“That was a good win for us,” Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon said. “That was a game that I worried about all summer. LIU Brooklyn was coming off a couple straight NCAA Tournaments and had a lot of starters back. I think they had a lot of experience, and as a result it was a game that I was worried about for a long time.”
The Terrapins won their second straight game at home after dropping Morehead State on Monday, 67-45. The Terps started the season on the road in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. and will play at home until to Northwestern on Nov. 24 for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
The Terps got off to a slow start, finding themselves trailing 7-2 early in the first half. Sophomore center Alex Len would score the first eight points for the Terps, and a three-pointer from sophomore Nick Faust would give the Terps a 11-7 lead with under 16 minutes left to play in the game. Senior transfer Logan Aronhalt drained a three point shot to give the Terps a 24-15 lead with under ten minutes left in the first half. The Blackbirds would cut Maryland's lead to three after a layup by Blackbirds' senior guard Brandon Thompson with under three minutes to play. The Terps would battle back, taking a 39-30 lead into halftime with Seth Allen making a three point shot seconds before the end of the half.
The Terps came out strong, extending their lead to 46-35 just over three minutes into the game after senior forward James Padgett converted an and-one. Both teams would continue to trade baskets, but the Terps always held a comfortable lead. Allen lit it up down the stretch, draining another three pointer, then following that score with a steal and a dunk at the other end to extend Maryland's lead to 91-71 with under two minutes to play. The Terps would hold on and defeat the Blackbirds 91-74.
Allen led all of Maryland's scorers with 19 points off 7-10 shooting from the field and 5-6 from behind the arc.
Len finished with 18 points, seven rebounds and four blocks. Maryland sophomore forward Dez Wells had 15 points, eight rebounds, five assists, three blocks and two steals in what was his best game thus far in a Maryland uniform.
“Early, early on, [Coach Turgeon] pulled me to the side and he was telling me about just how good of a competitor I was,” Wells said. “He just wanted me to make sure I was doing a good job, controlling my emotions. He asked me - this isn't even what our conversation was about - he asked me if I felt like I was under a lot of pressure and I said, 'Yeah. I don't feel like people are putting it on me knowingly. But everyone's just excited I'm here.'”
Maryland junior guard Pe'Shon Howard finished with only seven points, but also grabbed seven rebounds and had a career-high 13 assists while only turning the ball over once.
“I have scorers all around me, so it makes my job so much easier when I am in control,” Howard said. “I watched a lot of film with the coaches and I know where I want to be on the court and I know where my teammates are going to be, so it makes it easier.”
The Terps will face Lafayette on Tuesday at 8 p.m. in the Comcast Center in College Park, Md. as part of the Barclays Center Classic.