Maryland men’s basketball returns to action just two days after facing Lehigh at the Xfinity Center. In that matchup, the Terps started off slow, but a second-half surge propelled them to their seventh win of the season.
“just playing one game at a time, trying to get a win,” senior shooting guard eric ayala said. “We’re trying to change the narrative of our season and I think we’re on the right trajectory as a team.”
now, the terps stay home to close out the regular season non-conference game against brown. the game is scheduled to tip at 7 p.m. on Thursday and will air on the big ten network.
brown bears (8-6, 0-0 ivy)
2020-21 record: none, season canceled due to coronavirus pandemic
head coach mike martin is in his 10th year leading the brown men’s basketball team. The head coach started for the Bears when he was in college and helped lead his class of 2004 to a 39-17 conference record during his time on the team. Martin and the Bears are coming off successful 2018-19 and 2019-20 campaigns in which the team posted 35 wins in those two seasons, the most in a two-year span in program history.
This season, the Bears started off with a win before traveling to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to face then-no. 19 north carolina tar heels. Brown held close, even outscoring North Carolina in the first half 50-47, but ultimately fell 94-87 marking his first loss of the season. Since then, the Bears have posted victories over Central Connecticut, Johnson & wales, bradley, quinnipiac, umass lowell, sacred heart and merrimack. Aside from his most recent 93-62 loss to Syracuse and his loss to Creighton, Brown’s losses to Vermont, Bryant and Colorado were games of six points or fewer.
players to meet
kino lilly jr., freshman guard, 6ft, no. 10 — lilly jr. he’s in his first season with the bears, but it’s been impactful. In high school, the Glenn Dale, Maryland native played for DC Premier, the same sophomore guard on the AAU Maryland team that Marcus Dockery played for. Lilly Jr. he leads the team in points, averaging 12.2 per game, as well as assists in which he has dished 35. The freshman also leads the team in steals (20) and successful 3-point shooting (32). Following his performances against Merrimack and Vermont in which he averaged 14 points, four assists and two steals while shooting 50% from the field and 41.7% from deep, Lilly Jr. earned ivy league rookie of the week honors.
paxson wojcik, junior guard, 6-foot-5, no. 32: Wojcik is another new addition to this Bear roster, as he transferred in the offseason from Loyola-Chicago. In two seasons with the Ramblers, he saw the floor in 45 games and, like Lilly Jr., had an immediate impact on Brown. Wojcik averages the second-most points on the team at 10.8 per game and the second-most shots from behind the arc at 21. He averages the most minutes on the team at 29.2 per game.
tamenang choh, graduated striker, 6ft 5in, no. 25: Although Brown’s list has some new faces, Choh is in his fifth year with the show, the fourth season due to the canceled 2020-21 season. Lilly Jr. and Wojcik are averaging 12.2 and 10.8 points per game in 13 games and Choh is third on the team in scoring at 10.0 per game, in just 10 games. The grad student sat out a few games in November, including a close loss to UNC, with a hip injury. he also leads the team on the boards with 7.7 rebounds per game. Choh has recently posted double-digit scoring numbers in four straight games and has done so in the span of just 10 days. he reached the millennium mark when he scored his 1,000th career point from a career-high 26-point performance at umass lowell, his hometown. Following that game and the Sacred Stag victory, Choh won the Ivy League Player of the Week award.
distribute the score. the bears have been generating points at all levels and are averaging 72.8 points per game, 4.1 points higher than the terps. Brown is shooting 43.8% from the field, 32.1% from deep and 74.0% from the charity streak. Although the team’s shooting percentages haven’t been exceptionally high, they’ve been getting the job done and the Bears have five players averaging more than eight points, four averaging nearly 10 or more. brown is shooting an average of 26.4 from the field and 7.6 from deep per game. the bears also have 162 assists, which is enough for 12.5 per game.
losing close games. As noted above, half of Brown’s losses have been decided by six points or fewer. North Carolina’s loss was decided by just seven points and the outliers came against Creighton and Syracuse, in which the Bears lost by 21 and 31 points, respectively. Maryland has had eight games decided by eight points or fewer this season, it will be interesting to see if this is a close matchup and, if so, if either team will be able to walk away late in the game for a larger margin.
three things to keep in mind
1. will hakim hart and eric ayala keep up their momentum? preparing for the conference game. Ayala has scored 10, 19 and 20 points in the last three games, respectively. His 20 points against Lehigh marked the third time this season that he scored 20 or more points. Hart added 10 points but his contributions on the defensive end continued. Hart added a career high for steals from him, the most by a terp since now-NBA guard Aaron Wiggins did it against Delaware in 2018.
2. how will the shooting performance of terps? Prior to the matchup against Lehigh, Maryland was on a string of struggles on the offensive side of the ball. terps had the no. 11 offense among the big ten averaging just 68.7 points per game. maryland also had the no. 12 field goal percentage at 41.6% the no. 11-shot percentage from deep at 31.0%. Maryland’s 62 field goals made before Lehigh’s game also ranked second-to-last in the conference only ahead of Rutgers who had 52. Against Lehigh, Maryland was able to capitalize and pick up the pace. the terps scored 76 points, 24 baskets from the field, including five from deep.
3. Will Maryland set the tone for the Big Ten game? Although Brown has kept many games close, he recently lost by a wide margin to Syracuse. The Terps have won two in a row under Manning and have one more push before they travel to Iowa City, Iowa to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes. Maryland already lost one conference game when it fell to the Northwest on December 12. 5, manning’s first game as interim head coach. Brown is in the top half of the ivy league and came close to beating a ranked team without one of his best players. The bears may prove to be a tough opponent for the terps, but they will be a good test as Maryland heads into a loaded conference roster.