Despite a 2-0 week, the Maryland men’s basketball team drops one spot to No. 4 in this week’s AP Top 25 rankings, released Dec. 9.
Ohio State (9-0) jumped up three spots to move ahead of the Terps at No. 3, while Louisville (9-0) and Kansas (7-1) hold on to their spots at the top of the poll. The Buckeyes defeated North Carolina, 74-49, and Penn State, 106-74. Three Big Ten teams rank in the top five, with Michigan (8-1) coming in at No. 5.
On the week, the Terps defeated Notre Dame, 72-51, Dec. 4 and edged Illinois, 59-58, Dec. 7.
Against Notre Dame, junior forward Jalen Smith excelled on both ends of the court, tallying 15 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks as the Terps secured their first win in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge since switching leagues in 2014.
Three other Terps scored in double figures — Eric Ayala had 14, Aaron Wiggins had 11 and Darryl Morsell had 10. On defense, Maryland held the Fighting Irish to 29 percent shooting from the floor.
Against Illinois, the Terps trailed, 39-25, at halftime and 43-28 with 17:24 remaining. Senior point guard Anthony Cowan Jr. drained a 30-foot 3-pointer with 19 seconds remaining to tie the game. Cowan then forced a loose ball on Illinois’ ensuing possession, and Andres Feliz fouled him in the scrum. Cowan hit the first free throw to give Maryland a 59-58 lead, just its second of the entire game, and Illinois couldn’t get off a winning shot.
Up next, the Terps travel to Penn State for their first Big Ten road matchup of the season Dec. 10.
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