Darryl Morsell has started the majority of games he has played in during his first two years at Maryland. But when coach head coach Mark Turgeon told him he’d be coming off the bench to start the 2019 season, the veteran Morsell was not fazed
“Everyday we talk about being selfless as a team. This team is deep. Only five people can start,” Morsell said. “Regardless, I’m a basketball player. I’m going to come in and play and help the team in anyway I can. Just do whatever I got to do to win.”
Midway through the first half Holy Cross was beating the Terrapins by one. But then Morsell took over. The Baltimore native stole a nonchalant pass that led to a dunk and immediately followed it up by drawing an offensive foul. This sequence sparked an 8-0 run that the Terps would never look back on, en route to a 95-71 victory
“Darryl was terrific. He got us going,” Turgeon. “It was everything. His leadership, his poise. He didn’t pout because he didn’t start. He knew he was going to play starter minutes.”
Outside of Morsell, it was an inconsistent first half for the Terps. They were 2-13 from three and sophomores Jalen “Stix” Smith and Aaron Wiggins were a combined 5-16 from the field. Defensively they allowed the Crusaders to score 39 points on 53 percent shooting.
Turgeon needed a boost to start the second half, so he inserted Morsell into the starting lineup and the Terps continued to extend their lead. Morsell, usually known as the “glue guy”, finished with 15 points, five rebounds, four assists, and three steals.
Morsell was not the only bright spot for the Terps off the bench. Serrel Smith Jr. provided some much-needed shooting, scoring eight points while knocking down two three-pointers. Freshman Donta Scott had a productive debut scoring nine points and grabbing six rebounds.
“It’s nice, especially when the depth plays well. Donta Scott was terrific,” Turgeon said. “Serrel came in and hit two shots against the zone. We didn’t score for two possessions against the zone and he hit two threes.”
After a slow first half, Jalen Smith was on a roll in the second. Smith finished with a quiet 16 point, 11 rebound double-double. The Crusaders’ lack of size killed them as Maryland snagged 18 offensive rebounds. Nonetheless, Smith’s improvement is evident.
“I’ve seen Stix since seventh grade. He couldn’t even walk and chew gum. It’s crazy to see his progress,” Morsell said of his longtime teammate. “He works real hard and his hard work has shown. He’s guarding guards, he’s blocking shots, he’s impacting the game offensively inside and outside.”
The Terps managed to score 95 points despite a horrific outside shooting game. Turgeon’s squad shot just 5-27 from deep. A big reason for this was an increase in pace of play. The Terps attempted just 52 shots per game last season and bumped that number up to 77 on Tuesday.
“We want to play fast. We want to get out and wear teams down,” said senior point guard Anthony Cowan. “I think that’s what we did tonight.
The Terps will be back at home on Saturday night as they take on Rhode Island at 9 p.m.
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