Maryland Terps

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Wells' career night pushes Maryland past Mason

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Wells' career night pushes Maryland past Mason

For the Maryland Terrapins to be the team they want to ultimately be this season, eventually they would have to win a game like they won this afternoon against the George Mason University Patriots.

 After Maryland had earned a 34-30 halftime lead, the Patriots came flying out of the visitor’s locker room at Verizon Center. They scored the first seven points before the Terps regained their composure and responded with a 9-2 run of their own to take the lead back at 43-39 with 14:43 to play in the game.

 As it turned out that was the biggest lead Maryland would have until center Alex Len made a soft hook in the lane with just over six minutes remaining to give them a 55-49 lead. Eventually the final margin of 69-62 felt very deceptive.

Back to the original premise….what makes this win mean something are two things. First off, George Mason is a good team from a program that is accustomed to achieving and winning. They entered this event with nothing to lose and expecting to win. If you’re Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon, that is a dangerous combination in an opponent.

Second, this was the first time this season that the Terps had fallen behind in the second half and came back to win and they had to do it by grinding out possessions on both ends of the floor. Had they shot a little better from the free throw line (23-39 for the game) they may very well have taken some of the drama out of this contest but this Maryland team does not appear to be wired that way.

In their five wins coming into the BB&T today, the Terps had five different leading scorers in those wins. Sophomore wing Dez Wells appeared to have a breakout performance in the Maryland win at Northwestern earlier in the week and he picked up where he left off this afternoon. He nailed his first four shots of the game and eventually shot 7-10 with 15 points heading into the break.

 The only problem is that he was also guilty of four turnovers at critical times that helped to allow the Patriots a chance to claw their way back into the game.

 For the game he finished with a career high 25 points but his contributions appeared to be even greater than that, if that is possible.

After George Mason had taken that 37-34 lead early in the second half, the Patriots took a long rebound off of a Maryland miss and headed up court in transition. As point guard, Byron Allen pitched the ball up the sideline on the break, Wells intercepted the ball just as he was falling out of bounds and, somehow, fired the ball to teammate Pe’Shon Howard at halfcourt. Howard took two dribbles and lofted an alley-oop pass to fellow guard Nick Faust for a thunderous, “highlights at 11” slam that not only woke the Maryland fans up but also completely re-invigorated the team at a critical juncture. From that point on his teammates seemed as completely engaged as Wells was.

On the stat sheet it probably went down as one steal. In reality it was much, much greater.

While Len has probably been the most consistent player on the team from game one through the game this afternoon, it is becoming increasingly evident that it is Wells’ team at this point. Watch him provide direction to his teammates- often time with volume- in practice or in a huddle and it’s pretty clear to see.

Faust had a quietly solid game with 14 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists and seems to be thriving in his role as Robin to Wells’ Batman.

The Terps continue to hammer opponents on the backboards. George Mason rebounded as well as any team Maryland has faced all season but still ended up getting hammered 49-34. That advantage was one reason why Maryland shot so many free throws and why they were able to overcome the 19 turnovers they committed.

The way their schedule breaks, this Maryland team should cruise into ACC play with a fairly gaudy 12-1 record when they open up with Virginia Tech in the first week of the year. As they navigate these next couple of weeks they would be well served to remember the lessons from a hard-earned win today.

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Maryland reacts to latest FBI investigation reports

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Maryland reacts to latest FBI investigation reports

The world of college basketball has been on high alert since last fall when reports first surfaced of a longterm FBI investigation into the worst-kept secret in sports: college athletes being paid to play.

News surrounding the scandal died down after the inital wave of arrests, but Yahoo! Sports released a warning of sorts recently and followed it up on Friday by naming players (both past and present) for the first time. There were dozens of programs and players implicated, including Maryland's Diamond Stone.

Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon released the following statement Friday afternoon.

"Late last night we were alerted of a report associating one of our former student-athletes with an agent. We are extremely disappointed, and we will fully cooperate with any investigation. I do not have a relationship with Andy Miller or anyone from his agency, and at no time have I ever had a conversation with Andy Miller or his agency regarding any Maryland basketball player. We remain steadfast in upholding a program of integrity that reflects the values of our University community."

