By Noah Ferguson and Logan Hill
As the shot clock wound down late in a contentious second half of action, Fatts Russell sized up his defender at the top of the key. Dribbling three times before releasing a three-pointer, Russell watched as his high-arcing shot cascaded through the net for the game-clinching bucket.
Russell’s late three-pointer put the finishing touches on a 71-64 victory for No. 21 Maryland men’s basketball, which escaped with a win over the visiting George Washington Colonials despite a lackluster offensive performance on Thursday night in College Park.
With the seven-point win, head coach Mark Turgeon’s squad improved to 2-0 on the season. Here are three takeaways from Thursday’s home victory.
Qudus Wahab looks to be the big man Maryland spent all last season looking for
In just his second game as a Terp, the Georgetown transfer posted a double-double. Scoring 18 points and pulling down 15 rebounds, Wahab led the team in both categories.
After losing Bruno Fernando and Jalen Smith in back-to-back seasons, Maryland lacked a true presence down low throughout the 2020 season, putting more pressure on their outside shooting.
When Wahab transferred to Maryland in April, he was expected to undertake the role down low that Maryland lacked as they advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Through two games, he has done just that.
On a night where Maryland struggled shooting from deep, Wahab was able to stem the struggles with solid inside play. As Maryland continues to build their chemistry with a revamped squad for 2021, Wahab should be a catalyst on both sides of the floor.
Inconsistent perimeter shooting haunted the Terps all evening long
Despite the win, head coach Mark Turgeon’s squad had a forgettable offensive evening at home against the Colonials.
Shooting an inconsistent 3-20 from long range, no Terp cashed in more than one three-pointer in the seven-point victory. Eric Ayala, Maryland’s go-to scorer from the wing, shot at an 0-6 clip as the Terps struggled to find their rhythm from long range.
“The guys found a way to win,” coach Mark Turgeon said following the victory. “I didn’t like the way we started the game shooting the ball, but I thought we played with some pretty good poise.”
Turgeon’s squad was able to overcome its streaky shooting night, fending off a 16-point first half outburst from Joe Bamisile to move to 2-0 on the young season.
But a 15% night from three point-land is certainly a red flag as Maryland prepares to take on the Big Ten’s elite. While the Terps were able to scrape by the Colonials thanks in large part to Wahab’s dominance in the post, perimeter shooting is undoubtedly a work in progress in College Park.
Maryland and Ricky Lindo didn’t work out, but both sides are still okay after the split
Ricky Lindo Jr. began his college career at Maryland as a part of the 2018 recruiting class alongside Jalen Smith, Eric Ayala, Aaron Wiggins, Serrel Smith Jr. and Trace Ramsey.
Lindo transferred to George Washington in April of 2020, after inconsistent playing time in two seasons as a Terp.
Lindo started for the Colonials Thursday night, finishing the game with 13 points and nine rebounds to lead his team on the boards. The change of scenery created an opportunity for minutes for the D.C. Native, and he should factor into their plans heavily this season.
For the Terps, the addition of Wahab filled the big man void left by the departures of Lindo and Smith, and Donta Scott also took on a bigger role down low.
Over a year and a half after Lindo’s transfer, the two sides have both addressed their problems, with Lindo finding a new role for himself and Maryland finding new answers in the post.