COLLEGE PARK – The University of Maryland men’s basketball team kicked off its inaugural season as a member of the Big Ten Conference with an 82-48 win against the Wagner Seahawks. “People might think Wagner must not be very good but it’s not that I think that we really played well,” said Maryland head coach […]
COLLEGE PARK – The University of Maryland men’s basketball team kicked off its inaugural season as a member of the Big Ten Conference with an 82-48 win against the Wagner Seahawks.
“People might think Wagner must not be very good but it’s not that I think that we really played well,” said Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon. “Wagner plays hard. They compete and play to the final buzzard and our guys did a lot of really good things tonight, especially on the defensive end.”
Maryland’s defense was stellar from the opening tip. With big men Michal Cekovsky and Damonte Dodd blocking four shots and altering many more at the rim, the Terrapins were able to get out to an early lead that they wouldn’t relinquish all night.
The Terrapins scored the first points of the game on a three-pointer by Richaud Pack. Several plays later Dez Wells drove down the lane and finished with a monstrous dunk giving the Terrapins an 8-2 lead. Pack made his second three of the half a few minutes later extending the Terrapins lead to 15-3 and forcing a Seahawks timeout.
“My mindset was that if I could get shots, take them and make them,” Pack said. “I was happy I was able to knock down early because it was able to get my confidence going.”
Bad fouls by the Seahawks and the continued stellar outside shooting from Maryland gave the Terrapins a 37-15 lead. But with less than two minutes left in the first half Wells went down with what looked to be a nasty left ankle injury. Wells however was able to walk off the court under his own power.
“It was one of those things where the initial shock of it you feel it,”?Wells said. You’ve got to calm yourself down and get your nerves under control. I was able to walk off on my own. I was fine. You bend, but you don’t break.”
The Terrapins went into the half with a 43-17 lead. The Terrapins shot 52 percent from the field and 60 percent from long range.
Maryland picked up the second half right where it left off in the first half, starting with a 7-0 run with Wells driving to the basket. Wells finished 7-11 from the field for 18 points on the night.
“Man I’ve rolled my ankle so many times it’s just like waking up in the morning now,” Wells said.
While the Terrapins were able to pull away from the Seahawks in the second half, the team only recorded nine assists on its 24 field goals. Junior forward Jake Layman scored 16 points while leading the team with six assists.
Another bright spot for Maryland was the play of some of the freshmen players. Guards Melo Trimble and Dion Wiley combined for 21 points in 44 minutes while center Michal Cekovsky recorded three points, three rebounds and two blocks in 14 minutes.
The Terrapins led a majority of the half by at least 30 points, leading by as many as 38 points with 7 minutes to play in the second half.
The Terrapins finished the game shooting 55 percent from the field and 50 percent from behind the arc. Wells said he believes the team will truly be tested when it has to figure out how to play when shots are not falling.
“This was the first official game, we were just really, really excited to play,” Wells said. “With that being said, we were going to make a lot of shots. I’m waiting for the first game when we miss shots and we’re not really hitting and how we’re going to respond to that. That’s the game that I’m waiting for.”
Maryland followed up the win with 93-57 drubbing of Central Connecticut University. The Terrapins’ next game is against Fordham on Thursday, and then the team travels to Kansas City to face Arizona State in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic.