• Maryland opens its season for the second consecutive year at Barclays Center as it takes on No. 19 Connecticut Friday night at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN2. The Terps narrowly fell to then-No. 3 Kentucky, 72-69, in their season-opener at Barclays Center last season on November 9, 2012.
• The game can be seen live on ESPN2, called by John Saunders and Len Elmore. Fans can also listen to the action on the Terrapin Sports Radio Network, called by Johnny Holliday, Chris Knoche and Walt Williams.
• Head coach Mark Turgeon returns six key players from last season’s 25-13 squad that advanced to the NIT semifinals: guards Seth Allen, Nick Faust and Dez Wells and forwards Shaquille Cleare, Jake Layman and Charles Mitchell. Maryland also added 6’9” Michigan transfer Evan Smotrycz, who sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules. The Terps won five of their last seven games last year, posting 25 wins for the first time since 2007.
• The Terps led the Atlantic Coast Conference in both field goal percentage defense (.385) and rebound margin (+8.6), becoming the first ACC team do so since North Carolina in 1998. Key to that success was Alex Len, who was drafted with the fifth overall pick in the NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns. Len will be replaced inside by Shaquille Cleare (2.7 rpg) and Charles Mitchell (5.4 rpg), a pair that combined to play in 75 games as freshmen in 2012-13.
• Three of Maryland’s top four scorers return from last season: Dez Wells (13.1 ppg), Nick Faust (9.4 ppg) and Seth Allen (7.8 ppg). Wells averaged 17.8 points on .558 shooting during a 10-game span from February 27 – March 26, including a 30-point effort in the Terps’ ACC Tournament semifinal victory over No. 2 Duke.
• Point guard Seth Allen sustained a fracture in his left foot during practice on October 29 and is expected to miss 10 weeks. Dez Wells started as Maryland’s point guard in its lone exhibition on Nov. 3 against Catholic.
The Terps had previously won 10 straight season debuts dating back to 2001 before falling to then-No. 3 Kentucky at Barclays Center last season, 72-69, on November 9, 2012.
Once trailing by 15 points to Kentucky in the first half, Maryland stormed back to take a 63-62 lead with 5:37 left to play before falling in the final minutes. Alex Len had 23 points and 12 rebounds in the effort, while Nick Faust had 11 points.
Head coach Mark Turgeon has won 12 of 15 regular-season openers in his career, including 10 straight prior to last season’s loss. His only two other losses were with Jacksonville State to open the 1999-2000 season and Wichita State to open the 2001-02 season.
Senior Shabazz Napier and junior Ryan Boatright return to the Connecticut backcourt this season as the Huskies begin their inaugural season in the American Athletic Conference. With his first season as head coach in the books, Kevin Ollie is looking to build on a 20-win season in 2012-13 as he brings back 92.4% of the scoring and 88.1% of the minutes played from last year.
Napier (17.5 ppg) and Boatright (15.5 ppg) combine for quite possibly the nation’s most talented backcourt, as the tandem led UConn in both points, assists and steals last season. Napier was also second on the team in rebounds (4.4).
Sophomore Omar Calhoun, a Big East All-Rookie Team selection last year, will provide an interesting matchup for the Terps’ Jake Layman on the wing. An athletic forward, Calhoun averaged 11.1 points and 3.9 rebounds as a freshman.
UConn: A History
Friday’s matchup will mark the fourth time in six total meetings that Maryland and UConn square off on a neutral court. The University of Maryland’s Ritchie Coliseum hosted the inaugural meeting on February 15, 1941, as Connecticut was victorious, 52-43.
Friday’s matchup marks the first time Maryland and UConn have met since the pair of sides played in a memorable NCAA Tournament East Regional Final in Syracuse, N.Y. on March 24, 2002. In a frantic game that saw 25 lead changes — including seven in the final 12 minutes — the Terps outlasted the Huskies in a barnburner, 90-82, on tremendous outings from Lonny Baxter (29 pts) and Juan Dixon (27 pts).
