Maryland returns to Comcast Center Friday as it takes on local foe Morgan State in its first action since winning the Paradise Jam last weekend. The contest will be aired live on ESPN3 at 6:00 pm.
Watch: ESPN 3 – Booker Corrigan (Play-by-Play), Glenn Consor (Analyst)
Listen: Terrapin Sports Radio Network – Johnny Holliday (Play-by-Play), Chris Knoche (Analyst), Walt Williams (Sideline)
• The Terps captured their first in-season tournament title since 2006 (2K Sports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic) as they won three games in four days to capture the Paradise Jam title in St. Thomas on the U.S. Virgin Islands. Maryland made quick work of Marist, before defeating Northern Iowa and Providence on back-to-back nights.
• A week removed from allowing 90 points against Oregon State at home, Maryland responded with renewed vigor in St. Thomas by holding its three opponents to an average of 51 points on just 30.7% shooting. The Terps gave up only 13 baskets from beyond the arc, holding opponents to a dismal 22.8% shooting.
• Dez Wells captured Paradise Jam Most Valuable Player honors, while teammate Evan Smotrycz was named to the All-Tournament team. Wells carried the Terps down the stretch against Providence, tallying 9 of his 13 points in the second half. Smotrycz recorded his first double-double of the season (fourth overall) in the effort with 13 pts and 11 rebs.
• Maryland meets Morgan State for the first time since 2009, when the Bears shocked Comcast Center with a 66-65 victory. The Terps lead the all-time series, 5-1.
Last Time Out
The Terps responded to a disappointing defensive effort against Oregon State by winning three games in four days to capture the Paradise Jam title in St. Thomas. It was the program’s first in-season tournament title since 2006, when it won the 2K Sports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
Maryland ran past Marist with a 68-43 victory, before defeating Northern Iowa (80-66) and Providence (56-52) on back-to-back nights. It was the Terrapins’ first meeting against all three teams.
The Terps appeared well on their way to a drubbing in the finals after taking a 19-point lead on a Varun Ram 3-pointer, but Providence fired back with a 20-4 run down the stretch. The Friars late push fell short, however, as Dez Wells scored nine of his 13 points in the second half to lead the Terps to victory.
Scouting Morgan State
Morgan State and Maryland meet Friday after spending the last week together 1,600 miles south at the Paradise Jam. The Bears took seventh place in St. Thomas, falling to La Salle and Vanderbilt on back-to-back days before defeating Marist on Monday, 74-67.
Senior Justin Black (Dematha) is off to a sizzling start for Morgan State, scoring double-figures in all seven games to open the season. Black had a season-high 28 points against Towson on November 12.
Center Ian Chiles presents an interesting matchup inside for the Terps, as the big man has averaged 13.9 points and 5.6 rebounds in 26.9 minutes this year. The 7-2 Chiles averaged 5 blocks/g in St. Thomas, including a season-high seven swats against Marist.
Dez Shines in Crunch Time
As Providence steadily chipped away at Maryland’s once seemingly insurmountable 19-point second half lead, the Terrapins turned to Dez Wells in crunch time to spark the offense. The junior scored eight of his 13 points in the final 7:44 of the championship game, including a jumper and two free throws in the closing minute.
Wells has made a habit of playing his best late in games this season, scoring at least nine second half points in four-of-six games. He had a season-high 16 second half points against Oregon State.
The Raleigh, N.C. native has also knocked down 19-of-23 shots (0.826) from the charity stripe in the second half.