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Beware of Bouknight when Maryland takes on UConn

Morsell's defense will be key in NCAA Tournament first round
Eric Ayala
Posted at 4:34 PM, Mar 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-19 17:27:04-04

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — When the ball is tipped on Saturday night, Eric Ayala will be soaking it all in as his University of Maryland Terrapins take on Connecticut in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

"As a child you dream of playing in March Madness and the lights are on," said the Terps' leading scorer. "It’s definitely an experience and I think guys will step up."

For No. 10 Maryland to advance past the No. 7 Huskies the offensively challenged Terrapins would benefit from Ayala and Aaron Wiggins finding their scoring touch.

"I trust Aaron. I know Aaron trusts me and the rest of our team counts on us," said Ayala.

"I just have to be ready for however a team guards me - being ready to drive the ball, being ready to shoot it, make plays for others," said Terps guard Wiggins.

One key matchup defensively should be Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Darryl Morsell on UConn’s leading scorer, James Bouknight.

"He’s excited about it. They've got a lot of really good players. Bouknight’s the best though, offensive player for them. He’s terrific. Looks like an NBA player to me when I watch him play. Darryl looks forward to that," said Terps Head Coach Mark Turgeon.

Tip-off Saturday is 7:10 p.m.

The Terrapins have won 13 of their past 14 opening round NCAA Tournament games. Only once during that stretch were they as high as a ten seed like this year. They were also a ten seed back in 2009 when they beat California

Follow Shawn Stepner on Twitter @StepnerWMAR and Facebook