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.

Five-star DE, nation's No. 4 player commits to Maryland

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Five-star DE, nation's No. 4 player commits to Maryland

Five-star defensive lineman Joshua Kaindoh of IMG Academy (Fla.) has committed to Maryland, he announced via Twitter on Saturday afternoon.

Kaindoh, who is ranked as the No. 1 weakside defensive end and the No. 4 overall prospect in the country in the class of 2017, is listed at 6-5, 241 pounds.

He is a native of Essex, Md. who played high school football in the state before transferring to IMG.

For a time, 247Sports.com’s Crystal Ball had pegged Maryland as the favorite to land Kaindoh. Only days later, he released a list of four schools that were to be his finalists and Maryland was not among them.

Now, he has committed to the Terrapins.

In the first full recruiting cycle under head coach DJ Durkin, Maryland continues to build a class worthy of already being one of the nation’s 25 best.

Kaindoh becomes the first five-star player, according to Rivals.com rankings, and is paired with four-star quarterback Kasim Hill and four-star fellow IMG defensive lineman Cam Spence. The class also includes highly regarded local three-stars Jordan McNair and Ayinde Eley.

Since moving to the Big Ten, beefing up both the offensive and defensive lines has been a priority. With former Virginia head coach Mike London as the team’s defensive line coach, that continues.

Watch highlights of Kaindoh below.

Quinton Jefferson becomes third Terp selected in 2016 NFL Draft

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Quinton Jefferson becomes third Terp selected in 2016 NFL Draft

In the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft with the 147th overall pick, the Seattle Seahawks have selected Maryland defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson. With that pick, Jefferson becomes the third Maryland Terrapin selected in the draft, along with Sean Davis in the second round to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Yannick Ngakoue to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the third round. 

Maryland has now had the most players drafted in a single draft (3) since 2009, when five Terrapins were selected. 

As for Jefferson, he brings size and versatility to the Seattle defense. He was a 2015 Big Ten Honorable Mention after registering 6.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for a loss for the Terrapins. He led the team with 39 tackles.

 

What They're Saying: Reactions to Jaguars drafting Terps' Ngakoue

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What They're Saying: Reactions to Jaguars drafting Terps' Ngakoue

With the 69th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars selected Maryland pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue. He was the second Maryland player taken on Friday night, along with defensive back Sean Davis to the Steelers, and for the Jaguars was the third straight defensive player selected.

Pair Ngakoue with first-round DB Jalen Ramsey from Florida State and possible second-round steal Myles Jack, and Jacksonville has already put together a formidable draft class.

What are people saying nationally about the Ngakoue pick? Take a look below.

Mike DiRocco, ESPN.com:

"The 6-foot-2, 252-pound Ngakoue is a scheme fit who will start off as a designated pass-rusher. He needs improvement against the run and has to work on keeping his weight up. Still, he’s an upgrade at the position."

BigCatCountry.com, SBNation:

"As for fitting with the Jaguars, they seemed to be set on finding somebody who is more of a situational pass rusher than they are finding a true every-down LEO. Their interest in Ngakoue makes sense in the regard that he can step in and be able to contribute right away."

John Oehser, Jaguars.com:

"The Jaguars addressed the edge late Friday. They did because they needed to, but more than that, they did it because the right player was available at the right time."

Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com:

Shane Davis, Cover32.com:

"Ngakoue will contribute as a pass-rusher immediately, playing mostly the LEO position and coming in on third downs. General manager Dave Caldwell raved about Ngakoue’s first step quickness in his press conference with the media on Friday night."

Mike Kaye, First Coast News:

"He decided leave Maryland early and the Jaguars jumped at the chance to add him. [GM Dave] Caldwell said he considered taking Ngakoue as early as the second round, but again, stayed patient and reaped the benefits."