There were big expectations for Evan Smotrycz coming into this season. The Michigan transfer, who sat out last year because of NCAA transfer rules, was thought to bring another dynamic to this year’s Maryland basketball team. He is a big man who can stretch the floor with his shooting ability and also brings experience from being a starter on some solid Michigan teams.
Maryland’s 80-66 win over Northern Iowa tonight was the first game where Smotrycz really showed what he is capable of bringing to Mark Turgeon‘s squad for a full 40 minutes. He led the Terps with 20 points and also added nine rebounds as Maryland advanced to the championship game of the Paradise Jam Tournament.
He shot 8-of-13 from the field and added three key 3-pointers in the ballgame as well. When he is hitting shots like he was tonight, Maryland becomes a much harder team to defend. His ability to step out and hit 3-pointers, especially off a pick and pop, opens up the Terps’ offense in the halfcourt.
That is exactly what happened tonight. Since Smotrycz was thriving on the offensive end, other Terp players really got going. They had four players score over 15 points and showed flashes of how many weapons this team has. Jake Layman poured in 19 points. Dez Wells muscled his way to 16 points on the night and guard Nick Faust went for 17 points in the victory.
A lot of credit for the Terps getting 80 points in this one should go to Smotrycz. A stretch four can be a deadly weapon in college basketball, especially when you have players who can attack the basket and score at the rim like Wells and Faust. When Smotrycz is on, defenses have to stay hugged on him because of his shooting prowess. That is what happened to Northern Iowa tonight and will continue to happen if Smotrycz continues being an offensive threat.
If the Terps want to be an NCAA tournament team this season, the play of Smotrycz is going to be a key like it was in the win tonight. His size and scoring ability will allow this Maryland offense to continue scoring in the 80s.