Maryland went on to win the National Championship with a 64-52 defeat of Indiana one week later.
In fact, Maryland has advanced to the Final Four the last two times it has played UConn (2001, 2002). The 2001 meeting was in the BB&T Classic.
The Terps’ length could cause formidable matchup problems for opponents this season, as its starting lineup against Catholic on Sunday averaged 6’7.5”. The starting lineup featured forwards Shaquille Cleare (6’9”), Evan Smotrycz (6’9”) and Jake Layman (6’8”) and guards Nick Faust (6’6”) and Dez Wells (6’5”).
Featuring tall players is nothing new to Maryland, however, as the Terps featured a lineup averaging 6’8” three times last season (Wells, Faust, Layman, Cleare, Len). That combination of players was just 1-2 in three games – defeating Clemson (2/23) and falling to then-No. 1 Duke (1/26) and Georgia Tech (2/27).
Last Time Out
Maryland cruised by Catholic University, 84-39, in its lone exhibition game of the year on Nov. 3 as the Terps shot 52.8% from the floor (59.1% in the second half).
The Terps trailed early, 10-8, but received a quick boost on three consecutive 3-pointers from sophomore Jake Layman in a span of 68 seconds to take a 17-10 lead. Layman led all scorers with 23 points in the contest. His official career-high is 20 points against Virginia Tech (1/5/13).
Charles Mitchell notched a game-high 11 rebounds (6 off., 5 def.), including 10 in the first half, while freshmanDamonte Dodd snagged eight boards. Nick Faust had 14 points and Evan Smotrycz added 11 points and four assists.
The Terps went 9 of 19 from 3-point range (.474), led by Layman’s 5-for-7 shooting. Faust added three 3-pointers, as well.
Head Coach Mark Turgeon
• Turgeon led his teams to at least 20 wins in eight of the last 10 seasons.
• His teams have advanced to postseason play nine times in the last 11 years, including NCAA berths in five of the last eight seasons. His record in the last nine years is 226-112 (.675).
• As a player, assistant coach and head coach, Turgeon has compiled a 26-13 NCAA Tournament record (8-4 as a player, 13-4 as an assistant, 5-5 as a head coach).
• In 14 NCAA Tournament appearances as a player, assistant coach and head coach, Turgeon has lost an NCAA opener only twice (Oregon in 1995 under Coach Jerry Green, and 2011 as the head coach at Texas A&M – 57-50 loss vs. Florida State).
Milestones, Streaks, etc.
• Maryland’s last victory over a ranked team was an 83-74 win over then-No.2 Duke on 3/15/2012 in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament in Greensboro Coliseum.
• The Terps’ last road win over a ranked team was an 82-80 win at then-No. 1 North Carolina on 1/19/2008.
• Maryland’s last losing season came in 1992-93, the last year of devastating NCAA sanctions levied against previous staffs at Maryland.
• Each school in the ACC has had a losing season since the Terps fell below .500 21 seasons ago. In fact, nine of the 11 ACC opponents have suffered through a losing season since the Terps won the NCAA title in 2002, with Duke and UNC the exceptions.
• Dez Wells has scored at least nine points in 11 consecutive games dating back to last season.
Summer Tour: The Bahamas
Maryland traveled to the Bahamas for its Summer Tour this past August, earning three victories in three days against Bahamas All-Stars, Commonwealth Giants and Grand Bahamas All-Stars.
Sophomore Jake Layman starred on the trip for the Terps, averaging 21.3 points over the course of the three contests, including a pair of 25-point performances.
Junior Dez Wells opened the trip with 22 points, nine rebounds and a number of electrifying dunks in the Terps’ 92-84 victory over the Bahamas All-Stars. Sophomore Seth Allen led the way in the second game, notching 26 points and 10 assists in a 97-90 win over the Commonwealth Giants. Layman and Nick Faust closed the trip with 25 and 20 points, respectively, in the Terps’ 11-point win over the Grand Bahamas All-Stars.
