Maryland defeats Hawaii to reach first Sweet 16 since 2003
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No. 5 Maryland staved off an upset bid from No. 13 Hawaii on Sunday, winning 73–60 and booking its first trip to the Sweet 16 since 2003. Hawaii jumped out to an early start against the Terps, driving to the basket for its first three buckets. After a defensive adjustment from Maryland, both teams struggled to score with the Rainbows leading 6–2 at the 15-minute mark. Despite poor shooting from Hawaii, the Rainbow Warriors dominated the offensive boards, leading to second-chance opportunities. The Terps were ice cold from three-point range (1 for 18, their worst performance since 2011) but back-to-back dunks from Diamond Stone helped Maryland heat up, going on a 12–2 run to take an 18–15 lead.
The two squads traded baskets for the remainder of the first half before Maryland’s Melo Trimble put up five points in the final minute to give it a 28–27 lead going into the locker room. The Rainbow Warriors came out strong in the second half, putting together an 8–2 run before Maryland took over and never looked back. Capitalizing on turnovers and fast breaks, the Terps went on a 14–0 run that run included their only three of the night and gave the Terps a 12-point lead with seven minutes to go.
Hawaii netted only seven points in over 10 minutes of second-half play before a deep three from Stefan Jankovic cut the lead to 10 with 3:52 to go. Maryland’s solid free-throw shooting prevented Hawaii from going on a run, hitting an astounding 90% from the charity stripe, including 13 of 14 for Trimble and 8 of 9 for Rasheed Sulaimon down the stretch.
Why it matters
Maryland once again relied on stingy defense and the ability to capitalize on turnovers, as they struggled offensively in the first half. Impressive free-throw shooting was instrumental for the Terps again, but they’ll have to do more if they hope to keep advancing.
Maryland will take on No. 1 Kansas, which dismantled No. 9 UConn, on Thursday, March 24 in Louisville. The Jayhawks will pressure the Terps with their suffocating defense, which ranks No. 5 nationally in adjusted efficiency, according to kenpom.com.