Feature photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.
Terrapins often inhabit marshes and swamps, but this weekend they’ll navigate the concrete jungle.
Maryland heads to Brooklyn for the annual Barclays Classic, setting up a matchup with Richmond on Friday at 9:30 p.m. and a date with either Kansas State or Boston College the following day.
The two winners of Friday’s games will face off Saturday at 9:30 p.m., with the losers scheduled to play at 7 p.m.
Maryland is coming off its first convincing Division I win of the season, a 77-63 victory over Stony Brook Tuesday. In the game, the Terps shot the best they has this year. Their 42.1 percent mark from three (8-of-19) was much better than their 28.7 percent (27-of-94) clip over the first four games.
Not only was the outside shooting encouraging but so was the play of junior center Michal Cekovsky. Cekovsky made his season debut Tuesday after battling a foot injury that previously held him out.
The Slovakian scored 11 points and provided valuable minutes in place of senior center Damonte Dodd, who was out with a concussion. With Dodd’s availability questionable for the weekend, the Terps will need Cekovsky to continue to bring solid interior production.
Richmond has started the season well, going 3-1. Last season ended in disappointment for the Spiders, who had an outside chance at getting onto the bubble midway through the year. They couldn’t piece together enough quality wins, though, and ended at 16-16 (7-11). However, two of their top three scorers from last year are back and haven’t missed a beat this season.
Seniors guard ShawnDre’ Jones and forward T.J. Cline have been scorers for a few seasons. Both have averaged double-figures since their sophomore years and haven’t let up.
Jones leads Richmond with 19.5 points per game, and Cline isn’t far behind with a 17-point average. Jones shot well from deep, making 53.3 percent of his threes, and is averaging 3.5 assists per game. Cline leads the Spiders in rebounding, nabbing 6 boards per game, and is fourth in the Atlantic 10 in assists with 5.5 dimes per outing.
Outside of Jones and Cline, though, the Spiders aren’t a high-scoring team. They’re last in their conference in scoring (69.8 points per game) despite shooting 45.5 percent from the field and 35.4 percent from behind the arc for the year.
Richmond has also struggled on the glass. The Spiders are fourth-worst in the A-10 and 310th in the country in rebounding. Richmond has yet to win the rebounding battle in any game.
Maryland will play 4-0 Kansas State or 3-1 Boston College in the championship or consolation game. Both teams are coming off seasons ranging from disappointing to catastrophic and are hoping for better results in 2016-17. The game will be the first against a power-conference opponent for both teams. The matchup between the Eagles and Wildcats will be each of their first against a power-conference team.
Edited by Austin Kleber.