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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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Video: Terps' football coach DJ Durkin throws out first pitch for the O's

Video: Terps' football coach DJ Durkin throws out first pitch for the O's

BY JEREMY FIALKOW (@JeremyFialkow)

One football coach threw out the ceremonial first pitch for the Orioles on Wednesday, and it wasn't John Harbaugh ... nor was it Jay Gruden.

In fact, it was the new head coach of the Terps, DJ Durkin, that impressed the not-so-packed crowd in Baltimore with a ball thrown right down the middle, albeit maybe a little high.

Just to be extra certain not to embarrass himself in front of the home crowd, Durkin was caught taking practice reps behind the scenes.

It's safe to say practice makes perfect.

Rumor has it, if either the Colorado Rockies or Orioles run out of arms late in the game, Durkin could be lurking in the bullpen ready to go.

RELATED: TERPS DISCUSS TROPHY RIVALRY GAME WITH RUTGERS

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Report: Maryland, Rutgers discussing trophy rivalry football game

Report: Maryland, Rutgers discussing trophy rivalry football game

Maryland and Rutgers have engaged in "preliminary discussions" to start an annual rivalry football game -- with a trophy on the line -- according to a report Tuesday from NJ.com. The report cites Rutgers athletic director Pat Hobbs and football coach Chris Ash. 

Rutgers and Maryland both joined the Big Ten East in July 2014 and have played two games against each other since becoming members of the conference. The Scarlet Knights beat the Terrapins in 2014, 41-38. The Terrapins won in 2015, 46-41, in the lone victory under interim head coach Mike Locksley.

The Big Ten is full of trophy games, including Illinois-Northwestern, Iowa-Wisconsin, and Minnesota-Wisconsin.

MORE TERPS: TURGEON, HUERTER WIN GOLD IN CHILE

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Report: Former 4-star CB to enroll at Maryland after leaving Florida

Report: Former 4-star CB to enroll at Maryland after leaving Florida

Former four-star cornerback J.C. Jackson will enroll at Maryland and be immediately eligible to play for the Terrapins in 2016, according to a report from 247Sports.com.

Coming out of the high school class of 2014, Jackson as the 21st-best player in the country at his position and the No. 243 overall player in the nation according to Rivals.com.

He signed with Florida and redshirted his freshman season. In April 2015, he was charged with three felony counts of armed robbery and another felony charge of burglary stemming from an alleged home invasion in Florida. 

In Nov. 2015, Jackson was found not guilty on all four charges. He did not return to play for the Gators, instead transferring to Riverside CC (Calif.). 

Maryland head coach DJ Durkin is the former defensive coordinator at Florida. He served on the program's staff from 2010-14.

Maryland is losing three starters in its secondary from 2015, with senior Will Likely being the only featured player returning. That lack of depth figures to give Jackson an opportunity to start in 2016.