Maryland had gone down to the wire in three of its first five games this season, winning three times after trailing in the second half. The Terps changed the script a little Friday night against Richmond in the opening round of the Barclays Center Classic, but not the end result.
After trailing by as many as 14 four times in the first half, and by 12 at halftime, Maryland missed its chance to win in regulation, then took over in overtime and held on for an 88-82 victory before a pro-Terps crowd at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Junior guard Melo Trimble led Maryland (6-0) with 31 points, tying his career high. The team's three freshman starters also scored in double figures: guard Anthony Cowan scored 18, forward Justin Jackson had 16 points and seven rebounds, and wing Kevin Huerter had his first double double, with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Guard ShawnDre' Jones led Richmond (3-2) with 23 points.
The Terps will play Kansas State, which beat Boston College earlier in the night, in tonight's championship at 9:30. Maryland has won early-season tournaments in each of the past three years — at the Cancun Challenge last year, at the CBE Hall of Fame Challenge two years ago and at the Paradise Jam in 2013-14.
The 5-0 start against Division I teams on its schedule — Maryland also played Division III St. Mary's — has come a slim combined margin. The Terps have won the five games by a total of 32 points. Their previous low margin combined during a 5-0 start was by 45 in 1957-58, a season that ended with the first Atlantic Coast Conference tournament title.
No team in Maryland history has started three freshmen in the same game. The Terps have done it the past three when Jackson joined Cowan and Huerter for the St. Mary's game. They have started the past three against Towson, Stony Brook and Richmond. Redshirt sophomore Ivan Bender has made his first two career starts the past two games.
Down 41-28 early in the second half, the Terps went on 14-2 run fueled by two long 3-pointers by Huerter to pull within 43-42 on a drive by Trimble. The Spiders extended the lead to five, but Maryland went on a 15-5 run to take a 57-52 lead on a putback by junior center Michal Cekovsky.
The Terps couldn't keep the lead, as Richmond's matchup zone defense slowed Maryland's offense. The Terps contributed to an 13-3 Richmond run — three straight turnovers, two by Trimble, led to a three-point play by Spiders center T.J. Cline and a fast-break layup by Jones.
But Maryland forced overtime by scoring the next seven points for a 67-65 lead. Richmond reclaimed a one-point lead in the last minute of regulation on a 3-pointer by Cline. But Jackson made one of two free throws with 13 seconds remaining to tie the game at 70.
The Terps controlled overtime, scoring the first five points of the extra session and leading by as many as eight. The Spiders pulled to within four at 86-82 with five seconds to go, but two free throws by Trimble sealed the victory.
In one stretch in the first half when a tied game (8-8) turned into a 24-10 deficit, Maryland missed 11 of 12 shots, and missed its first 11 3-point shots in the game. Conversely, the Spiders spread the Terps out in their Princeton offense, hitting a combination of 3-pointers and drives.
The Terps cut their deficit to 10 points, to 24-14 on a steal and drive by Cowan and later to 34-24 on a 3-point shot by Trimble with two minutes left in the first half. It was the first 3-pointer Maryland had hit in the game.
But Richmond answered right back with a 3-point shot by sophomore guard Khwan Fore. A free throw by Jones made it 37-24, and Cowan cut the deficit to 12, 38-26 with 14 seconds left in the half. The Spiders played most of the half without Cline, their best big man and the son of New York basketball legend Nancy Lieberman. They still shot 14-for-30 from the field, including 6-for-11 from 3-point range.