Terps Smack-Down Iowa State 72-63, Win CBE Tourney

Sports and Bets — November 26, 2014 at 12:52 am by

It was hell in a shell tonight, babes. The Terps went into Kansas City and took the CBE Hall of Fame Classic Tournament by knocking off the #13 Iowa State Cyclones in the tourney finals, 72-63.  It was a tournament seemingly set up for Iowa State to win, Kansas City is Big 12 country and the Iowa State Campus is a relatively reasonable three and a half hour drive away.  But Maryland had other plans, beating the Cyclones soundly in what felt like an Iowa State home game.  The Terps played smart, efficient basketball from the tip (Except for some late game blundering that made the contest mildly interesting in the final two minutes.) and after staking a three point halftime lead, Maryland never looked back, leading by as much as 15 in the second half, before winning by nine.  Iowa State, a veteran team with NCAA experience, pulled within five points a few times, but every time the Cyclones got close, Maryland answered to surge back to a more comfortable lead.   The Terps looked more poised down the stretch than the team who was supposed to be more poised and experienced, and it was that poise and toughness that built Maryland the double digit lead that ultimately allowed them to win this game and this tournament.

Jared Nickens and Jake Layman led the way for Maryland with 15 points apiece.  Nickens is a part of the fabulous freshman class and we talked last night about his offensive skills, despite the fact that he only had one point versus Arizona State.  Tonight Nickens hit several key buckets in the second half and he was absolutely the offensive spark this club needed.  Nickens has no conscious, he will shoot from anywhere at anytime.  He is instant offense and he has zero fear. It’s so nice seeing Maryland perimeter players who can actually shoot at this level.  Jake Layman had another solid night of screaming dunks, three pointers, and solid rebounding.  With his 15 points/6 boards/ and 2 assists, it’s obvious Jake is involved in all aspects.  He mixed it up nicely inside as well.  Layman still gets pushed around from time to time, but he seems to have a stomach for the physical game this season and his athleticism makes up for his thinner build on some rebounds.  I really like how his game has come along and I’d like to see him shoot more.

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But this wasn’t just a shooters and flash kinda game for Maryland. The bigs for the Terps played very well and were definitely difference makers.  None of the three principal big men, Dodd, Graham, or Cekovsky; had flashy-cash numbers, but they all played quality minutes.  Jon Graham got the start tonight and he set the tone early with four quick points.  Dodd and Cekovsky also only had four points each on the night, but they also finished with five and eight rebounds respectively and both played solid, if not spectacular defense.  The Cyclones, who don’t have a post-up player, were frustrated by Maryland’s size all night.  Dodd and Cekovsky combined for three blocks and they altered Iowa State shot after Iowa State shot.  The Cyclones were visibly frustrated when going to the basket.

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This is a very big win for Maryland- it’s exciting as hell.  This team can shoot lights out, they can run and gun, and they have a very nice chemistry- something that Maryland seemed to lack last season.  This game obviously isn’t the end all, be all, but it’s a real nice confidence builder for a team that probably doesn’t need one.  The Terps finally seem to have confidence in their team DNA.

Game Notes

Dez Wells had 14 points and nine rebounds, but he was only 5 of 20 from the field.  The clear out plays that were so effective for him against ASU, weren’t against ISU.  In fact, for a few possessions I felt like I was watching the Lakers stand around for Kobe.  Dez is Maryland’s leader and best player, but I thought they tried to run Dez isolation plays too many times tonight.  Of course, that’s easy to say when his shot isn’t falling, but I’ll say it anyway. This offense seems to flow better with more movement.

Dion Wiley hit a three off the bench for his only score, but it was a big shot as it put the Terps up by ten for the first time.  Shooters.  We got shooters.

The Terps played their best defense of the season tonight.  We already talked about the bigs, but the perimeter defense was much better too.  This is an Iowa State team known for its high scoring.  Maryland held them twenty points below their season average and held the Cyclones to 29.7% shooting.  Defense, babes. Conversely, Maryland shot 44.1% form the field.

Now the Terps come home to take on Monmouth on Friday night.

Nice to win this tourney to celebrate Gary going into the Hall.

Let’s Go Terps!

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cover: usatoday

 

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