No. 2 Maryland (5-0 overall) defeated Rhode Island (3-2 overall) 86-63 on Wednesday night in the Cancun Challenge and will take on Cleveland State (2-3 overall) on Saturday.
Wednesday’s game was the first time since the season opener that Maryland didn’t have to come from behind in the second half to win.
Maryland will head to Chapel Hill on Tuesday to take on No. 9 North Carolina (5-1 overall), here are four things that need to happen for the Terps to win.
Maryland had to make second half comebacks to win in three of the last four contests against inferior opponents. North Carolina at home will be a different animal for the Terps, who haven’t played a true road game this season. The Terps could have a tougher time trying to make a comeback against North Carolina. A quick start is important for Maryland come Tuesday night.
Lean on Rasheed Sulaimon
Playing in Chapel Hill won’t be anything new for Rasheed Sulaimon, the Duke transfer. He’s taken on the leadership role for the Terps, who lost Dez Wells to the NBA. Sulaimon has been the go to guy in late game situations and has scored 35 points in the last two games. If the game is close down the stretch look for Sulaimon to take the deciding shot.
Contain Kennedy Meeks
Diamond Stone and Damonte Dodd will get their first real test of the season against Kennedy Meeks. The Tars Heel big man has picked up the slack left behind by injured point guard Marcus Paige. Meeks is averaging 14 points, seven rebounds and a block per game.
Be ready for Marcus Paige
All-American point guard Marcus Paige told the Raleigh News & Observer before Monday’s game against Northwestern that he was “very close” to returning and said the percentage of him playing against Maryland was “in the 90s.” Paige is coming off a broken right hand that he suffered during a preseason practice. Paige averaged 14 points and four assists last season.