Impressive debut by Chol Marial helps Maryland cruise past Bryant 84-70

Andy Kwong

No. 13 Maryland (11-2) won 84-70 over Bryant (8-5) on Sunday afternoon in College Park. The win snaps the Terrapins' two-game losing streak as well as the Bulldogs' four-game win streak.

The Terrapins were supposedly shorthanded on the front court, after Makhi and Makhel Mitchell decided to enter the transfer portal. Neither player were getting the minutes they wanted and both sides mutually agreed with the decision to part ways. But, Maryland had one of their best overall performances of the season against Bryant.

Freshman Chol Marial benefited from the Mitchell twins departure. The Terps have been missing a dominant big man this season and the 7-foot-2 230-pound center made an impact on the court right away. In his debut, he opened the half making two powerful dunks, including four rebounds.

When Marial made a play, he got the Terrapins' fan base up on their feet. At 14:13 in the second half he made a huge block on Benson Lin, immediately sending a message to the Bulldogs that the Xfinity Center is his court. He finished the game with six points and five rebounds.

One of the keys to winning this game was for Jalen "Stix" Smith to have a strong start and he certainly did not disappoint. He displayed his power as he forced his way to the free throw line twice to score the first three points for the Terps. He went 3-of-4 from the field, nine points, seven rebounds, and one block going into the break. He finished the game with a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

With the great first half showing by Marial and Smith, it is only fitting to praise Eric Ayala as well. Ayala made two 3-pointers before the break, igniting a fire that led the Terps to take a 36-31 lead that would not extinguish. 

Bryant did their absolute best to stay in game, highlighted by the 25-point and 18-point efforts by Adam Grant and Ikenna Ndugba respectively. Their high-scoring performances forced Terps' senior guard Anthony Cowan to respond with 19 points of his own, including 9-of-9 from the free throw line. The Terps were the bigger team coming into the game and it showed after they out-rebounded the Bulldogs 48-16.

Ndugba's emotions clearly got the best of him as he had a technical foul with 0:02 seconds remaining in the game. 

Overall, Chol Marial has made a bigger impact on the court than any of the Mitchell twins. If he continues to play this way, he will be in the starting lineup sooner than later. The energy he brought to the Terps and their fan base was at full display today. Maryland men's basketball team looks like a dangerous team again.