Maryland’s 85-78 victory over Minnesota on Saturday marked yet another closely contested road matchup for the young squad.
In the first half both teams showed off their offensive abilities with some impressive scoring runs. After starting the game with a 8-2 lead, it seemed as though Maryland was going to roll over their opponent without much resistance. However, Minnesota responded with a 19-1 run, giving themselves a 10 point lead midway through the first half.
As time winded down, Maryland was able to fight back on the shoulders of some timely three pointers from Justin Jackson but still found themselves down by seven at the break. Minnesota freshman Amir Coffey led the way for the Gophers. His 11 points, four assists, and four rebounds were the difference maker in Minnesota’s lead.
The Gophers were able to maintain their lead early in the second half despite a much more powerful offensive attack from Maryland. There were many times where the Terps were able to cut the lead to one possession. Justin Jackson continued to shoot well during this stretch, while Kevin Huerter joined in with some three pointers of his own.
With 10 minutes to play, Maryland tied the game at 54. A few possessions later, Melo Trimble drove to the rim through contact to give the Terps their first lead of the second half. Minnesota would not back down, though. The teams battled back and forth, trading the lead, as the clock approached the final minutes.
At the two minute mark, Melo Trimble and Justin Jackson converted back to back and one’s, keeping the raucous Minnesota crowd in check. In the final minute, Justin Jackson went up and grabbed a clutch offensive rebound while getting fouled in the process. His two free throws gave Maryland a three point lead at the most crucial point of the game.
On the ensuing possession, Minnesota turned the ball over and gave Maryland the opportunity to put the game on ice. Just as they have done all season, this young Terps team found ways to get to the free throw line and put the game away. Maryland would go on to win by seven, giving them their 19th victory of the year.
Justin Jackson finished the game with 28 points, 10 rebounds, and a perfect 5-for-5 from beyond the arc. Fellow freshman Kevin Huerter also had an excellent game with 19 points and five three pointers of his own.
While the Terps’ competition has not been the best as of late, the setting of these games is what’s really important. By playing three of their last four games on the road, Maryland has been challenged by some of the toughest crowds in the Big Ten. It is very hard to win on the road in college basketball but the Terps remain undefeated in this scenario.