Jahmir Young scored Maryland men’s basketball’s first eight points Friday, driving to the basket on the opening play of the game before getting a pair of triples to fall. His early eruption set the stage for a 23-point first-half performance. He ended the game as he started it.
After the Terps’ 11-minute field goal drought in the second half in which Julian Reese fouled out, Young dominated again. The guard took five of Maryland’s last seven shots of the game and made four in a row to record a career-high 37 points and close out a win against UCLA — the Terps’ first road victory of the year.
Despite prevailing over a Bruins team in free-fall, now 5-6 with four consecutive losses, the Terps still notched their fourth straight win, their first high-major nonconference victory of the year and their first win at Pauley Pavillion in program history thanks to Young’s performance. Maryland relied heavily on its point guard as the rest of the roster struggled.
Young went 13-for-19 from the field and 4-for-6 from deep while the rest of the Terps combined to go 7-for-29 from the field and 4-for-16 from three. After only four players scored in Maryland’s victory against South Alabama earlier this season, something Willard said he didn’t think he’d seen before, the Terps once again notched zero bench points on Friday.
While Julian Reese was held to just one point in his first start without a field goal during his collegiate career, the Terps have leaned on him and Young heavily throughout this season — Young and Reese make up 45.7 percent of the Terps’ scoring this season.
“We’re gonna rely on Julian, Donta and Jahmir a lot,” Willard said after the win against South Alabama. “The rest of those guys are not going to get enough shot attempts at times to be huge factors offensively when those guys are getting most of the shots.”
The Terps are one of just two teams in the Big Ten to have a pair of players with a usage rate of 24 percent or more this season, with Young and Reese recording marks of 29 percent and 24.6 percent respectively, according to KenPom.
The duo has combined for 11 games in which they’ve scored 18 points or more, and the Terps are 7-2 when at least one records such a performance. The rest of the team has combined for just one equivalent scoring output from a single player: Donta Scott’s 19-point outing against South Alabama.
On Friday, it was Young who shined. The guard became just the fifth Maryland player to record multiple 30-point games since the beginning of the 2010-11 season and recorded the highest points total since Diamond Stone dropped 39 against Penn State in 2015. He did so a year after being held without a field goal for the first time in his collegiate career during the Terps’ blowout loss to the Bruins at home.
“I went to sleep last night thinking about [last year’s loss],” Young said. “[I] didn’t want to feel that again, so just coming in here knowing that we had to get them back. They came into our spot last year and got us, so we had to do that to them.”
Young and Reese also frequently get the Terps to the line, an important element of Maryland’s victories this season. The Terps have won every game in which they’ve attempted 22 or more free throws and are 1-4 when they’ve shot less. The duo combined to take 15 free throws Friday, half of Maryland’s total.
Young draws 5.8 fouls per 40 minutes played this season, the 115th best mark of any player in the nation. Reese has drawn 7.9 fouls per 40 minutes played, sixth best among Division I players who have played at least 40 percent of their team’s minutes.
Purdue center Zach Edey leads the nation in the category and will revisit Xfinity Center on Jan. 2 following the Terps’ court-storming upset last season. The No. 1 Boilermakers are currently 11-1 and already boast four wins against currently ranked teams — Arizona, Gonzaga, Marquette and Tennessee.
With one final nonconference game remaining against Coppin State before Maryland restarts Big Ten play with its biggest test of the season, the Terps might need more than just Young or Reese’s heroics to lift them to a similar outcome against Purdue and against stronger teams in conference play.