Shaking off another slow start, Maryland cruised to its third straight victory to open the young season.
The seventh-ranked Terps downed Oakland, 80-50, despite trailing halfway through the first half. Mount Saint Joseph product Jalen Smith finished short of his third straight double-double but posted eight points, seven rebounds and three blocks. Darryl Morsell, Anthony Cowan and Aaron Wiggins all scored in double digits as coach Mark Turgeon was able to put 15 players on the floor — every Terp but injured freshman Chol Marial — and 13 of them scored.
With Maryland trailing 16-12, freshman Donta Scott hit a 3-pointer to get the Terps within a point before they retook the lead on two Makhel Mitchell free throws. Those five straight points were the start of a 23-6 run over the final 10:02 of the first half as the Terps (3-0) outscored the Grizzlies by 34 over the game’s final 30 minutes.
Most of that damage came in the period’s final minutes. Leading 22-20, Maryland scored 13 of the first half’s final 15 points, including 11 straight going into the locker room.
Smith didn’t score until a jumper in the paint at the 3:48 mark of the first. Beginning with those, he scored six of Maryland’s next 10 points, with Wiggins’ 3-pointer at the buzzer giving the Terps a 35-22 halftime lead.
The Maryland run stretched to 15 out of the break, with layups from Smith and Morsell (Mount Saint Joseph) opening the second-half scoring before Oakland’s Xavier Hill-Mais buried a 3-pointer. The basket ended a scoring drought of 4:04 for the Grizzlies. But Cowan quickly pushed the Terps’ lead back to 17 with a 3-pointer of his own.
Maryland didn’t stop there. After another Hill-Mais 3, the Terps scored eight straight points, with Morsell scoring five points on fastbreaks. Oakland stopped the run with Blake Lampman’s 3-pointer, but Maryland answered with Eric Ayala’s jumper and another Morsell 3 to take a 56-31 lead. Morsell, who scored two points in the first half, scored 12 after the break on 5-of-6 shooting.
Oakland’s first five makes of the second half came from beyond the 3-point line. Between Brad Brechting’s layup late in the first half and C.J. Gettelfinger’s layup with 6:32 to play, the Grizzlies went 16:12 without a basket inside the arc.
The Terps, meanwhile, scored from everywhere, shooting 54.8% from the floor in the second half.
Walk-on Reese Mona got in on the action, hitting a 3-pointer that fired up the Xfinity Center crowd and seemingly delivered another right after, though it was ruled a deep 2-pointer. The home fans cheered vigorously all the same. A layup in the final minute from senior walk-on Will Clark, a Baltimore native, added some late excitement, as well.
The Terps will try to continue their undefeated start at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday against Fairfield.