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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 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.

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Career night propels Melo Trimble to another Big Ten Player of the Week award

Career night propels Melo Trimble to another Big Ten Player of the Week award

Melo Trimble is the straw that stirs the No. 24 Maryland Terrapins' drink, and during the team's most important week of the regular season, we saw just how important he is.

The junior guard scored a career-high 32 points in a pivotal road victory against a NCAA Tournament-bound Northwestern team, and followed it up with 27 points in a tough road loss against then No. 11 Wisconsin.

The two-game performance was enough for the Big Ten to award Trimble with Player of the Week honors, the fourth time he has received the award.

Trimble made 12 of his 17 field goal attempts against the Wildcats, including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. He also contributed three assists and grabbed four rebounds. Against Wisconsin, he scored the bulk of his 27 points in the second half, but struggled from the free throw line, making just 5 of his 10 attempts.

Against the Wildcats, Trimble carried the load, putting the team on his back, and it was more than enough.

He attempted to do the same against the Badgers, but needed some extra help. That's where the Terps have struggled this season. Freshman Justin Jackson, Kevin Huerter and Anthony Cowan have the ability to do so, but they are still just freshman, meaning consistent output on the road late in the season is far from a guarantee.

But one thing is for sure, Melo Trimble continues to prove that he is the type of player that can single-handily carry a team to the NCAA Tournament's second weekend.

The Big Ten knows this, and it won't be long before the rest of the country does too.

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