Article by Brandon Simberg
The Maryland men’s basketball team defeated North Carolina A&T 82-59 on Monday night at the Xfinity Center. Here are five takeaways from game.
Third new starting lineup in three games
The third game for the Terps featured the third starting lineup for head coach Mark Turgeon. Anthony Cowan Jr., Jalen Smith, and Bruno Fernando have been consistent starters, while freshmen Eric Ayala, Aaron Wiggins, and sophomore Darryl Morsell have been rotating on the wing. Tonight Ayala and Morsell got the start, while Wiggins came off of the bench for the first time this year.
The move to the bench helped Wiggins, who scored a season high 14 points. Ayala picked up two early fouls, and never seemed to find a rhythm, finishing with 0 points. Morsell was in double digits for the second straight game, scoring 13 on an efficient 6-9 shooting. As the Terps head towards conference play, figuring out consistent fourth and fifth starters is definitely something to monitor.
Maryland found their stroke from deep
Coming into tonight’s contest, Maryland had really been struggling from the three point line, shooting an abysmal 7 for 42 (16%). However, the Terps were more in rhythm tonight, connecting on 10 of their 30 three point attempts. 30 percent is not great, but is a vast improvement from their first two games. Cowan and Wiggins spearheaded the charge from deep, making four three pointers a piece. Outside shooting has been the Terps biggest weakness through three games so it was encouraging to see them nail ten threes against the different zone defenses North Carolina A&T threw at them.
Terps continue to dominate the glass
The frontcourt of Jalen Smith and Bruno Fernando continued to live up to their preseason hype on Monday night. The two have been strong rebounders through the first two games, and that continued on Monday night. Fernando hauled down 12 rebounds, while Smith snagged 5. As a team, they outrebounded North Carolina A&T 45 to 30. Maryland’s size is one of their biggest advantages and they have been utilizing it, winning the rebound battle in every game this season.
Fernando foul trouble
Bruno Fernando has been very dominant this season when on the floor, but the Terps big man is having trouble staying out of foul trouble. He did a good job in the first half avoiding fouls, but he picked up two quick ones in the first minute of the second half, which sent him to the bench. Because of this, Bruno was limited to under twenty minutes of play for the second time this season. It’s no secret that Maryland is better when the big man from Angola is on the floor, so it is crucial going forward that he avoids fouling.
North Carolina A&T came as advertised
Coming into this game Maryland was a heavy favorite against the 0-2 Aggies, and after a rough four minute start for Maryland, the Terps were able to put them away handedly. North Carolina A&T is not a very big team (their tallest starting player stands at 6’8’’), and that showed throughout the contest. Maryland was able to penetrate the interior and finish with seven slam dunks. Also, for the third time this year the Aggies lost the rebound battle by double digits. North Carolina A&T is a relatively experienced team (they start two juniors and two seniors) but if they want to make a run at a conference title, then they will need to rebound better.
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