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Terps prepare to face George Mason

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Terps prepare to face George Mason

Maryland impressed in their last game, a 77-57 victory over Northwestern in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Terps simply outclassed the Wildcats in a dominant second half.

Even in a season opening loss to Kentucky, the Terps have looked sharp for most of their non-conference schedule, running to a 5-1 record through November. On Sunday, Maryland should face its last true non-conference test, with a neutral court game against George Mason.

Though Mason plays in the CAA and Maryland the ACC, DC locals and college basketball fans need no introduction to the Fairfax, Va., school. George Mason made its name known across the country in 2006 with a run to the Final Four that included wins over college basketball bluebloods like UConn., Michigan State and North Carolina.

Mason's success came under former coach Jim Larranaga -- who bolted to the University of Miami prior to last season -- but Mason coach Paul Hewitt has plenty of NCAA experience.

As coach of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Hewitt led his 2004 Jackets team to the NCAA championship game. Last season Hewitt led the Patriots to a 24-9 season, though the team was left out of the NCAA Tournament.

This game will be key for Hewitt and Maryland coach Mark Turgeon as they work to guide their teams back into the NCAA Tournament. Non-conference wins play a key part in tournament selection, and a win for either squad would be a boost for their resume come March.

After playing arguably its best 20 minutes of basketball in the second half at Northwestern, the Maryland team has momentum.

Center Alex Len continues to garner serious NBA Draft buzz, while sophomore transfer Dez Wells really showed his capabilities with 23 points against the Wildcats. The Terps look to have depth and frontcourt size befit of a Top 20 team, and a win over an always-pesky Mason squad could show that to poll voters.

Led by junior guard Sherrod Wright, Mason will be a tough opponent for the Terps.

Wright averages almost 15 points on the season, not to mention the 6'4" guard hauls in about five rebounds a game. Mason already registered a win over an ACC opponent earlier this year, beating UVa. in the season opener.

Mason will not come into this game intimidated by the Terps, and it will be interesting to see how Maryland’s young team responds to the challenge.

Maryland should enjoy a noticeable size advantage over the Patriots, who are led down low by 6'8" big man Eric Copes.

With Len at 7'1" and three big forwards in James Padgett, Charles Mitchell and Shaquille Cleare, the Terps can play an aggressive style around the basket. A key to Maryland's early success has been winning the rebounding battle; something the team has done in impressive fashion every game this season.

Mason will have to make outside shots early to free up space in the middle, otherwise Maryland's big men could take over. With Wright at the helm Mason could have the advantage from the outside, though Maryland guard Pe'Shon Howard has been playing improved defense this season.

With a vocal crowd expected and fans of both schools on hand at the Verizon Center, the game could resemble an early-round NCAA Tournament matchup. A preview of a postseason experience both teams would like to achieve. 

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Maryland selected to play in Quick Lane Bowl

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Maryland selected to play in Quick Lane Bowl

Boston College and Maryland will renew acquaintances in the Quick Lane Bowl. The former ACC rivals play at Detroit's Ford Field on Dec. 26.

The Terrapins (6-6) are in the Big Ten now, which means trips to the state of Michigan aren't unusual for them. Maryland lost 59-3 to Michigan at the Big House last month.

Boston College (6-6) won its last two games of the regular season to make it to .500 and become bowl-eligible.

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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