The trip was particularly significant for sophomore Shaquille Cleare, a native of Andros, Bahamas. Although Cleare was unable to play due to injury, his family and friends were in attendance at the games to support the Terps. The sophomore also enjoyed showing his teammates and coaches around the Bahamian mainline.
Albert King to be Recognized
Terrapin legend and Brooklyn native Albert King will be recognized during tonight’s game. King’s #55 jersey currently graces the rafters of the Comcast Center for his contributions to the Maryland Terrapin basketball program from 1977-1981.
Regarded as the nation’s best high school player as a senior at Fort Hamilton High School, King ended one of the most publicized recruitment efforts of the era by choosing Maryland over 500 other colleges across the country.
After tallying 13.6 points and 6.7 rebounds as a freshman and then earning All-America accolades as a sophomore, King turned in a season for the ages as a junior. The all-purpose Terp broke the then-Maryland single-season record with 674 points, earning two appearances on the cover of Sports Illustrated. He garnered ACC Player of the Year and first team All-America for his efforts honors. Over 30 years later, King remains among the top-four scorers all-time in Maryland history.
King was one of four Terrapins selected in the 1981 draft, selected 10th overall by the New Jersey Nets, alongside teammate Buck Williams. He played in the NBA for nine seasons.
• Guard Seth Allen broke his left foot in practice on October 29 and is expected to miss 10 weeks. Dez Wells started at point guard in the exhibition against Catholic.
• Maryland won 25 games in a season for the ninth time in school history last year. The Terps also won 25 or more in 1971-72 (27), 1984-85 (25), 1994-95 (26), 1998-99 (28), 1999-2000 (25), 2000-01 (25), 2001-02 (32) and 2006-07 (25). Mark Turgeon is the third Maryland coach to achieve the feat, joining Lefty Driesell and Gary Williams.
• Turgeon’s current winning percentage of .600 (42-28) is the best mark by a Maryland coach in his first two seasons. Bud Millikan had a .592 winning percentage, Gary Williams had a .574 mark and Lefty Driesell garnered a .519 percentage.
• The Terps appeared in the NIT for the eighth time in school history last year, and hold a 14-7 record in the tournament.
• The NIT appearance marked 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).
• 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.
• Maryland set a single-season record for games played (38) last season. The previous record was 37 in 1984-85.
• Maryland did not beat a ranked opponent in either of the two seasons prior to last year. The Terps had three wins over a ranked team last year: No. 14/15 NC State, No. 2/1 Duke (Feb. 16), and No. 2/2 Duke (March 15).
• The 13-game winning streak Maryland went on last season was tied for the second longest in school history, trailing just the 14-game streak the Terps went on in 1931-32.
Experience is Evident
Head coach Mark Turgeon returns his most experienced team in three years as coach at Maryland, including 12 letterwinners from a season ago. Among the returners is Dez Wells, Nick Faust, Jake Layman and Shaquille Cleare, who combined for 94 starts a season ago. Additionally, Evan Smotrycz started 42 games during his two seasons at Michigan.
Despite the experience, it must be noted that none of Maryland’s rotational players are seniors which bodes well for the future. Former walk-on John Auslander is the lone senior on the squad.
With the addition of Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame to the ACC this season, Maryland will play a highly formidable schedule in 2013. Including a date with No. 19 Connecticut to open the season, the Terps are schedule to face seven ranked teams in the Associate Press Preseason Top-25.
For the first time in the history of its existence in the ACC, Maryland will not play Duke, North Carolina or North Carolina State at home. In fact, this marks the first year Maryland will not play Duke at home since 1955.
The 18-game conference slate features four home-and-home dates for Maryland: Pittsburgh, Florida State, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
Head coach Mark Turgeon and his staff signed its second consecutive consensus top-20 recruiting class this season with the addition of local products Damonte Dodd (Centreville, Md.) and Roddy Peters (District Heights, Md.).
