After a sluggish first half, the Maryland Terrapins received a stellar second half effort from guard Dez Wells, which has been par for the course as of late.
The junior guard finished with 11 points (4-of-7 from the field) and played with complete control in a 64-47 dismantling of Virginia Tech on Tuesday evening. Aside from guard/forward Jake Layman, no other Terps finished the game in double figures.
The first half wasn’t mind-blowing to say the least for Maryland.
Forward Evan Smotrycz was back in the starting lineup and hit his first two shots (both threes) to help Maryland jump out to an early 10-7 lead. The Terps started off the game going three-for-six from beyond the arc and was one of the main reasons for the early advantage over Virginia Tech.
An 8-2 run by the Hokies midway through the first half gave them a 17-15 lead. With 8:19 remaining in the opening half, Hokies guard Will Johnston buried a three to give Virginia Tech a 23-17 lead, their largest of the game. The Hokies were aided by exceptional offensive rebounding, which has been a thorn in Maryland’s side all season.
The Terps ended the first half on a fast break slam dunk by guard Nick Faust, which cut the lead to 29-28.
Maryland got off to a strong start out of the gate with a 10-0 run that dated back to the end of the first half. Faust drilled a key triple to help the early push.
Layman connected on three-pointers on back-to-back possessions to push the Terp lead to 43-33 with 13:50 left. The Massachusetts native shot 40 percent from the floor, which is a big step up from going 2-of-20 (10 percent) over the last two games.
Maryland outscored Virginia Tech 36-18 in the second half, despite being out-rebounded 40-30 throughout the contest.
The biggest storyline of the game was the absence of forward Charles Mitchell to begin the second half. Mitchell spent a good portion of the second stanza in the locker room, before coming out and sitting at the end of the Terps bench in his warm-up gear. We’ll have more on this situation later as coach Mark Turgeon will address the situation at his post-game press conference.
UPDATE — Turgeon stated that Mitchell was asked to go to the locker room for a disciplinary reason and his status for the Virginia game on Sunday is still up in the air.