West Virginia and Maryland got NCAA tournament play off to a rousing start on Thursday.
In a game that was tight throughout after a hot West Virginia start, Maryland held on for a 67-65 win in the opening game of the men's tournament. Maryland's Julian Reese punctuated the victory with a thunderous dunk over West Virginia forward Patrick Suemnick in the game's final minutes.
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) March 16, 2023
West Virginia had a shot at a game-winning buzzer-beater after a Jahmir Young missed free throw with 4.7 seconds remaining, but Kedrian Johnson's shot in transition was off the mark. Maryland rallied from an early 19-6 deficit to secure the win.
Close call benefits Terps
Maryland also benefited from a late close. Young appeared to lose control of the ball out of bounds with Maryland leading, 66-63 with 47.1 seconds remaining. But officials called it out of bounds on West Virginia on the court. They spent several minutes reviewing the play and couldn't determine with certainty if a player touched the ball after Young, so Maryland maintained control of the ball.
Maryland's Donta Scott then missed a contested layup but got his own rebound, and the Terps were able to run the clock down to 28.5 seconds before turning the ball over. Tre Mitchell scored a layup on West Virginia's ensuing possession to cut the deficit to 66-65. But the score left just 8.4 seconds on the clock, ultimately not enough time for a Mountaineers comeback.
Reese led the way for Maryland with 17 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Four Maryland players scored in double figures as the Terrapins shot 51.1% from the field.
Johnson led the way for West Virginia with 27 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field. But West Virginia largely struggled from the field with a 39.3% shooting effort despite going 8 of 19 (42.1%) from 3-point distance. All-Big 12 guard Erik Stevenson scored 9 points on a 4-of-17 shooting effort.
Maryland advances to face No. 1 seed Alabama on Saturday.