Maryland has had a player recognized on the ACC All-Freshman Team three out of the last four seasons, and hopes to continue the trend this season with Peters and Dodd. Prior to Nick Faust in 2012, Terrell Stoglin was honored in 2011 and Jordan Williams was honored in 2010.
Turgeon on Peters: “He has excellent court vision, a great feel for the game and his length at his position is a great asset. He’s an unselfish basketball player that is all about winning.”
Turgeon on Dodd: “Damonte will be fun to coach and he really has big upside. He runs, rebounds, and blocks shots, and his best years on the basketball court are ahead of him.”
Home Sweet Home
Maryland has been a dominant home team over the years:
• The Terps are 865-298 (.744) all-time at home dating back to 1923-24.
• Maryland is 159-36 (.815) all-time at Comcast Center.
• Maryland is 213-41 (.839) at home the last 12 seasons (since 1998-99).
• Maryland is 76-17 (.817) in home-openers in College Park all-time, including a 36-game winning streak (last loss on 11/27/76 to Notre Dame, 80-79, OT). The Terps did not play a home game in 1918-19.
Fear the Turtle!
Maryland is one of the most consistent winning programs in the country following more than a decade of excellence:
• The Terps have averaged 22.41 wins per season the last 17 years, including eight consecutive 20-win seasons from 1996-2004.
• Maryland has 18 postseason appearances in the last 20 years, including 11 consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament from 1993-2004.
• The Terrapins have won at least two postseason games (ACC, NCAA, NIT) in 10 of the last 15 seasons.
• The Terps have advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen seven times in the last 19 years.
• Maryland made consecutive trips to the NCAA Final Four in 2001 and 2002 .
• The Terps captured the 2002 NCAA National Championship.
• The Terps captured the 2004 ACC Tournament Championship.
• Maryland shared the 2010 ACC Regular-Season Title with eventual national-champion Duke.
Maryland is 48-51 all-time in overtime games. Maryland was 0-1 last season in extra sessions, falling to Virginia, 61-58, at Comcast Center on March 10, 2013.
• Maryland has played at least one overtime game in 18 of the last 21 seasons. The Terps did not go overtime in 2010-11, marking the first time in eight seasons they finished business in regulation for the entire.
• Maryland’s 89-74 OT win over Vermont (11/21/08) marked the largest winning margin in an overtime game for the Terps, who outscored the Catamounts 17-2, including the first 17 points of the extra session.
• Maryland is 25-18 in overtime games played at home, including a 6-1 mark at Comcast Center. The last overtime game at Comcast was on March 4, 2012, when Maryland lost to Virginia, 75-72.
Lunch with the Legends
Prior to Friday’s game against Connecticut, former coaching legends Gary Williams and Jim Calhoun will team up for “Lunch with the Lengends” in the University Club in New York, N.Y. at 12:00 p.m.
Williams and Calhoun, in addition to former Maryland and Connecticut players, will engage with attendees as they reflect on their respective national championship winning teams. Williams and Calhoun last met when the Terps ousted the Huskies in the 2002 NCAA Regional Final en route to capturing the national title.
Williams and Calhoun combined for over 1,000 victories during their respective time at Maryland and Connecticut, winning four national championships.
McLendon Scholarship Check Presentation
Maryland athletics is proud to announce the presentation of a check from Barclays Center to the John McLendon Minority Scholarship Foundation. Maryland director of athletics Kevin Anderson, a board member of the John McLendon Minority Foundation, will be accepting the check on behalf of the Foundation. Brett Yorkmark, CEO of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center, will present the check on behalf of Barclays Center.
The McLendon Foundation was founded by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) in 1998. The organization provides educational opportunities and serves as a vehicle for networking, information and advocacy on behalf of the profession. Since its inception, the program has provided more than 65 postgradute scholarships in the amount of $10,000 each to minority students pursuing a postgraduate degree in athletics administration.