Maryland just played the most important half of basketball that they’ll play all season long.
The Terps had entered the night just 2-2 in league play — with wins over Boston College and Georgia Tech — and 10-7 overall. They had lost their last two games and had been beaten by every relevant team they played. Their best win on the season? Either the Yellow Jackets or Northern Iowa. That’s not good.
On Wednesday, Maryland hosted a Notre Dame team that had lost two in a row since their surprising win over a struggling Duke team at home. Remember the game that Jabari Parker got benched for playing so poorly? Yeah, that was against the Irish. Point being, Maryland had a chance to pick off another stumbling, middle-of-the-ACC-pack team in a game that they really, really needed to win, and ten minutes into the game, the Terps were already down double-digits.
Notre Dame took a 34-25 lead into the half, but in the final 20 minutes, Maryland took over. They went on a 16-2 run to open up the second half, extending their to as much as 12 before holding on and winning 74-66.
Dez Wells scored 17 points, all in the second half, and Seth Allen went for 14 in his first start of the season, but what won this game for Maryland was their defense. They were much more active in the final 20 minutes, turning Notre Dame over and forcing them into tough shots.
It’s going to be an uphill battle for the Terps if they want to make the NCAA tournament, but this is a good way to start to turn things around.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.