Stone played for the Terps during the 2015-16 season, after which he left for the NBA. That Terps team was highly-ranked entering the season but ended up losing in the Sweet 16 to top-seeded Kansas.

RELATED: DIAMOND STONE ADMITS TO 'MISTAKES' DURING FRESHMAN YEAR AT MARYLAND

Andy Miller is the agent whose financial records were used to implicate so many players in the Yahoo! Sports report. It's no surprise that Turgeon would deny having a relationship with Miller regarding any of his players, but the question remains: What does this mean for Maryland basketball?

You can be sure that Turgeon will be meeting with both past and current assistant coaches Friday to confirm they have not had any involvement with Andy Miller. He'll also certainly be meeting with higher-ups at Maryland, as they try to cover their bases. 

That said, it seems unlikely Maryland would take an action as drastic as firing Turgeon over these allegations. There has been no evidence released so far that implies Turgeon had any knowledge of Stone's actions. Barring further information coming to light, it seems as though this is a case of Stone developing a relationship with Miller's agency separately from Maryland.

Some of the more vocal members of Maryland's fan base would like to think Turgeon is on the hot seat. The truth is, given his long-term contract and the current state of Maryland's finances, it's not currently feasible to fire him and expect to afford a more accomplished coach. Though if further reports indicate Turgeon was complicit, then all bets are off.

It remains possible the NCAA will impose punishments on the schools involved with this scandal, in the form of reduced scholarships, postseason bans, or worse. But that's likely off the table until further evidence comes out regarding how much schools and coaches actually knew. It is a near-certainty that some schools were in cahoots with Miller and other agents; the problem is identifying which schools were intentionally breaking the rules, and which were simply unaware. Ultimately, however, some degree of responsibility falls on the head coach.

For now, the biggest worry on the minds of Maryland fans should be vacated wins. If Diamond Stone was ineligible, then it's possible the victories Maryland recorded during the 2015-16 season will be erased from the record books. Unfortunately, this could include their run to the Sweet 16, which was the program's first in more than a decade.

Given the expectations surrounding the team during Stone's year in College Park, his tenure could already be considered a disappointment. Losing those wins would further dampen the memories fans have from that season.

On the bright side, at least the Terps didn't have a Final Four run to lose.

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Palmer's big 2nd half lifts Huskers past Maryland

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Palmer's big 2nd half lifts Huskers past Maryland

LINCOLN, Neb. -- James Palmer Jr. scored 24 of his 26 points in the second half, Isaiah Roby had all 11 of his after half, and Nebraska held off Maryland 70-66 on Tuesday night.

Palmer and Roby combined for 35 of the Cornhuskers' 40 second-half points, and they secured their first 20-win season since 2008. They won a sixth straight conference game for the first time in 20 years.

Palmer scored 15 straight points for the Huskers (20-8, 11-4 Big Ten) over a 10-minute span that ended when Roby hit one of two free throws with 2:57 left for a 64-59 lead. Roby had a double-double, with 10 rebounds, and he also blocked three shots.

The Terps (17-11, 6-9) had a chance to take the lead with a minute to play, but Glynn Watson Jr. blocked Anthony Cowan Jr.'s 3-point try, Evan Taylor came up with the loose ball and got it to Watson.

Watson missed a 3-pointer coming out of a timeout, and Roby got the rebound and was immediately fouled. He made both free throws for a 66-63 lead. Kevin Huerter's layin cut it to one point before Watson made two free throws.

Huerter went to the line with 2.8 seconds left, and after making the first free throw he intentionally missed the second. Palmer got the rebound, was fouled and put the game away with two free throws.

Bruno Fernando led the Terps with 21 points and nine rebounds. Huerter added 12 points and Darryl Morsell had 11.

BIG PICTURE

Maryland: The Terps' fading NCAA Tournament hopes might have been dashed with their seventh straight road loss.

Nebraska: The Huskers are resting firmly on the NCAA bubble and absolutely needed this win. They got it, thanks to Palmer and Roby's efforts in the second half.

UP NEXT

Maryland hosts Rutgers on Saturday. It's the teams' only meeting this season.

Nebraska visits Illinois. The Huskers beat the Illini 64-63 in Lincoln on Jan. 15.

RELATED: DMV College Basketball Power Rankings: Missed opportunities