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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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Maryland falls to Pittsburgh in ACC/Big Ten Challenge

Maryland falls to Pittsburgh in ACC/Big Ten Challenge

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Jamel Artis scored 15 of his 22 points in the decisive first half, and Pittsburgh held off previously unbeaten Maryland, 73-59, Tuesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

The Panthers (6-1) shot 67 percent from the floor before halftime, including 5 for 10 beyond the arc, and used a 25-4 run to turn a 16-15 deficit into a 40-20 lead.

It was 51-26 with 15:45 remaining before Maryland (7-1) closed to 63-55 with three minutes left. But the Terrapins could not complete the comeback.

Coming off two come-from-behind wins in the Barclays Center Classic, Maryland was vying for its first 8-0 start in 10 years.

Instead, the Terrapins absorbed their worst home defeat since falling by 18 to Duke in February 2011.

Michael Young scored 25 and Cameron Johnson added 11 for Pittsburgh, which extended its winning streak to four.

Melo Trimble led Maryland with 13 points, but he missed 9 of 13 shots. The Terps shot 34 percent, committed 14 turnovers and were outrebounded 38-36.

Pittsburgh led 26-20 before Artis made a 3-point play, a 3-pointer and a layup to spark a 14-0 spurt that made it a 20-point game.

The Panthers appeared on their way to a blowout win before losing their shooting touch in the middle of the second half. By then, however, they had enough of a lead to make it to the finish.

Maryland, formerly of the ACC, is 0-3 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge since joining the Big Ten.

MORE NCAA: GEORGE WASHINGTON SNAPS 3-GAME SKID WITH WIN OVER HARVARD

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Melo Trimble carries unbeaten Maryland past Stony Brook

Melo Trimble carries unbeaten Maryland past Stony Brook

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Melo Trimble scored 21 points, Michal Cekovsky provided an emotional spark in his season debut and Maryland stayed unbeaten with a 77-63 victory over Stony Brook on Tuesday night.

Coming off a tight win over Towson two days earlier, the Terrapins (5-0) built an 11-point halftime lead and maintained a comfortable advantage the rest of the way.

Trimble went 4 for 8 from the floor and 10 for 11 at the foul line.

Seeing action for the first time after being sidelined by a sprained foot, Cekovsky came off the bench to contribute 11 points in 16 minutes before fouling out. The 7-foot-1 Slovakian thrilled the crowd with several alley-oop dunks, including one in which he was called for a technical foul for hanging on the rim.

Lucas Woodhouse scored 14 and Tyrell Sturdivant had nine points and 10 rebounds for Stony Brook (0-3), the defending America East champions.

MORE NCAA: GEORGETOWN FALLS TO NO. 14 WISCONSIN IN MAUI INVITATIONAL SEMIS