COLLEGE PARK — Maryland men’s basketball set the tone for its matchup against Binghamton during the opening minutes Tuesday night.
Senior forward Donta Scott stole the ball from Bearcats guard Jacob Falko before passing to transfer guard Jahmir Young for a layup. Moments later, the Terps forced Falko to lose the ball again, leading to senior guard Hakim Hart racing down the floor for an easy bucket.
Maryland scored eight of its first 12 points off turnovers, as its suffocating defense was the driving force again in a 76-52 win at Xfinity Center that improved its record to 3-0 under first-year coach Kevin Willard.
The Terps held Binghamton to 34.4% shooting and forced 15 turnovers that resulted in 19 points. After taking a 21-point lead in the first half, Maryland forced the Bearcats (2-1) to shoot 33.3% from the field in the second, including just 2-for-13 from 3-point range.
“We came out with an [defensive] intensity [that made sure] they knew they were not going to win,” Willard said. “That was our mindset.”
With the win, the Terps have won three straight games by 20 or more points for the first time since the 2010-11 season when they were members of the Atlantic Coastal Conference.
The Terps had three players score in double figures. Sophomore forward Julian Reese built off his 19-point, 12-rebound performance against Western Carolina with 19 points and seven rebounds, while Hart totaled 13 points on 5-for-10 shooting and Scott added 10 points and nine rebounds. Redshirt freshman Ike Cornish provided a spark off the bench, scoring a career-high nine points on 3-for-4 shooting.
Maryland finished the night shooting 48.4% from the field and outscored Binghamton 48-20 in the paint.
After Reese scored in double figures for the second straight game while drawing nine fouls, Willard thinks the former St. Frances standout is “a lot more physical” compared to last season.
“He’s embracing physicality,” Willard said. “He’s not shying away from it.”
In the first half, Maryland had Binghamton completely out of sync. The Terps forced six turnovers in the opening five minutes while holding the Bearcats under 10 points until the 5:45 mark when guard John McGriff hit a pair of free throws.
While Binghamton was held to 38% shooting and four points in the paint in the first, the Terps attacked the rim while scoring in transition. With under eight minutes left in the half, Scott grabbed a defensive rebound and went coast-to-coast for a layup. Hart converted a second-chance layup before Reese scored to make it 31-8.
“Defense is an important part of the game,” Reese said. “I feel like we fall back on that and use it as fuel to do things on offense.”
Maryland used a 15-2 run to go into halftime with a 42-21 advantage, its largest first-half lead since 2019 against Marquette. Reese and Hart scored a combined 23 points on 10-for-14 shooting in the first half.
The Terps’ defense was even more aggressive in the second half. The Bearcats made just one of their first 14 shots, including a stretch in which they missed six straight.
“I think we’ve come out with really good defensive intensity,” Willard said. “These guys have been sticking to the game plan and I think they’ve been really good.”
Meanwhile, the Terps continued to attack the basket. Scott, junior guard Ian Martinez (four points) and freshman Noah Batchelor (four points) converted layups on three straight possessions to give Maryland a 65-33 advantage with 8:29 left.
“Everyday we are improving,” Scott said. “We are locking in to what [Willard] has in store for us.”
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