Maryland continues play in the National Invitation Tournament as it plays host to the University of Denver Thursday at 7 p.m. in Comcast Center in the first ever meeting between the two schools. The Terrapins advanced to the second round of the NIT with an 86-70 win over Niagara Tuesday night. To purchase tickets to Thursday night's game, which are $25 and include the price of parking, click here.
LIVE Coverage on ESPNU & the Terrapin Sports Radio Network
Thursday's game will be broadcast on ESPNU at 7 p.m. ET. Mike Patrick (play-by-play) and LaPhonso Ellis (analyst) will call the action for ESPNU. It can also be seen on the WatchESPN application or WatchESPN.com by clicking here. The game can also be heard on the Terrapin Sports Radio Network - Johnny Holliday (pbp), Chris Knoche (analyst) & Walt Williams (sidelines) have the call.
The quick turnaround has Maryland playing its fifth game in eight days. Despite the busy stretch, the Terrapins have played some of their best basketball as of late - over the last four games, Maryland is averaging 80 points per game, shooting .479 from the field, .408 from 3-point range and .798 from the free-throw line.
Dez Wells and Nick Faust have increased their scoring recently, with Wells averaging 18.3 points per game over the last eight games and Faust averaging 13.3 over the last nine. In that eight-game stretch, Wells is shooting .550 (55-100) from the field and .438 (7-16) from 3-point range. Faust has also shot it well, having hit .506 (41-81) from the field and .450 (18-40) from 3PT.
Wells led Maryland to the semifinals of the ACC Tournament last weekend, averaging 22.0 points per game en route to first team All-Tournament honors. The sophomore had a career-high 30 points on 9-of-13 shooting in the 83-74 quarterfinal win over No. 2 Duke, making all 10 of his free throw attempts while adding six rebounds and three assists.
In the win over Niagara, Maryland dominated the second half after going into the locker room tied at 35. Faust, Seth Allen and Logan Aronhalt each had 15 points, while Wells added 12 and Charles Mitchell had 10. That marked the third time in the last four games that five Terrapins scored in double figures. Aronhalt scored all 15 of his points on 3-pointers (5-7), and Faust recorded his first career double-double by grabbing 11 rebounds.
The Terps are appearing in the NIT for the eighth time in school history and hold a 12-6 record in the tournament. Maryland owns one NIT title, in 1972, when they defeated Niagara in the championship game 100-69.
The NIT appearance marks the ninth time in the last 11 years that head coach Mark Turgeon has led his team to the postseason. Turgeon led Wichita State to the NIT in 2003, 2004 and 2005, and the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in 2006. He then led Texas A&M to the NCAA second round all four of his years in College Station (2008-11).
Thursday is the 10-year anniversary of Drew Nicholas's buzzer-beating, game-winning 3-pointer against UNC Wilmington in the NCAA Tournament first round. With Maryland trailing 73-72, Nicholas dribbled the length of the floor and knocked down an off-balance 25-footer that gave Maryland the 75-73 win. He finished that game with 22 points.
Mark Turgeon's current winning percentage of .597 (40-27) is the best mark by a Maryland coach in his first two seasons. Bud Millikan had a .592 winning percentage and Gary Williams had a .574 mark.
Dez Wells scored 30 points against Duke in the ACC Tournament semifinals, the most points by a Terp this season. He is the first Terp to score 30 in a game since Terrell Stoglin had 33 at Miami in two overtimes on 2/1/2012.
Maryland has reached the 20-win plateau for the first time since 2009-10, when it went 24-9 and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Head coach Mark Turgeon's teams have now won at least 20 games in five of the last six seasons and eight of the last 10. The exceptions are last season, Turgeon's first at Maryland, and 2006-07, his last at Wichita State. The Terps are one of six ACC teams to reach the 20-win mark; Miami, Duke, North Carolina, Virginia and NC State also have at least 20 wins.
The Terps had their best game this season at the free-throw line against Duke (3/15) by connecting on 23-of-25 (92%), led by Dez Wells's 10-for-10 effort and Pe'Shon Howard's 7-for-8.
Logan Aronhalt connected on seven 3-pointers at Boston College on 2/19. That's the most by a Terp since Mike Jones hit a Comcast Center record nine on Dec. 28, 2006, vs. Missouri-Kansas City.
Maryland did not beat a ranked opponent in either of the last two seasons. The Terps have three wins over a ranked team this year: No. 14/15 NC State, No. 2/1 Duke (Feb. 16), and No. 2/2 Duke (March 15).
