SMCM trav­els to Col­lege Park to play Terps

Sea­hawks pleased to be part of big stage; North Point grad­u­ate Mou­ton leads team with 16 points

Maryland Independent - - Sports - By TED BLACK tblack@somd­ Twit­ter: tblack­somds1

When the St. Mary’s Col­lege of Maryland men’s bas­ket­ball team headed to the Universi- ty of Maryland to face a Ter­rap­ins squad that is a peren­nial Big 10 and na­tional power, the Sea- hawks pri­mar­ily fo­cused on sim­ply get­ting adapted to life on a grander stage.

St. Mary’s play­ers have grown ac­cus­tomed to play­ing home and away games in some­what cozy are­nas, but Thurs­day they re­ceived a be­lated tu­to­rial on the les­sons of play­ing in the cav­ernous Xfin­ity Cen­ter at the Col- lege Park cam­pus, where the weeknight crowd was an­nounced at 15,779. The con­test was an ex­hi­bi­tion for the Sea­hawks, but a game that counted for Maryland.

In essence, that was the main pur­pose of the NCAA Divi­sion III Sea- hawks mak­ing the pro­longed jour­ney to face the es­tab­lished D-I pro­gram. On­look­ers who made the trip from St. Mary’s County or ad­ja­cent coun- ties and those who sim­ply walked from their dorms for the game, were likely not sur­prised that the Terps recorded a lop­sided 93-45 vic­tory.

“It was a great ex­peri- ence for all of our guys,” said St. Mary’s 12th-year head coach Chris Har- ney, a for­mer Sea­hawks player. “Of course, at first we were ner­vous and ev­ery­one could see that we were jit­tery. But I was proud of the guys for their ef­fort. Once we set­tled down, we ran our sets. We’re just not used to hav­ing guys that tall that can block our shots.”

Among the SMCM play­ers, only Tre Mou­ton had ac­tu­ally com­peted at the Xfin­ity Cen­ter be­fore, when he was a mem­ber of the North Point High School boys bas­ket­ball team that reached the Class 4A state fi­nals. But Mou­ton at­tended Maryland games on a reg­u­lar ba­sis when his un­cle, Byron Mou­ton, played for the Terps and was an in­te­gral part of the school’s NCAA cham­pi­onship team in 2001-02.

“I played three games here in high school, so I re­ally wasn’t that in­tim­i­dated,” said Tre Mou­ton, who led the Sea­hawks with 16 points. “It’s been four years since the last time I played here, but I still thought it was a great ex­pe­ri­ence. We played against one of the best teams, on their floor, and we had to stay fo­cused and con­fi­dent.”

Mou­ton had 10 of the Sea­hawks’ 22 points at half­time and pro­vided the team with two high­lights in the fi­nal 15 sec­onds. He com­pleted a con­ven­tional three-point play with a layup and free throw, then the North Point prod­uct ended the half by con- nect­ing on a three-point field goal at the buzzer, much to the de­light of the St. Mary’s faith­ful who made the trip.

Lavonte San­ders, scored five points who and added four re­bounds while play­ing 31 min- utes, had seen nu­mer­ous Maryland men’s bas­ket- ball games as a spec­ta­tor, but this con­test marked his first on the floor as a player. Even with his team trail­ing by 54-22 at the break, San­ders liked what he and his team- mates ac­com­plished early in the sec­ond half.

“This was a great ex­pe­ri­ence,” San­ders said. “I grew up not too far from here and I watched a num­ber of games here. But tonight was my first chance to get on the floor. The crowd wasn’t as in- tim­i­dat­ing as I thought. It’s a big gym, but we set­tled down in the sec­ond half. They had a size ad­van­tage, so we had to box out as a team and not play as in­di­vid­u­als.”

Mou­ton’s of­fen­sive spurt late in the first half en­abled the Sea­hawks to de­part from the locker room af­ter the in­ter­mis­sion with a hint of con­fi­dence.

“At half­time, I told the guys go out there and play and win ev­ery four min­utes,” Har­ney said. “If you look at it, for the first eight min­utes of the sec­ond half we ac­tu­ally outscored them [11-10]. That’s why I was so proud of these guys. We played a team that is big­ger and im­mensely tal­ented and we ba­si­cally outscored them for a stretch to start the sec­ond half.”

Only four Maryland play­ers scored in dou­ble fig­ures, al­though Terps stand­out guard Melo Trim­ble (seven points in 15 min­utes) was not one of them.

Maryland head coach Mark Tur­geon also han­dled the game more like a scrim­mage al­though the Ter­rap­ins counted the vic­tory, go­ing to his bench early and of­ten. Four of his re­serves logged more time on the court than any of his five starters.

“It was great be­ing on the floor with Melo when he was out there,” San­ders said. “He’s a great player and he’ll be play­ing at the next level [Na­tional Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion] next year. We have a lot of re­spect for each other. I wasn’t re­ally in­tim­i­dated by be­ing on the floor with him. He’s a great player, but I think he knows what me and some of my team­mates can do.”

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