Coming off of four straight home victories, the No. 6 Maryland Terrapins will look to make it five on Friday night when they take on George Mason. The Patriots also enter the game undefeated, sitting at 5-0. It is their best start in school history.
While the records are similar, the margins of victory have been noticeably different. The Terps have won every contest by at least 18 points, while all five of George Mason’s victories have been by 13 points or less. The Patriots haven’t beaten a team ranked inside the top 200 in Ken Pom.
Some may even call this a trap game as a hungry, local team gets their opportunity to knock off a ranked opponent that could be looking ahead. But the Terps players are well-aware of the challenge the Patriots pose.
“They’re a good team…we know every team that we play is going to come in here and give us their best shot and I mean they’re a really good team. They got a lot of athletes, a lot of good shooters, good guard play,” said Aaron Wiggins. “Just gotta come locked in, work on everything we saw in the scout and got to make sure we transfer that over to the game.”
Offensively, the Patriots play at a slower pace compared to the Terps but Maryland has faced teams that use more of the shot clock before. The Patriots are a balanced team with four players averaging double-digit points, led by sophomore Jordan Miller who’s averaging 15.4 points per game.
“All their guards are really good. I’m really impressed with their team just watching them on film,” Turgeon said.
Look for the Terps to continue to push the pace. While George Mason is balanced, they are not overly deep, truly relying on seven players. An up-and-down contest could wear out the Patriots by the second half.
Another key thing to watch for is the inside battle between Jalen Smith and A.J. Wilson. Wilson, a Laurel native, stands at only 6’7” but is an explosive leaper who is blocking just under four shots per game. The junior will be Smith’s first real test of the year and foreshadow some matchups down the road.
“I think the biggest thing with him is his motor. Are we going to match his motor?,” Turgeon said. “If we don’t we’re going to be in foul trouble, he’ll have a great game.”
Friday’s game, which concludes a five game homestand, is scheduled for 7 p.m. and can be watched on the Big Ten Network.
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