December 25, 2014

With the exception of one game, Maryland hasn't had much trouble in the absence of Dez Wells and could soon get its leading scorer back.

That return might come as early as Saturday against Oakland in the 15th-ranked Terrapins' final game before opening their inaugural Big Ten campaign.

Maryland (11-1) is 6-1 since Wells broke a bone in his right wrist Nov. 25 in a 72-63 win over then-No. 13 Iowa State, an injury that required surgery. The lone stumble was a 76-65 defeat to undefeated and fifth-ranked Virginia on Dec. 3.

The Terps beat Oklahoma State 73-64 on Sunday in their first road game. Jake Layman led the way with a season high-tying 21 points and a career-best 11 rebounds.

"It's big for the team to get that first real road win in a tough environment, especially the younger guys because this is what we'll see in conference play," said Layman, who has averaged a team-leading 17.3 points and 5.9 rebounds in Wells' absence.

The junior forward was averaging 13.8 points and 5.4 boards in the first five games this season while Wells was scoring 16.2 per contest. Wells, who was expected to miss four weeks, has led Maryland in scoring in each of his three seasons with the program.

Freshman Melo Trimble has provided 16.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game with Wells sidelined after he averaged 14.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists in the first five games.

Wells is expected to get one practice day before the visit from Oakland (4-9) and would benefit from even limited minutes ahead of Tuesday's Big Ten opener at Michigan State.

This contest will be the first for Maryland against the Golden Grizzlies, who are wrapping up a six-game road stretch that's included some high-profile matchups. Oakland has dropped four in a row, including a 101-64 drubbing against No. 3 Arizona on Dec. 16.

The Grizzlies also fell 87-61 to Michigan State on Dec. 14 and lost 70-60 at Clemson on Monday. They shot 39.2 percent against the Tigers, including 4 for 15 from long range.

Oakland has connected on 40.4 percent of its shots during the losing streak after converting 47.8 in its first nine games.

Leading scorer Kahlil Fielder, though, has shined lately. The sophomore guard, averaging 16.8 points, has had at least 20 in three straight games, including 22 Monday.

He's totaled 43 points and 19 assists in two games against Top 25 teams this season, but the Grizzlies have extended their losing streak versus ranked opponents to 11.

Maryland has won 16 in a row at home against unranked teams.

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