West Virginia and Maryland got off to a great start to the NCAA Tournament play offs on Thursday.
In a game that was tight after a hot start by West Virginia, Maryland prevailed 67–65 in the opening game of the men’s tournament. Maryland’s Julian Reese sealed the victory with a powerful dunk over West Virginia forward Patrick Suemnik in the final minutes of the game.
West Virginia had a shot at the game-winning buzzer-beater when Jahmir Young missed a free throw with 4.7 seconds remaining, but Kedrian Johnson’s shot in transition was off the mark. Maryland came back from an early 19–6 deficit to win.
Close Call Profit Terps
Maryland also benefited from late shutouts. Young appeared to lose control of the ball with Maryland’s lead, 66–63 with 47.1 seconds remaining. But officials ruled it out of bounds for West Virginia on the court. He spent several minutes reviewing the play and could not definitively determine whether a player touched the ball after Young, so Maryland retained control of the ball.
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Maryland’s Donta Scott then missed a contested layup, but got his rebound, and the Terps were able to run out 28.5 seconds on the clock before turning the ball over. Trey Mitchell made a layup on West Virginia’s ensuing possession to cut the deficit to 66–65. But the score was only 8.4 seconds left on the clock, ultimately not enough time for the Mountaineers’ comeback.
Reese led the way for Maryland with 17 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Four Maryland players scored in double digits as the Terrapins shot 51.1% from the field.
Johnson led the way for West Virginia with 27 points on 8 of 13 shooting from the field. But West Virginia struggled largely from the field with 39.3% shooting attempt, despite going 8 of 19 (42.1%) from 3-point distance. All-Big 12 guard Erik Stevenson scored 9 points on 4 of 17 shooting attempts.
Maryland advanced to face No. 1 seed Alabama on Saturday.