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For Terps, Nick Faust a key player

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For Terps, Nick Faust a key player

With the game still very much in question, Maryland’s Nick Faust threw down a ferocious tomahawk dunk to take a 51-47 lead over George Mason.

Faust’s dunk came with about eight minutes left in the second half at a perilous time for the Terps. George Mason was outhustling the Terps, fighting for loose balls and long rebounds, and Maryland needed a spark.

The dunk got the VerizonCenter crowd on their feet and the Terps never again trailed.

“I thought the crowd was loud,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “When Nick dunked it and we were playing soft, we needed them, they were great.”

Maryland’s victory over George Mason (5-3) will not go down in history -- it was a sloppy game with poor shooting on both sides – but Faust’s contributions were key for the win.

Dez Wells is working his way towards stardom for Maryland (6-1). He dropped 23 points in the Terps win over Northwestern, and followed that up with 25 against Mason.

While Wells may make the highlight reel more often, Faust’s steady play and defensive presence has become crucial for Maryland during the team’s current six-game winning streak.

“Nick’s not caught up in scoring right now,” Turgeon said after the win over Mason. “He’s caught up in winning.”

Winning will be much easier for Maryland when Faust and Wells complement one another. In the Mason game, Faust finished with 14 points, five rebounds and four assists. Faust also missed a few layups and turned the ball over twice.

Wells flashed his dominant scoring ability against Mason, but he also led the Terps in the turnover category with five. At times, Wells was the best player on the court for Maryland, while at other times he was an asset for Mason.

Considering both Wells and Faust have a slasher’s game and a similar frame, much of Maryland’s tournament chances depend on how the two guards can play with one another. Center Alex Len will be Maryland’s highest NBA draft pick in some years, but Faust and Wells may determine the type of season Maryland has.

After the loss to Kentucky in the season opener, Faust explained that Turgeon sat him down for a conversation about what his role would be on this Maryland team.

“He basically just told me, ‘keep making the right play.’ Sometimes I don’t have to force it,” Faust said of his talk with the coach. “So lately I’ve just been doing whatever I can, helping my team win.”

Asked about what playing with Wells is like, Faust smiled.

 “It’s easy. The last two games Dez has been hitting nonstop,” Faust said. “I’ve just been milking him and making my plays when I need to.”

For a young Maryland team fighting through some growing pains, Faust and Wells will be very important pieces if the team is to make the NCAA Tournament.

“Our guys respect what each guy can do on our team,” Turgeon said. “Therefore, they like each other. I think we’re going to be a good team because of it.”

The dynamic between Wells and Faust looks to be built on a solid foundation.

“Having [Wells] there is definitely helping us as a team and getting me easy points,” Faust said. “We play off one another. I’m just trying to make the right play.”

How far the Terps can go remains to be see, but through seven games they’ve shown enough for Turgeon to be encouraged.

“We’re not there yet,” the coach said, “but I think we have a chance to be a good team down the road.”

 

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No. 2 Maryland women top Minnesota to clinch 1st place tie in Big Ten

No. 2 Maryland women top Minnesota to clinch 1st place tie in Big Ten

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- First, there was the trophy presentation to Maryland for finishing in first place in the Big Ten.

Then, seniors Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough had their jersey numbers lifted to the rafters of the arena in recognition of their outstanding play over the past four years.

"To have all that happen on the same day, you couldn't ask for a better way to end the regular season," Jones said after No. 2 Maryland romped past Minnesota 93-60 on Sunday.

Jones had 24 points and 14 rebounds, and Walker-Kimbrough tallied 27 points and six assists. Seeing their numbers on banners hanging from the roof was special, but the duo took more delight in finishing no worse than tied atop the Big Ten standings.

"Being that the Big Ten regular season title was one of our goals, it's really cool to see everything play out," Walker-Kimbrough said. "This ride is far from over, but we're 1-for-1 right now."

Maryland has won at least a share of the conference regular-season title in each of its three years in the Big Ten. This week, the Terrapins (27-2, 15-1) will set out to win the conference tournament for the third year in a row.

Maryland will enter as the second seed as Ohio State defeated Rutgers later Sunday. Although the Terrapins will be recognized as the regular season co-champions, the Buckeyes are the No. 1 seed by virtue of their 98-87 victory over Maryland on Monday.

