Maryland’s Terrapins played as one would expect the No. 6 team in the nation to play last night at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore. The Tigers held their own in a gritty first half effort, at one point mounting a six-point lead, and were still in it at the break, trailing 35-31.
The bigger, stronger, faster and deeper Terrapin squad wore down its outmanned antagonists in the second half, cruising to an 82-61 win, a decisive margin for Maryland after a respectable wire-to-wire effort by the Tigers. Maryland coach Mark Turgeon had tried for several years to schedule a game in Baltimore to give its considerable fan base there a chance to see his club live and up close. More than 11,000 fans showed up at Royal Farms to welcome the Terrapins for the first time in 16 seasons. Maryland ran its overall record on this floor to 10-2.
Coach Mitch Henderson was very pleased with the Tigers’ performance, particularly in the first half. The Tigers deployed in a 1-2-2 zone at the outset, a new look this season. It worked for a while, as some great execution on offense enabled the visitors to grab a six-point lead with about six minutes to go in the opening period. Maryland seized control at that point and held it from then on.
Several Tigers turned in noteworthy efforts. Henry Caruso once again led the Tiger scorers, nearly reaching his season average, with 17 points in 27 minutes. His four three-pointers in five attempts demonstrated his versatility, and surely captured the attention of the Ivy coaches who will have to stop him to contend with this team. Pete Miller’s contribution does not show up in the box score, but his boxouts against taller and stronger Terrapin post players helped Caruso, Steven Cook and Amir Bell grab 14 rebounds. Alec Brennan looked as comfortable as he has at any time this season in 11 productive minutes. He blocked three shots and made a nice three-pointer.
For the first time this season, the Tigers shot 40 percent from the field but did not win.
The Tigers will not face a better team this season. Maryland may very well challenge Michigan State for the regular season and Big Ten Tournament titles. A deep run in the NCAA Tournament will surprise no one. Consistent performances from the Tigers in the manner demonstrated last night will give them a chance to beat all of the Ivy teams, including favorites Yale and Columbia, in the 14-Game Tourney that gets underway on Jan. 9 at The Palestra.
Next up for Princeton is perennial Patriot League contender Bucknell at Jadwin Gym on Tuesday.