Maryland men’s basketball vs. Princeton preview


The Maryland men’s basketball team used a stellar second half to top a feisty Maryland-Eastern Shore team 77-56 last Saturday.

The Terrapins continued to display the strong amount of depth that this roster possesses. One of the biggest positives was the ever-improving chemistry in the backcourt between Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon.

Despite only scoring four points, Sulaimon still had a big impact on the game. The Duke transfer registered a career-high 10 assists against the Hawks. Sulaimon continues to be a great facilitator, who isn’t concerned with individual numbers.

On the other hand, Trimble continues to excel on the offensive end. The Bishop O’Connell (Va.) product is shooting 62.5 percent over his last two games, including connecting on five of his six field goal attempts against Maryland-Eastern Shore.

The frontcourt play also continues to be strong, despite being edged out in the rebounding department 28-26 against the Hawks. Freshman Diamond Stone is really excelling in a reserve role as he scored in double figures for the third consecutive game.

Maryland also received a solid effort from forward Michal Cekovsky, who chipped in seven points and a pair of rebounds. Cekovsky looks to be one of the team’s most improved players, and he is proving to be a valuable commodity off the bench.

The Terps may be ranked No. 6 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, but this is a team that is really hitting its stride after an eye-opening loss against North Carolina two weeks ago.

Getting To Know Princeton

  • Princeton is one of the Ivy League’s more storied programs. The Tigers have went to the NCAA Tournament on 24 occasions, including one Final Four appearance during the 1964-65 season. That championship-caliber team was captained by New York Knick and U.S. Senator Bill Bradley. Princeton last went to the NCAA Tournament during the 2010-11 season under coach Sydney Johnson, who currently coaches Fairfield in the MAAC. The Tigers fell to No. 4 seed Kentucky in the Second Round. Princeton finished with a 16-14 record during the 2014-16 season, which was good for third place in the Ivy League.
  • The Tigers are a very versatile group that have amassed a 6-2 record during this young season. Princeton’s only blemishes are back-to-back losses to Saint Joseph’s and Stony Brook. The team is led by junior forward Henry Caruso, who is one of the most dangerous players in the conference. Caruso really does it all for the Tigers. The California native has the ability to slash his way to the rim, while also having the touch from the perimeter. Caruso is shooting 58 percent from the field, including a 50 percent from beyond the arc.

Three Keys for Maryland

  • Win the battle on the glass – Princeton possesses four players that average five or more rebounds per game. Caruso is among the most talented due to his size and overall athleticism. However, Steven Cook (5.0), Pete Miller (6.5), and Spencer Weisz (6.5) also top that plateau for the Tigers. Maryland’s frontcourt is one of the strongest points on the roster, but the Terps are definitely going to establish position early on and grab those rebounds and 50/50 balls.
  • Distribute the basketball – The Terps have one of the most prolific backcourts around. Trimble and Sulaimon have been all sorts of phenomenal, which has allowed Trimble to not have to play quite as many minutes. Sulaimon has displayed a strong acumen for setting his teammates up and that will need to continue against a very scrappy Princeton team.
  • Perimeter shooting – As a team, Maryland is shooting 53.2 percent on the season. They’re also draining 39.2 percent of their shots from beyond the three-point line. It’s been an abundance of different players contributing when it comes to perimeter shooting. Against Maryland-Eastern Shore, four different players connected on at least one three. Forward Jared Nickens splashed home four from beyond the arc as he continues to be one of the top options off the Terps’ bench. If Maryland can also get forward Jake Layman to be more consistent, then this could be the most dangerous team in the Big Ten, if not the entire country.

Next: Time to pass the torch to Ty Johnson