The renewed Georgetown-Maryland rivalry had been hyped up months before Tuesday’s showdown and it didn’t disappoint. No. 3 Maryland defeated Georgetown, 75-71 in front of an electric crowd at the Xfinity Center in College Park. I attended the game as a fan, but here’s my thoughts on it from a journalistic point of view.
MARYLAND BASKETBALL IS BACK
PUT IT IN ALL CAPS! It’s been 14 years since Juan Dixon and Steve Blake but this new cast of characters looked like the real deal on Tuesday. Aside from the Champions Classic, all eyes were on College Park and the Terps didn’t disappoint. I mean when was the last time SportsCenter was at the University of Maryland? There was a buzz all night long and a nail-biting victory on the national stage only helped Maryland in its quest to relevance. My biggest takeaway from Tuesday night is Maryland basketball is back and is a force to be reckoned with.
Marcus Derrickson could be a legitimate second option for Georgetown
For the last couple of seasons, you haven’t had to worry about D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, you had to worry about the other guys around him. Well, Marcus Derrickson looks like that offensive threat Georgetown desperately needs to take pressure off DSR and Isaac Copeland. Derrickson finished with 13 points on three of five shooting from beyond the arc. I was most impressed with his willingness to look for his own shot and push the envelope a bit. My biggest criticism of Hoya players in the past is that they were too passive to a fault, Derrickson looked like he could buck that trend.
Rasheed Sulaimon is the new Dez Wells
It’s no accident, Duke transfer Rasheed Sulaimon played more minutes than anybody on Maryland. He looks like the unquestioned leader of this team. When Georgetown took a 9-0 lead to start the game, it was Sulaimon who could be seen telling his team to calm down. With 90 seconds left, Sulaimon made the go-ahead three pointer to give Maryland the 71-68 lead. A lead that they would hold onto for the rest of the game. Dez Wells did so much for the Terps last year and replacing him was a big question mark coming into the season, but Rasheed Sulaimon looks like as good a fit as anyone.
Georgetown is better than 0-2
The Hoyas record doesn’t reflect the type of team they can become. In what was a true road game on Tuesday against a top five team, Georgetown gave Maryland everything they could handle. Against an elite big man in Diamond Stone, Bradley Hayes finished with 16 points and eight rebounds. Marcus Derrickson looks like he can stretch the floor and we all know what DSR is capable of. This isn’t a bad roster at all, John Thompson III will have this team in the thick of things come conference play.
Terps are deep
It’s nice to have size in your starting lineup, it’s a blessing to have size coming off the bench. Maryland is blessed. We all know about Diamond Stone and his potential but don’t forget about the seven footers in Damonte Dodd and Michal Cekovsky coming off the bench. The two played 14 minutes apiece and grabbed a total of six rebounds. Those aren’t impressive numbers, but the surplus of size will pay dividends once the Big Ten schedule hits and the week-to-week beating starts to take its toll.