Jahmir Young has a way to turn heads in just seconds of play.
Patrick Emilien’s body language on the bench, his mouth wide, his teeth clenched and his hand on teammate Noah Batchelor’s wrist in gripping excitement, painted that picture.
Emilien had witnessed Young rocket off the three-point line, snatch the ball, and smash it through the rim with little worry towards a shot contest.
The point guard’s slam left viewers with a small taste of Maryland’s (16-7, 7-5 Big Ten) offensive dominance over Minnesota (7-15, 1-11 Big Ten) that led to an 81-46 pristine victory over the Gophers.
The Terps’ 35-point win over the Golden Gophers tied Maryland’s record for margin of victory in a Big Ten game.
With the win, Maryland climbed into a four-team tie for third place in the conference, a position that grew more interesting earlier today as Big Ten leader, No. 1 Purdue, fell to No. 21 Indiana.
The Terps take on Purdue on Feb. 16 at home after narrowly falling to Boilermakers on the road earlier this season.
Maryland’s thrashing of the Golden Gophers was just its second away win of the season, and its first in a conference game.
“It’s definitely a great feeling,” Julian Reese said. “We got to keep this mentality going into Michigan State … but I feel like this is a great start.”
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The red-hot Terps have struck down each of their last four Big Ten opponents by double digits and continue their largest win streak since their 8-0 start to the season.
Maryland took the floor against Minnesota for the first of two straight Big Ten away games. This one though, reeked of an opportunity for the Terps to pick up their first conference away victory of the season against the Golden Gophers.
Minnesota, a bottom dweller of the Big Ten, had been on a six-game slump that had it rooted to the bottom of the conference standings. Maryland found itself in a flipped situation with three straight conference wins and a chance to rise in the Big Ten standings.
Maryland’s offense ground out an ideal start towards that goal. Seven different Terps racked up assists in the first half as their starting unit moved the ball around with rhythm.
That rhythm flowed into an efficient offense with Donta Scott being the main beneficiary, notching a team high 11 first-half points. Scott finished with 13 points, six rebounds and two assists.
A rare component of Maryland’s thriving offense was its proficiency from three. Six made threes in the first half on just 10 attempts proved more than enough to bury the Golden Gophers fast.
“We wanted to come out and really defend at a high level and offensively get the ball moving side to side,” coach Kevin Willard said. I thought we got a lot of good open looks early and the ball movement was really good.”
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Minnesota forward Pharrell Payne provided much of the little resistance his team supplied on offense with a few dunks and other offensive production early. The Golden Gophers surged near the end of the first half with renewed vigor on offense highlighted by a nifty no-look pass to Payne for another slam.
But Minnesota trailed by 20 at the break, and it wouldn’t get any better for the Golden Gophers in the second half. Continued offensive vigor in the second half for Maryland overshadowed Minnesota’s late first half momentum.
“We got a little sloppy [in the first half], but the way we ended the first half and the way we came out halftime was really impressive,” Willard said.
Young in particular took initiative with a slam dunk and racked up seven second-half points early after a late start that saw his teammates take the wheel on drives and shots on the basket.
“When we got stagnant, I thought [Jahmir Young] was great by attacking the rim and getting downhill,” Willard said.
Maryland rattled the Gophers and barreled towards a 30-plus point lead, allowing Willard to let his reserves take the floor with half of the second period remaining.
No Terp recorded more than 25 minutes as Maryland cruised to its first Big Ten away win of the season in historic fashion.