The Terps are 22-2 this season when they have the lead with 5:00 left in the game, and 1-0 when tied with 5:00 left. The losses came at Florida State (1/30) and at Virgina in overtime (3/10).
The 13-game winning streak Maryland went on earlier this season is tied for the second longest in school history, trailing just the 14-game streak the Terps went on in 1931-32. Maryland also went on a 13-game win streak in 2001-02, the year they went on to win the national title.
Logan Aronhalt is averaging one 3-point field goal made for every 8.1 minutes on the floor. By comparison, the ACC leader in 3PT FGs made, Scott Wood of NC State, makes one 3-pointer every 12.1 minutes on the floor.
At least eight players have scored in 31 of Maryland's 35 games this year. The exceptions are vs. George Mason, at Miami, at North Carolina and vs. North Carolina, when just seven players scored.
The Terps are 17-3 when making as many or more free throws than the opponent, and 6-9 when making fewer free throws.
When Seth Allen, Jake Layman and Shaquille Cleare drew starts against UMES, it marked the first time Maryland started three true freshmen since Dec. 28, 1993, when Keith Booth, Matt Kovarik and Joe Smith did vs. Hofstra. The Terps have started three freshmen in a game four times this season.
Seven of the 10 players in Maryland's regular rotation are underclassmen and 81 percent of Maryland's scoring (58.1 of 71.7 points per game) is coming from underclassmen. Maryland's top four scorers are underclassmen in sophomores Dez Wells (13.1 ppg), Alex Len (11.9 ppg) and Nick Faust (9.4 ppg) and freshman Seth Allen (7.6 ppg).
Just twice in the past 30 years has a larger percentage of Maryland's scoring come from underclassmen. In 2003-04, 82 percent came from underclassmen, and in 1993-94, 97 percent did.
Additionally, 133 of 175 starts (76%) this season have gone to underclassmen. That is the second-highest percentage in the past 30 years, behind only 1993-94 when every start went to underclassmen.
The Terps have just one 1,000-point scorer on the roster this season in graduate student Logan Aronhalt. Aronhalt scored 1,100 points at Albany before transferring to Maryland prior to this season. Maryland's next top scorers are Wells (769), James Padgett (650), Faust (614) and Len (547).
Hitting the Mark
Maryland has assisted on 57 percent (522 of 918) of its field goals this season. The Terps have recorded double-digit assists in 32 of 35 games (exceptions are at Miami, at North Carolina and vs. North Carolina), and rank 2nd in the ACC with 14.9 per game. Maryland is 20-4 when recording at least 14 assists.
On average, Maryland has recorded 16.9 assists per game in wins, while in its losses it has averaged just 11.1.
Maryland ranks third in the ACC in field goal percentage at .465, behind just NC State (.494) and Duke (.476). That marks also ranks 38th nationally. The Terps have shot above 40 percent in 14 of the past 16 games. Maryland has shot better than 50 percent 13 times this season.
Against Wake Forest (2/2), Maryland recorded its fifth-best field goal percentage in program history at .673. The four single-game marks better than that are: .833 (15-18) vs. South Carolina, 1/9/71; .739 (34-46) vs. Wake Forest, 1/28/86; .732 (30-41) vs. NC State, 12/20/80; and .704 (50-71) vs. Miami (OH), 12/28/79.
Field Goal Percentage Defense
Maryland leads the ACC and ranks 13th nationally in field goal percentage defense at .383. The Terps have held 19 of the last 31 opponents under 40 percent shooting, including 11 of 18 ACC (regular season) opponents.
Maryland's bench has been an asset all season, as the Terps' non-starters have outscored the opponents non-starters in 29 of 35 games. The Terps had their fourth-highest bench output of the season with 42 against Niagara.
On the year, Maryland's bench has a 889-436 (25.1 to 12.4 per game) advantage over the opponent.
All 10 players in Maryland's regular rotation are averaging double-figure minutes, and no player is averaging more than 29 minutes per game (Dez Wells is first at 28.3).
Logan Aronhalt has been a consistent contributor as a long-range specialist. He is 11 3-point field goals made shy of qualifying for the ACC lead, but his .447 mark from beyond the arc would rank third in the league. He has made at least one 3-pointer in 28 of 35 games this season. Of his 71 field goals made this season, 59 are 3-pointers.
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