Carter leads No. 2 Maryland past Cleveland State, 80-63 - Sports Illustrated

Carter leads No. 2 Maryland past Cleveland State, 80-63

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) Maryland coach Mark Turgeon liked the way his players shared the ball, limited turnovers and attacked the zone against Cleveland State.

Now, an even bigger test looms for his undefeated team at No. 9 North Carolina on Tuesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Robert Carter had 17 points and eight rebounds to the help No. 2 Terrapins beat the Vikings 80-63 on Saturday night. Jared Nickens added 16 points, and freshman Diamond Stone had a season-high 15 points for Maryland (6-0).

''You look at a lot of scores in college basketball, it's hard to win,'' Turgeon said. ''So we did a lot of great things. Yeah, maybe it was a little flat to start and maybe we were looking forward to what lies ahead, but we have to be more consistent with our effort.''

Demonte Flannigan scored 11 of his 20 points in the first half, and Rob Edwards added 14 points for Cleveland State (2-4), which was 3 of 12 (25 percent) from 3-point range. Vinny Zollo went 5 of 7 from the field and had 11 points for the Vikings.

Maryland led by just four at the break and took control by increasing the pressure to open the second half. A dunk by Stone capped an 8-0 run and the Terrapins led 45-33 with 17:06 left.

From there, the Terps used their size and depth to wear down the Vikings, who could not get closer than nine points the rest of the way. Nickens and Jake Layman hit 3-pointers and Maryland opened a 64-49 lead with 7:43 remaining.

''I thought Maryland picked up the intensity and played defense harder,'' Cleveland State head coach Gary Waters said. ''We didn't execute in the first five minutes of the second half, and I told our players going out there that it's all going to be based on the first five minutes of the second half.''

The 6-foot-7 Flannigan picked up his fourth foul with just under 10 minutes left, hampering the Vikings at both ends of the court. A putback by Nickens and a pair of free throws boosted Terrapins' margin to 70-53 with 5:18 left and they were never threatened the rest of the way.

Maryland was 15 of 18 from the free-throw line and had a 27-22 rebounding edge.

Maryland could not shake Cleveland State in the opening half and a jumper by Kenny Carpenter gave the Vikings their first lead, 25-24, with 8:03 left. Nickens responded with three straight 3-pointers that helped the Terps take a 37-33 lead at halftime.

''I don't force anything,'' Nickens said. ''My teammates do a good job finding me. My teammates have that confidence in me so I always shoot it when I'm open.''

Maryland shot 14 of 23 (60.9 percent) in the opening half.


Cleveland State: The Vikings also lost their only other matchup against the Terrapins, 95-84, on Dec. 5 1984. ... Maryland was Cleveland State highest-ranked opponent since Nov. 26, 1999, when it lost to No. 1 Cincinnati, 90-56.

Maryland: The Terrapins won their 29th consecutive game at home against an unranked team. ... Maryland extended its winning streak in November to 16 games, having not lost since Nov. 17, 2013, against Oregon State (90-83).


With Maryland struggling to pull away, Nickens rallied the offense with the three straight 3-pointers to give his team a lead they never relinquished. Nickens was 4 of 6 from beyond the arc and his confidence is growing with each game. ''I feel like everything is going in,'' Nickens said.


Cleveland State entered the game shooting just 35.2 percent from the field. The Vikings were much better against Maryland and were 29 of 55 (52.7 percent.). ... Flannigan had a total of 18 points in his past three games.


''With our team, someone is always free, so we just have to be good at shooting the ball. It's hard to double us and leave someone open.'' Maryland forward Robert Carter.


Cleveland State is at Toledo on Wednesday night.

Maryland plays at No. 9 North Carolina on Tuesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.