No. 21 Maryland men’s basketball is off to a 1-0 start after claiming an 83-69 win over Quinnipiac in the season-opener this past Tuesday.
Maryland shot just shy under 50% from the field in the program’s first home win of the season and five different Terps scored in double-figures. Center Qudus Wahab led Maryland in scoring, totaling 17 points on 7-for-10 shooting and six rebounds, two assists and two blocks.
“It’s just nice to have low-post scoring, we couldn’t do that last year,” head coach Mark Turgeon said of Wahab. “We just call a play and throw it in there, and then teams will start doubling and we got a lot of good players out there so we can make them pay, so it’s nice to have.”
He was a dominant force in the paint while guards Fatts Russell and Eric Ayala combined for 25 of the Terps’ points. Ayala hit three of Maryland’s six total three-pointers in the game.
Ayala hit a major milestone on Tuesday, collecting his 1,000th point in his Maryland career.
“We haven’t even talked about it,” Turgeon said of Ayala’s achievement. “We didn’t talk about it before, we haven’t talked about it after, but it’s really pretty cool... it’s great to see, happy for him.”
A significant amount of Maryland’s newcomers made a positive impact in the first game of the 2021-22 season and they will look to build on that performance tomorrow against George Washington.
Thursday’s matchup in College Park will tip-off at 6:30 p.m. and the game will be aired on Big Ten Network.
Let’s take a look at George Washington, Maryland’s second opponent of the season.
George Washington Colonials (1-0, 0-0 Atlantic 10)
2020-21 record: 5-12 (3-5, A10)
Head coach Jamion Christian is entering his third season as the helm of the Colonials. Similar to Turgeon, Christian has done well in regards to gaining talent from the transfer portal, adding a few key talents to the backcourt since becoming the leader of the program. George Washington finished with just five wins in 17 total games a season ago, but the roster has the players to compete in the conference.
The Colonials started off their season with a 75-72 win over Saint Francis on Tuesday, giving them some momentum before the matchup with Maryland.
Players to watch
Brendan Adams, graduate guard, 6-foot-4, No. 10 — Adams had the best performance out of any Colonial in the program’s first game of the season against Saint Francis. Adams played the most out of any player on the team on Tuesday and he made the most of his opportunities. He shot 4-for-6 from three-point range and finished with a team-high 22 points. He also had five rebounds and three assists while also committing just two turnovers. Before coming to George Washington, he played at UConn, where he averaged 4.9 points and 1.8 rebounds per game. This new starting role for Adams should pay dividends for this roster moving forward and he’s certainly going to be a focal point of the offense.
Joe Bamisile, sophomore guard, 6-foot-4, No. 1 — George Washington’s backcourt is rounded out by Bamisile, whose skillset is an effective counterpart to what Adams and Bishop bring. Like Adams, Bamisile is a transfer and he came over from Virginia Tech after appearing in 13 games there. The Virginia native finished second on the team in scoring last game with 20 points on 50% shooting. He’s also a big factor on the defensive end. He added three blocks and two steals, proving he’s an end-to-end player.
Ricky Lindo Jr., senior forward, 6-foot-8, No. 4 — Lindo Jr. is a familiar face making a return to College Park this Thursday. The forward out of Washington D.C. appeared in 63 games as a Terp before transferring. At Maryland, he averaged just 1.7 points and 2.8 rebounds per game as he struggled to find time on the court, which likely prompted his eventual transfer. Lindo has stepped up as a key player for the Colonials and he chipped in with 17 points and a team-high nine rebounds in the Saint Francis matchup. The Colonials’ big man will be on the court early and often against Maryland, a team that is considered to have plenty of length.
Star power. George Washington doesn’t necessarily have the strongest roster coming into College Park, but its top two players are game-changers. Adams is a stellar guard for the Colonials, as he led his team in scoring in the season-opener and he shot at a 6-for-11 clip. He also played 35 total minutes for George Washington. Behind Adams, Bamisile is another talented guard that can sway the outcome of the game with his efficiency. Bamisile is an impact player on both ends of the floor, as he collected 20 points, five boards, three blocks and two steals. Besides those two, you still have to watch out for guard James Bishop, who’s not afraid to shoot. He struggled in the game against Saint Francis, but he finished second in the Atlantic 10 in scoring a season ago. This backcourt is dangerous and Maryland will have to be solid, especially along the perimeter.
Depth. While George Washington certainly has a talented trio leading it on offense heading into Thursday, it just doesn’t have enough firepower on its roster. Only three of George Washington’s players scored nine or more points in its first game of the season. Other than those three, only one other player on the roster put up more than four points against Saint Francis. This roster is fairly thin, and Maryland’s depth should prove to be a major advantage over a team like George Washington.
Three things to watch
1. Will Qudus Wahab be Maryland’s top scorer again? Coming into the season, it was expected that the transfer from Georgetown, center Qudus Wahab, would receive a good amount of playing time for a team that desperately needed a dominant paint presence for the 2021-22 season. Wahab provided that and more for the Terps on Tuesday, when he racked up 17 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the floor. He also added six rebounds and two blocks. He was one of the best players on the floor for Maryland and it’ll be interesting to see if Wahab can make it two games in a row for being the top scorer on the team.
“We always say, do what you do at practice, and that’s what Q does,” junior forward Donta Scott said. “He doesn’t try to step out of his box or step on anybody else’s toes... just seeing Q being able to go out there and contribute his game on the court that he does at practice is just amazing.”
2. Will the Terps improve their shooting from deep? The win against Quinnipiac was in part due to Maryland’s strong effort in the paint and around the basket. Maryland simply didn’t need to make that many threes in the matchup with the Bobcats, though it finished the game with 17 attempted tries from long range. However, it only connected on six of them at the end of 40 minutes of play. Ayala hit three of the six, while junior forward Donta Scott, sophomore guard Ian Martinez and sophomore forward Pavlo Dziuba had the other makes. It was just a 35.3% shooting day from beyond the arc for the Terps and they’ll try to improve on that mark this Thursday.
3. How will Maryland fare in the rebounding game? George Washington was out-rebounded in its first game of the season against Saint Francis as it scraped out a tight three-point win. Maryland, on the other hand, was dominant in the rebounding game against Quinnipiac. The Bobcats had just 29 total boards compared to the Terps’ 45. Maryland also came away with 13 offensive rebounds, while Quinnipiac registered just five in that regard. The Terps are coming into Thursday’s game as the better rebounding team. Maryland just may end up thriving on second chance points, and it’s worth it to look out for how effective the Terps are when they crash the boards against George Washington.