After a 1-1 week, the Maryland men’s basketball team fell from No. 7 to No. 9 in the Associated Press poll released Feb. 24.
Kansas (24-3) is the new No. 1. The Jayhawks are followed in the rankings by Baylor (24-2), Gonzaga (27-2), Dayton (25-2) and San Diego State (26-1).
The Terps (22-5 overall, 12-4 in the Big Ten) are the top-ranked Big Ten team. Five other Big Ten teams are ranked: Penn State (No. 16), Iowa (No. 18), Michigan (No. 19), Ohio State (No. 23) and Michigan State (No. 24).
Maryland defeated Northwestern, 76-67, Feb. 18, with sophomore center Jalen Smith (22 points, 19 rebounds) leading the way. Smith fell one rebound shy of posting the Terps’ first 20-20 performance since Joe Smith in 1995. Junior guard Darryl Morsell scored 13 points, and the Terps improved to 13-0 when he scores in double figures. Former Loyola lacrosse star Pat Spencer scored seven points for Northwestern.
Maryland then lost at Ohio State, 79-72, Feb. 23. Senior guard Anthony Cowan Jr. and Smith combined for just 18 points, but sophomores Aaron Wiggins (20 points) and Eric Ayala (16) kept the Terps engaged in the game throughout the second half. But the Buckeyes made 10 of their first 19 threes and drained their final 21 free throws to secure the win. Still, Maryland left Ohio State with its two-game lead in the Big Ten intact.
Next, the Terps travel to Minnesota to take on the Gophers Feb. 26. Minnesota is led by sophomore center Daniel Oturu (19.7 points, 11.4 rebounds per game) and sophomore guards Marcus Carr (15.4, 5.8) and Gabe Kalscheur (11.5, 2.8).
Then, Maryland will host Michigan State Feb. 29. Though the Spartans are No. 24 in the AP poll, they rank No. 8 on KenPom, a college hoops analytics site. Michigan State is led by senior guard Cassius Winston (18.3 points, 5.7 assists) and junior forward Xavier Tillman (13.6 points, 10.3 rebounds). The Terps beat the Spartans, 67-60, Feb. 15.
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