LOS ANGELES — Maryland’s Jahmir Young vividly recalls the salty disposition throughout the locker room at Xfinity Center last season after UCLA administered a thorough dismantling in a rare meeting between the schools on opposite coasts. In the rematch Friday night, the graduate point guard delivered a measure of redemption, almost single-handedly pushing the Terrapins to a 69-60 win at Pauley Pavilion.
Buoyed by a sizzling first half and clutch buckets down the stretch, the Upper Marlboro native finished with a career-high 37 points in Maryland’s first visit to Westwood in more than 40 years. The Terrapins (8-4) extended their winning streak to a season-best four and have won seven of eight.
Young shot 13 for 19, made 4 of 6 from beyond the arc and scored nine straight points in the final minutes, all through congestion in the painted area, as Maryland avoided the ignominy of nearly blowing a 20-point lead in the second half. His three-point play with 1:27 remaining allowed Maryland to exhale somewhat with a 66-58 lead.
“I went to sleep last night thinking about [last year’s loss],” Young said. “Never forgot that feeling. Just really just remembering that feeling. Didn’t want to feel that again, so just coming in here knowing that we had to get them back. They came into our spot last year and got us, so we had to do that to them.”
Three-point shooting, a glaring deficiency through the first nine games, has become a strength for the Terrapins, who went 8 for 22 and limited UCLA to 1 for 13 from beyond the arc. The Bruins (5-6) shot 31.5 percent overall in dropping their second game in a row at home after having won 29 straight at Pauley Pavilion.
Maryland held a 15-6 advantage in points off turnovers and trailed for only 31 seconds in its final game against a nonconference Power Five opponent this regular season. It evened its record to 2-2 against the Power Five/Big East despite not receiving a single point from its bench in front of a lighter-than-usual crowd with UCLA students on winter break.
“Jahmir, since he’s come here, has never put numbers up like that, but he had always performed that way,” Maryland Coach Kevin Willard said. “For me, to see all the hard work, to do it at UCLA, is phenomenal.”
Donta Scott was the only other Terrapins player besides Young to score in double figures, collecting 17 points with six rebounds. Starting center Julian Reese, meanwhile, again found himself in foul trouble, picking up his fifth with 5:43 to play in the second half and finishing with one point, his fewest this season.
The Terrapins led 48-28 with 17:17 to go into the second half but then went frigid from the field, failing to score a basket for more than 10 minutes. UCLA stormed back to draw within 57-55 on Sebastian Mack’s stick-back with 5:27 to play. But Young steadied Maryland with a jumper followed by a driving layup to bump the lead to six with 3:56 to go, prompting a timeout by the Bruins.
“With [Reese] in foul trouble, there’s only one guy we’re going to go to. I thought Jordan [Geronimo] did a great job of sort of setting some screens and getting [Young] open, and he did the rest,” Willard said.
A foul-filled first half that ended with the Terrapins in front 43-28 included reserve forward Caelum Swanton-Rodger going to the bench with three personals and Reese doing the same when he was assessed his second with 10:13 to go. Maryland had five players with multiple personal fouls by halftime.
The Terrapins stayed aggressive going to the rim, however, completing a pair of three-point plays and adding consecutive three-pointers from Young and Geronimo to craft a 26-13 lead. Geronimo, however, exited soon after with a third personal foul, although Maryland was able to preserve a double-digit margin even while shorthanded.
Underscoring the physicality in the first half, the teams combined for 28 free throw attempts, with Maryland going 10 for 12. Young had 23 points in the first half.
The Terrapins had been anticipating the trip to one of the most storied venues in the sport following last season’s 87-60 loss in College Park to the 11-time national champions, the most recent coming in 1995, which also was the last time Maryland played a regular season game on the West Coast.
UCLA dealt the Terrapins, making just their third trip in school history to Pauley Pavilion, their only loss at Xfinity Center last season by opening a 49-20 lead at halftime and forcing 16 turnovers. Turnovers have remained problematic this season for Maryland, which entered second to last in the Big Ten in assist-to-turnover ratio and 10th out of 14 teams in turnovers per game.
A recent focus on ball security has resulted in the Terrapins committing just 13 turnovers total in the past two games, although those non-Power Five opponents, Alcorn State and Nicholls, have a combined record of 5-20. Maryland plays its final nonconference game Thursday night against another non-Power Five school, Coppin State, before resuming Big Ten competition.
The showdown with UCLA came 50 years after the first meeting between the schools on Dec. 1, 1973, when the then-No. 1 Bruins survived, 65-64, behind center Bill Walton’s 18 points, 27 rebounds and four assists. Walton, who provided analysis Friday during ESPN2’s telecast, set the Pauley Pavilion single-game record for rebounds against the Terrapins, then ranked fourth.