Jahmir Young tipped a Cornhuskers pass away, and the Terps raced up the court with little resistance.
The Charlotte transfer lofted an underhand pass up to Donta Scott, who threw down an alley-oop that elicited a roar from the home crowd.
Young’s lob was one of Maryland men’s basketball’s joint season-high 16 assists in the team’s win over Nebraska Saturday at Xfinity Center, which featured the Terps’ largest margin of victory in a Big Ten game this season.
That tally is an example of Maryland’s surging assist numbers in recent games. The Terps have recorded 14, 15 and 16 assists in their last three games against Purdue, Wisconsin and Nebraska, respectively.
Coach Kevin Willard’s squad has been able to take care of the ball in addition to finding their teammates, recording 10 or fewer giveaways in each of their last four games despite turnover troubles earlier this season.
“Offensively, we’ve just taken care of basketball so much better,” Willard said. “So it’s a lot less run outs for them [and] us at least getting shots.”
Maryland has turned around its possession struggles and recorded four straight games with an assist-to-turnover ratio of more than one after failing to do so in its first six Big Ten games of the season due to the increase in assists and a decrease in turnovers.
“Earlier on and especially when we lost, we were averaging more turnovers than assists, so that was just something that coach came in the locker room and talked to us about,” guard Don Carey said. “So [we’re] really just learning from our mistakes, getting better and capitalizing on that, and I think we’re playing a better brand of basketball that way.”
The Terps are 9-1 this season when registering an assist-to-turnover ratio of more than one — the only loss coming against the current No. 1 team in the nation, Purdue — and are 5-6 when recording a ratio of less than one.
Hakim Hart and Young have combined for 34 of Maryland’s 45 assists in the Terps’ last three games, with the former notching a career-high eight dishes against Wisconsin and the latter matching his season high twice with seven-assist performances against Purdue and Nebraska.
“The last few games [Hart] has really just played with a very steady pace finding guys,” Willard said. “He didn’t shoot the ball great tonight [against Nebraska] but [had] five assists, one turnover and the way he played in the second half the other night [against Wisconsin], I just think the way he's playing, passing the basketball, has made a big difference.”
Hart and Young’s stellar recent performances have boosted their assist-to-turnover ratios to 1.72 and 1.41 respectively, the second and third best on the team.
The pair trail reserve point guard Jahari Long in the category, who has notched an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.00 and the third most assists on the team with 32 despite playing limited minutes offof the bench.
Maryland has still recorded 12 more turnovers than assists this year, but the Terps have closed that margin with good ball movement in possession in recent games and hope to tip the scale in the opposite direction as they enter the latter stages of Willard’s inaugural season.