Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, March 25, 2016
All four No. 1 seeds are in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2012. And Kansas wasn?t going to be denied on this night.
KU was too good, too talented and too motivated to lose on this night as the No. 1 seeded team in the tourney. The 79-63 triumph over Maryland was the 17th in a row for Kansas, the longest active winning streak in the nation. The Jayhawks are trying to zero in on their first national title since 2008. And, KU will be difficult to stop with talent like Perry Ellis and Wayne Selden leading the way.
Time and time again, the Jayhawks got good shots and came up with key stops to keep Maryland from ever getting back into the game in the second half, as the No. 5-seeded Terps went 5-6 in their last 11 games. Kansas will play No. 2 Villanova in the Elite Eight.
Top star: Kansas senior Perry Ellis showed why he?s the heart and soul of this team. Ellis tallied a game-high 27 points, hitting 10-of-17 shots. He added five boards in a dominating performance. In fact, Ellis outscored the top trio of Maryland big men in Robert Carter, Jake Layman and Diamond Stone, who combined for 21 points.
The stat: 43, rebounds for Kansas, compared to just 28 for Maryland. The Jayhawks limited the Terps? second-chance opportunities while corralling 13 offensive boards.
The key to victory: The Maryland frontcourt wasn?t very productive, as the Terps settled for too many jumpers and shot less than 30 percent in the second half. For the game, Maryland shot 40 percent overall and 20 percent from 3-point range. Melo Trimble too often launched bombs, going 5-of-16 from the field and 1-of-7 from 3-point range to finish with 17 points. He also got to the line just nine times and made just six. Trimble needed to attack more often.
It was over when: Kansas led 36-34 at intermission. And, it took control from there. KU led 59-48 with 11 minutes to go, but it left the door ajar for the Terrapins to get back in it after enduring some droughts. But Maryland never could capitalize and get on track offensively. A Perry Ellis jumper made it 66-53 Kansas with 5:55 to go, essentially putting the game away.
What?s next: Maryland is left to ponder what could have been after making its first Sweet 16 since 2003. The Terrapins began the season amid talk in some circles that it was the No. 1 team in the nation-in addition to being the team to beat in the Big Ten. Well, Maryland came up short despite boasting an uber-talented team. Chemistry seemed to be an issue at times. And the offense looked rudderless on occasion, too. Still, the future looks good for the Terps but they will lose seniors Rasheed Sulaimon and Jake Layman. What?s the future hold for sophomore Melo Trimble and freshman Diamond Stone? They may test the NBA waters but could return to join Robert Carter, Michal Cekovsky, Damonte Dodd, Jared Nickens and Dion Wiley, who will be back from a knee injury that cost him last season. This looks like a Big Ten contender next season.
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