/ACC Challenge 72-51
The Terps were out to prove their no. 3 ranking was not a fluke as they took on Notre Dame in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
Another slow start for Maryland meant they found themselves down by 5 early in the 1st half. The Terps missed their first ten shots from beyond the arc however, thanks to two separate scoring droughts of over four minutes for the Fighting Irish, Maryland was able to keep it close.
It was play of Aaron Wiggins, who had blocked a wide open lay-up from the Irish’s TJ Gibbs that sent the crowd into frenzy, before finishing the half with a buzzer beating put-back dunk after recovering his own missed three which gave Maryland a 32-20 lead heading into the locker rooms. Eric Ayala also had a spectacular dunk off a fast break that almost tore the roof off the Xfinity Center.
Both teams were extremely poor shooting-wise in the first half with Notre Dame finishing under 30% from field goal range and only 1-11 from beyond the arc whereas Maryland was able to find a groove late in the half where they made 7 straight shots to finish around 44%.
The second half saw better shooting from 3 point range from Maryland as they went 6-16 and started spreading the scoring around. Smith started off the scoring with his first of two 3-point baskets and Maryland never looked back from there. Redshirt Junior, Joshua Tomaic scored the Terps final basket with the score finishing 72-51.
Jalen Smith lead the team with a double-double that included 15 pts (5-12 FG) and a career-high 16 rebounds. From the Irish, it was John Mooney who lead all scorers with 17 points and had 12 rebounds of his own. It was a quiet night from senior captain, Anthony Cowan, only getting 9 points (3-9 FG) and 2 assists however great team play all meant that he could save his energy.
With the win, Maryland moves to 9-0, their best start to a season since 98-99 and have won their first Big Ten/ACC Challenge since switching conferences five years ago. The Terps will look to keep their undefeated streak going as they kick off conference play against Illinois on Saturday, December 7th. Catch the action on ESPN2 with tip-off at approximately 5:00 P.M.