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Terps

Three takeaways from Maryland men’s basketball’s 71-51 win over Western Carolina

COLLEGE PARK — In Maryland men’s basketball’s 71-51 win over Western Carolina on Thursday night, the Terps relied on a career night from sophomore forward Julian Reese and rigid defense to improve to 2-0 on the season.

From first-year coach Kevin Willard asking guard Jahmir Young to be a better passer to guard Don Carey’s early shooting slump, here are three takeaways from the Terps’ 20-point win at Xfinity Center.

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Don Carey’s shooting slump

When Carey transferred to Maryland after two seasons at Georgetown, where he shot 40.9% from the 3-point line, he was expected to provide the outside shooting the Terps lacked during the 2021-22 campaign.

Through two games, the Upper Marlboro native has struggled to find his rhythm. After Carey scored two points on 1-for-7 shooting against the Catamounts, he is 3-for-14 (21.4%) from the field to start the season.

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There appears to be a lid on the rim whenever the graduate student shoots from deep. Carey, who also played Mount St. Mary’s and Siena, has gone 1-for-10 from the 3-point line, including 0-for-4 on Thursday.

Even though Carey has a below-average effective field goal percentage of .250 and a 59.6 offensive rating, according to KenPom, Willard still wants the veteran guard to keep firing away.

“I’ll let Don shoot the ball anytime and anywhere,” Willard said. “[No matter] how many times he shoots the ball, he has the ultimate green light.”

Maryland guard Jahmir Young drives against Western Carolina guard DJ Campbell during Thursday night's game at Xfinity Center. Young scored 16 points on 6-for-15 shooting against the Catamounts, but first-year coach Kevin Willard wants the Charlotte transfer to be a better passer.

A call for Jahmir Young to be a facilitator

Young was solid against Western Carolina, totaling 16 points on 6-for-15 shooting. But after recording just five assists and three turnovers in two games, Willard wants the Charlotte transfer to be a better distributor.

“I think he’s still trying to figure out when to pass and when not to,” Willard said. “Then again, he has only played for me for two games. I think all these guys are still trying to figure it out.”

Willard envisioned Young as a player who can average 16 points and five assists. But Young and the rest of his teammates are still learning to play together, which could be why the Terps have recorded a combined 22 assists through two games, the lowest per-game average in the Big Ten.

While Young is working to find consistency as a facilitator, his aggressiveness around the rim has been impressive. He collected five rebounds against the Catamounts after grabbing seven boards in the season opener against Niagara.

“I think that’s [Young] as a player,” Willard said. “When [Young] first started with me, he was a little passive. He’s starting to become more aggressive. The more aggressive he becomes, the better he is.”

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3-point shooting woes

Against Western Carolina, it appeared that Maryland’s suffocating defense came at a cost.

After the Terps shot a dreadful 2-for-19 from the 3-point line, Willard said “they gotta learn how to make buckets when they are tired.” Maryland is shooting 28.2% (11-for-39) from 3-point range this season, which ranks last in the Big Ten.

“I made this point to the team that they are not used to playing as hard as they’ve been playing,” Willard said. “I don’t think they are quite where they want to be.”

But Willard has a lot of confidence in Maryland’s shooting ability, which is why he encouraged his players to keep firing away from deep.

“If they are playing that hard, I’m going to let them keep firing away,” he said. “I can’t ask them to make stop after stop and then call a play. We got a little three happy, but I’ll take it.”

Binghamton at Maryland

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Tuesday, 7 p.m.

TV: Big Ten Network

Radio: 105.7 FM


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