None of that took the luster off the trophy presentation and the banner-raising ceremony.

"Obviously, I'm extremely proud of our team, and to be able to send our seniors on such an incredible day," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. "I'm proud of the consistency factor, when you talk about back-to-back-to-back regular season titles.

Eager to rebound from its second loss of the season and send their seniors out in style, the Terps wasted little time taking control against the struggling Golden Gophers (14-15, 5-11).

"We knew we were coming into a hostile environment, no question," Minnesota coach Marlene Stollings said.

Maryland made 10 of 14 shots in the first quarter in building a 26-12 lead, upped the margin to 27 points with three minutes left in the first half and cruised to the finish.

"That first quarter, we dug quite a hole," Stollings said.

Kenisha Bell led Minnesota with 18 points. The Golden Gophers will enter the Big Ten tournament coming off three straight lopsided losses.

Jones scored 16 points before halftime and Walker-Kimbrough added 15 to stake Maryland to a 51-30 lead. Walker-Kimbrough had eight points and two assists in the third quarter, enabling the Terrapins to bring a 27-point cushion into the final period.

The fourth quarter was a prelude to the postgame ceremony for Jones -- now the third-leading rebounder in school history with 1,139 -- and Walker-Kimbrough, who's fifth on the Maryland career scoring list with 2,036 points.

Both left to a standing ovation with 3:46 left.

"These guys, they work so hard that they make it look so easy," Frese said. "The thing is, it's not easy."

BIG PICTURE

Minnesota: The Golden Gophers can't hang with the top teams in the Big Ten and finished with their worst regular-season record in the conference since 2010-11.

Maryland: The Terrapins can expect to drop in the rankings because of Monday's defeat, but this blowout shows they're still very capable of winning a third straight Big Ten tournament and going deep in the NCAA tournament.

UP NEXT

Minnesota: Opens Big Ten tournament play on Thursday as the 10th seed. "We're going to go in with the idea it's 0-0, let's try to get on a run," Stollings said.

Maryland: Begins Big Ten tournament play on Friday.

MORE TERPS: MARYLAND WOMEN’S BASKETBALL IS THE 2-SEED IN THE BIG TEN TOURNAMENT

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Maryland loses to Minnesota in fourth loss of past six games

Maryland loses to Minnesota in fourth loss of past six games

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Dupree McBrayer scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half, and Minnesota beat struggling No. 24 Maryland 89-75 on Wednesday night for its sixth straight victory.

The Golden Gophers (21-7, 9-6 Big Ten) are undefeated since losing to Maryland (22-6, 10-5) on Jan. 28. It was Minnesota's third consecutive road win, its longest run in the conference since 1989-90.

Down 53-50, the Gophers got 12 points from McBrayer in a 20-7 run that broke open a game that had gone back and forth to that point.

Nate Mason scored 17 points and Akeem Springs added 16 for Minnesota, which committed only six turnovers -- two after halftime.

Maryland standout guard Melo Trimble went 4 for 12 from the field and the Terrapins went 7 for 27 beyond the arc in losing for the fourth time in six games. Backup center Ivan Bender scored a career-high 15 points for Maryland and Trimble and Anthony Cowan each had 11.

Maryland had a three-point lead when freshman Justin Jackson missed a 3-pointer that would have made it 56-50.

McBrayer drilled a 3 on the other end, then added two field goals before Eric Curry scored in the lane to make it 59-53 with 10:47 remaining.

Just when it seemed as if the game was getting away from Maryland, Trimble connected from long range to spark a 7-2 surge that got the Terrapins within a point.

That would be as close as Maryland would get.

A jumper by McBrayer, four straight points by Jordan Murphy and a 3 by McBrayer made it 70-60 with 6:24 remaining.

A first half that featured four ties and four lead changes ended with the Terrapins in front 35-34.

After Maryland used a 10-0 run to take a 21-17 lead, the Gophers rattled off 10 straight points to move back in front. It was 29-23 before a dunk by L.G. Gill ignited another 10-point spree for the Terps.

Bender went 6 for 8 to score 12 points, surpassing his career high of 10. Trimble had five assists to offset his 1-for-7 shooting.