For the first time in 8 years, the Maryland Terrapins (25-12) have advanced to the NIT Semifinals at Madison Square Garden. However, the Terps faced their hardest test yet this tournament in the quarterfinals against the Alabama Crimson Tide (23-13) on Tuesday night, barely squeaking out a 58-57 win.
Alex Len led Maryland with a game-high 15 points and 13 points, despite being in foul trouble in the second half. To go along with his double-double, Len made a crucial block in the final seconds to seal the game for the Terps. Dez Wells also added 13, and Jake Layman had 13 off the bench. For Alabama, Levi Randolph led the way with 15 points, with Rodney Cooper adding 13 and Trevor Releford adding 11.
Throughout the game, neither team seemed able to pull away from the other. In the first half, Alabama went punch for punch with Maryland, even holding a lead for an 8-minute span. However, the Terps ended the first half on a run and in the lead, and they carried that momentum into the second half. Maryland led the entire second half, with Alabama always staying at an arms-length distance.
With key plays by Len and Layman down the stretch, the Terps were able to hold on for the victory. The team accomplished something that hasn’t been done since December 30: Beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Mark Turgeon has his team playing well at that right moment as they look ahead to their semifinal match-up at Madison Square Garden on April 2 at 7 pm on ESPN2, where they will play the winner of the Virginia-Iowa game on Wednesday night.