December 05, 2014

Things didn't go as planned for Maryland in its Top 25 debut under coach Mark Turgeon, but he feels it could be a good learning experience.

Still trying to adjust without star Dez Wells, the 21st-ranked Terrapins may again be missing another key player as they try to bounce back from their first defeat Saturday against visiting Winthrop.

Senior forward Evan Smotrycz tweaked his left ankle Sunday in his second game back following left foot surgery in October, and he was unable to play in Wednesday's 76-65 home loss to No. 7 Virginia in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Smotrycz, who averaged 11.0 points and started 28 games in 2013-14, might not be available when the Terrapins (7-1) look to get back on track with their 14th consecutive home win over an unranked opponent.

His absence leaves a big hole in the frontcourt with starters Jon Graham and Damonte Dodd combining for just 6.7 points per game. Junior forward Jake Layman has been a bright spot, though, scoring in double figures in every game and averaging 14.5 points.

Maryland, in the Top 25 for the first time since the 2009-10 season, has already endured a big loss in the backcourt. Wells was averaging 16.2 points before breaking his wrist in a 72-63 win at then-No. 13 Iowa State on Nov. 25.

The senior guard, a member of the Wooden Award preseason top 50, isn't expected to return until late December.

Freshman Melo Trimble has picked up the scoring load, averaging 20.2 points in his last five games. He finished with a team-high 16 points Wednesday despite shooting 2 of 9 from the field.

"I thought Melo was terrific," Turgeon said. "He got to the foul line 14 times (12 of 14) against a team that was just trying to stop him. He just didn't have a lot of help on that end."

The Terrapins have shot 30.6 percent from 3-point range in the past three games and were below 40 percent overall in two of them. Virginia, which entered the week ranked No. 1 nationally in scoring defense, held Maryland 13 points below its average.

"We kept trying to respond," said Turgeon, in his fourth season with the Terrapins. "I think we'll be a better team because we played Virginia."

Turgeon is certainly expecting a better effort defensively after Maryland gave up a season-worst 53.1 field-goal percentage.

The Terrapins hope to avoid consecutive home losses to non-conference foes for the first time since 2007 as they take on a Winthrop team which has dropped three of its last four by a total of nine points.

The Eagles (3-3) shot a season-high 49.0 percent Wednesday, including 8 of 16 from 3-point range, but lost 79-76 at Jacksonville State on a 3-pointer with 1.4 seconds left in overtime.

"It seems like a lot of those shots are going in against us right now and sometimes that's how it goes," coach Pat Kelsey told the team's official website.

Keon Johnson had a season-high 22 points off the bench as leading scorer Keon Moore struggled again. Moore averages 16.8 points but had only eight Wednesday after scoring six in Monday's win over Savannah State. Jarad Scott has stepped up in those contests, scoring a combined 31 while hitting 5 of 7 from 3-point range.

The Eagles have lost their last five games against ranked opponents by an average of 26.2 points. They're 0-4 all-time against the Terrapins, including a 71-60 road loss in the most recent meeting Nov. 20, 2006.

You May Like

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)