After beating Michigan State, Maryland men’s basketball rises to No. 7 in latest AP poll

Guard Anthony Cowan pumps up the crowd during Maryland men's basketball's 82-72 win over Iowa on Jan. 30, 2020 at Xfinity Center. (Julia Nikhinson/The Diamondback)

Maryland men’s basketball went on the road to Michigan State on Saturday and pulled out a 67-60 victory, earning its eighth straight win and fourth straight on the road.

That result — plus a few top-10 losses around the country — helped push the Terps to No. 7 in the latest AP top-25 poll. Coach Mark Turgeon’s team rose two places from last week.

Maryland went on a 14-0 run to end the game in East Lansing, with a 3-pointer from forward Jalen Smith setting up guard Anthony Cowan’s takeover. The senior knocked down three straight triples, then iced the contest with a pair of free throws for a personal 11-0 burst.

The Spartans had roared back into the game, having trailed by as many as 15 late in the first half. But Smith did well with help defense on guard Cassius Winston and Cowan nailed big-time shots to ensure the Terps’ winning streak remained intact.

[Read more: Against Michigan State, Jalen Smith again proved how crucial he is to Maryland basketball]

But a few other results around the country allowed Maryland’s rise in the AP poll possible. Then-No. 5 Louisville lost both of its matchups last week, first to Georgia Tech and then to Clemson. And last Monday, in a battle of the ACC’s top teams, then-No. 7 Duke held off then-No. 8 Florida State; it’s hardly a poor loss for the Seminoles, but Maryland jumped them regardless.

The Terps are the Big Ten’s top-ranked team and lead the conference standings, too. Around the conference, after four straight losses, Illinois dropped out of the top-25 rankings. Penn State continues its rise, though, coming in at No. 9 this week, and the Nittany Lions are in second place in the Big Ten as they ride an eight-game winning streak of their own.

Iowa moved up one spot to No. 20 in the polls, while Ohio State made its way back to No. 25 in the rankings after an early season rise gave way to a collapse that put them on the outside looking in. Michigan State, Michigan, Illinois and Rutgers are all receiving votes just outside the poll.

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