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.”

 

Maryland lacrosse Final Four preview

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Maryland lacrosse Final Four preview

The Maryland men's lacrosse program is once again spending Memorial Day Weekend attempting to get the monkey off its back.

The trip to Lincoln Finanical Field in Philadelphia, Penn., will mark the Terps' fifth Final Four appearance since 2011, but each of the previous trips have yielded zero national championships. 

In fact, the Terps (16-2, 5-0 Big Ten) have advanced to three national championship games since 2011,  but are still looking for the program's first title since 1975.

The Terps entered the 2016 NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed for the first time since 1987 and find themselves once again a part of championship weekend thanks to victories over Quinnipiac (13-6) and No. 8 seed Syracuse (13-7).

But in order to reach another national championship game, the Terps will have to get past No. 5 seed Brown, the champions of the Ivy League and  top-ranked team in the country according to the Laxpower.comindex. 

Brown (16-2, 6-1 Ivy) defeated Johns Hopkins 17-6 and Navy 11-10 en route to the program's first Final Four appearance since 1994.

The Terps will have their work cut out for them despite the absence of Brown's top points leader, junior attackman Dylan Molloy, who suffered a broken foot in the win against Johns Hopkins. 

The Bears will call upon senior attackman Kylor Bellestri, a product of the Bullis School in Potomac, Md., to carry the offensive load, and the powerful dodger is more than capable, evident by his 62 goals and 28 assists this season. Aiding Bellestri is senior Henry Blynn, who enters the Final Four with 50 goals to his name.

While Brown does have arguably the most prolific scoring offense in the country, the Terps boast the most efficient defense in the country, and have a talented and experienced goalie in Kyle Bernlohr at the helm. 

Bernlohr was tabbed as a first-team preseason All-American by Inside Lacrosse magazine and has backed it up thanks to an eighth best 7.88 GAA in 2016. 

The Akron, Ohio native tallied 22 saves to just 13 goals in the Terps first two NCAA Tournament games, but will be facing his most difficult test of the season on Saturday afternoon.

But the Terps are more than just an efficient defensive team. The junior attack trio of Matt Rambo, Colin Heacock and Dylan Maltz are as dynamic a trio as ther is in the country, and wreaked havoc on a stout Syracuse team in the quarterfinals. Rambo finished with four goals and two assists, with Maltz scoring three times and Heacock assisting on two goals. 

Opposing teams are forced to exert extra pressure to the Terp' attack, allowing midfielders Henry West, Connor Kelley and Bryan Cole to find time and room up front. Cole has five assists and three goals to his name in the previous two tournament games, with Kelly adding three assists and West three goals.

A victory over Brown will not be easy, but losing is not some the Terps are accustomed to, having won 12 consecutive games since dropping back-to-back losses to Yale and Notre Dame to start the season.

The winner of Maryland vs. Brown will take on the winner of No. 7 Loyola (MD) vs. North Carolina on Monday, May 30 at 1 p.m. ET.

Turgeon comments for first time on new 4-star Terp Jackson

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Turgeon comments for first time on new 4-star Terp Jackson

Maryland has added four-star class of 2016 forward Justin Jackson to its roster, the program made official in a release on Friday evening. 

By doing so, head coach Mark Turgeon is allowed to comment publicly for the first time on the commitment that was reported Thursday.

“Justin has played at the highest level of high school and grassroots basketball and is prepared to make an immediate contribution to our program,” the coach said in a statement. “He is a versatile player who is a skilled scorer, good passer and has the ability to create mismatches on the offensive end.

"Defensively, Justin can guard multiple positions and overall has a great feel for the game."

MORE TERPS: OPINION -- TRIMBLE AVOIDS UNFAIR CRITICISM BY RETURNING

In a frontcourt thinned by NBA defections -- Jake Layman, Robert Carter, and Diamond Stone -- Turgeon had to look late in the spring signing period for a fix.

Coaching changes at UNLV caused the 6-7 Jackson to rescind his pledge to the Rebels and reopen his recruitment. Turgeon and assistant coach Bino Ranson led the way in bringing Jackson to College Park. 

"I felt like I immediately fit in with the student body.  They were all very welcoming and I just enjoyed being a part of the university," Jackson said in a release. "The team is filled with great and funny personalities. But when it is time to work and get serious – they can really buckle down and work hard."

With Jackson in the fold, Maryland has one remaining open scholarship for the 2016-17 season. Read more in a roster breakdown here.

Shawne Merriman likes what D.J. Durkin, Terps are building

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Shawne Merriman likes what D.J. Durkin, Terps are building

Maryland legend Shawne Merriman joined CSN for a wide-ranging Facebook Live session, and revealed he liked the energy of the new Terps football program. Watch the ful linterview above, and be sure to check out Merriman's new line of apparel, Lights Out.