Terps Blast Billikens, 95-67, Advancing to Hall Tip-Off Final

UNCASVILLE, CT — The Terps continued their perfect start in the Kevin Willard Era when Maryland defeated previously undefeated Saint Louis 95-67 in the inaugural game of the 2022 Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Offat the Mohegan Sun Arena on Saturday afternoon.

With the win, Willard becomes the first head coach in program history to have a 4-0 record in his first season at the helm, dating back to H. Burton Shipley, who was the first official head coach in 1923-24.

After opening the season with three wins at home with 20 or more points, the Terps answered their first major test of the young season in They dominated the Billikens, who were among the top teams in “Others Getting Votes” in this week’s AP poll and ranked 32nd in the latest KenPom ratings. Maryland led at halftime 51-27 behind 9-of-19 shots from a deep and fierce defense that kept Saint Louis on just 25 percent shots from the field.

The Terps (4-0) will play either Miami (FL) or Providence in the championship game on Sunday at 1 p.m. on ESPN. Both the Hurricanes and Friars played in the Sweet 16 of last year’s NCAA tournament.

Donta Scott tied his career-high 25 points in 8-of-13 shooting to lead the way for the Terps.

Maryland had its best shooting performance of the young season, throwing in 13 threes on 32 attempts. Don Carey Four canned three-pointers in 4-of-10 shooting from deep amd Ian Martinez set a new career high with 14 in 6-of-8 shots (2-of-4-of-three).

As they’ve done in every single game this year, the Terps once again choked defensively. They held the Billikens on just 21 of 58 (36.2 percent) shoots and made it 14 envelopes.

The Terps won their fourth straight game by at least 20 points, marking the first time in the 2009–10 season that Maryland won four straight games by at least 20 points. That season 13 years ago, the Terps also won their first four games of the season by 20 points.

Willard’s takes

“I had so much fun coaching this group because they really understand what we need to take away from a game plan perspective, they really pay attention to the scouting report, they take the scouting report and then they ‘We go out and lead it out. As we’re such a young group together even though they’re older guys I’m really happy with how they come out with their intensity and then we stick to the defensive game plan .”

“Tomorrow is an opportunity to win a championship. Whenever you have an opportunity like this, you have to seize it, seize it. I think these guys will be rewarded for their hard work.”

From the boys

“It starts with everyone,” Scott said of the program’s impressive start to the season. “Coaches, managers, players, we come every day locked in and ready to get better. And not only that, but our story. There’s a great story about Maryland basketball… It’s not just what we’re doing now, it’s bigger. We just have to show it and now we’re going to show it.

“It felt good,” Carey said of his hot day of shooting. “I believe in my shot every day. My teammates encourage me, my coaches encourage me to stick with my shot. I worked hard every day so I knew those shots would come eventually.”

Breakdown of the action

  • Maryland jumped out to a 10-2 run in the first four minutes; Hold SLU on 1-of-5 to start the game while hitting 4-of-8 interrupted by a Don Carey three hands.
  • The Terps’ eight-point lead held steady until the under-eight timeout in the first half, 25-17. Carey led with a trio of triples and the terps held the Billikens to just six makes on their first 22 tries.
  • Helped by a 10-0 run and a more than six-minute field goal drought from Saint Louis, Maryland went into halftime 51-27. Three terps hit double digits in the first 20 minutes: Hakim Hart (16), Donta Scott (12) and Carey (12).
  • Maryland didn’t slow down after the break, extending their lead to 66-44 at 11:08. The Terps made each of their five three-pointers in that span, with two each from Carey and Jamir Jung and one by Scott.
  • The Terps continued to extend their lead to the end, making contributions across the board to win 95-67.

Another great first half

  • For the third straight game, Maryland led by double digits at the break, 51-27. In the Willard era, the Terps have led by halftime in all four games. Against Binghamton, Maryland led 44-23 for their largest (+21) halftime lead of the year.
  • It was the largest halftime lead (+24) since NC A&T’s 49-25 lead on November 12, 2018.
  • It was also the second straight game to lead to the break with 20 or more after building a 44-23 lead against Binghamton.
  • The 51 points for the Terps was the most of any first half this season.

Two digit update

  • Maryland had five players hit double digits for the first time since January 3, 2022 against Iowa.
  • Donta Scott posted a career-high 25 for his second game of the season in double digits and ranked 48th in his career in double digits. It was the fourth time in his career that he had 20+ points in a game.
  • Hakim Hart scored the third straight game and the 28th time of his career with 16 double-digit goals. Hart was 6 to 9 off the floor in the first half and led the Terps by 16 points.
  • Don Carey had his best game yet as a terp with a season-high 16 points and a 4-of-10 hit from deep. It was the 69th time in his college career that he had hit double digits.
  • Ian Martinez posted a career-high 14 points as he hit double figures for the fourth time in his career and for the first time this season.
  • Jamir Jung also reached the double-digit mark with 11. He now has 78 career games in double figures, including three this season.

Dominant defense, again

  • The Terps forced SLU to make 14 turnovers that day; the previous high for her season was 12.
  • In the first half, the Billikens converted just eight of 32 shots from the field for abysmal 25-percent shots, thanks to a Maryland defense that seemed to be grounded everywhere.
  • In the first four games, Maryland gives up an average of 23 points in the first half.
  • Saint Louis ended the day with just 36 percent shooting. The Terps have now won 10 straight games as they kept the team below 40% when firing from the field

Closing at 1,000

  • With 25 points tonight, Donta Scott only needs 14 to reach 1,000 for his career with 986. This makes him the third player on the active roster to have 1,000 career points. Don Carey now has 1,245 while Jamir Jung leads the team with 1,469.

Notes and Nuggets

  • The Terps believed Saint Louis was just .362 percent shot off the ground on 20 of 56 that day. The Billikens entered the game shooting .482 from the field, including .467 in their last game against Memphis.
  • With four straight 20-plus-point wins, the Terps have their longest streak of 20-point wins since the first four games of the 2009-10 season, when Maryland beat Charleston Southern (89-51), Fairfield (71-42), New Hampshire (82-55) and Chaminade (79-51).
  • Maryland is now 122-52 (.699) in all-time regular-season tournaments. The Terps have won a total of 32 championships – most recently the Orlando Invitational in 2019 (beat Temple, Harvard and Marquette).

Next

  • The Terps are advancing into the 2022 Basketball Hall of Fame Tipp-Off Championship Game to face off against the winner of Miami (FL) and Providence. This game will be played at 1 p.m. Sunday and will be broadcast on ESPN and the Maryland Sports Radio Network.

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