With seven and half minutes remaining in the game, No. 21 Maryland men’s basketball already held a commanding 67-32 lead over the Fayetteville State Broncos.
Looking to extend the Terps’ lead, graduate guard Fatts Russell dribbled the ball down the court and as he approached the arc, dished the ball out to his right where junior guard Hakim Hart grabbed it and put it up for an easy layup in the paint.
The Terps continued to coast, eventually collecting the victory in their exhibition matchup, 89-40.
“We didn’t start the game great, were a little bit nervous but the guys did great,” head coach Mark Turgeon said. “The last 32 minutes, I though our first team defense was terrific.”
After winning the tip, Maryland was unable to get anything going early as it turned over the ball. However, Fayetteville put up a shot and Russell grabbed the rebound. Hakim Hart hit the first shot of the day, a score from deep.
Fayetteville responded with two while its defense sent Maryland into a scoring drought lasting over two minutes. With about 16 minutes remaining in the first quarter, forward Qudus Wahab got the ball under the basket and his 6-foot-11 frame allowed him to lightly place the ball into the basket to put the Terps up, 5-2.
Maryland’s defense on the other side of the court was making it difficult for the Broncos to breakthrough. They hit zero of their last four attempted field goals with 15 minutes remaining in the first half and were experiencing a scoring drought of over four minutes.
Forward Julian Reese got his first points as a Terp at the 13-minute mark to extend Maryland's 6-0 scoring run. Seconds later, the Broncos’ snapped their scoring drought but the Terps responded. Sophomore Ian Martinez hit a three, his first points in Maryland uniform to put the Terps ahead by seven.
However, the Broncos' offense continued to push driving the score up. A three-point bucket with less than 10 minutes remaining closed Maryland’s lead to one as the Terps put back in their starting lineup.
With about eight minutes remaining and the shot clock winding down, Russell hit a three from the left side of the basket that found its way in, energizing both his team and the crowd, sparking a 7-0 run.
Moments later, the Broncos tried to respond with a three of their own but as the ball bounced off the rim, Ayala grabbed the rebound and pushed it to Russell who made the layup and was fouled on the play.
With a little over six minutes remaining, the Broncos ended their scoring drought but the Terps responded nearly immediately as Ayala was fouled on his way up to the basket and hit both his attempts from the charity stripe but the second did not count due to a lane violation.
Moments later, Hart hit his second basket of the game, another deep three extending Maryland’s lead, 29-18.
Maryland continued to drive up the score with their 18-3 run that lasted over four minutes. On the other side of the court, Fayetteville could not get anything going hitting just one of their last seven attempted field goals as the Terps led, 32-18.
Maryland finished the first half hitting six of their last eight field goals while the game went the opposite way for Fayetteville as it hit just one of their last seven. The Terps headed into the locker room with a 20-point lead, 43-23.
Russell had the first three points of the second half with a successful shot and free throw. The Broncos responded with two but then the Terps kicked it into high gear.
Maryland went on a 9-0 scoring run lasting nearly three minutes that consisted of a three from Scott, a jumper from Wahab and a dunk from the 6-foot-11 forward.
The Terps extended their run to 11 points until the Broncos answered with about 14 minutes remaining in the game.
“We practice really hard every day so like when we get out here and like have scrimmages and games that we’re just doing exactly what we do in practice,” Russell said. “So I feel like our practice is going to be harder than a lot of games because we have a lot of depth.”
Maryland continued to drive up the score while also shutting down the Broncos making it impossible for them to catch up. With eight minutes remaining, Fayetteville was experiencing a scoring drought lasting over two and a half minutes.
With less than five minutes remaining graduate forward Simon Wright scored his first points as a Terp as he hit a three to extend Maryland’s 13-2 scoring run.
Maryland continued to cruise victory as it prepares for its first official game of the season.
Three things to know
1. Fatts Russell and Qudus Wahab made their appearance as starters for the Terps. Russell and Wahab were big pickups for head coach Mark Turgeon in the transfer portal and they seem to make a near-immediate impact for the Terps, as was expected. In the first half, Russell had seven points, all on electric plays, while shooting hitting three of his four attempted shots from the field and his sole attempt from deep. The guard from the University of Rhode Island also grabbed one rebound and two steals in 12 minutes on the court. Wahab showed his strength under the basket shooting two-for-two from the field and two-for-three from the charity stripe. He and Scott led the team headed into halftime with four rebounds each.
“I‘m just looking forward to keep playing together,” Wahab said. “Keep winning together as a team, you know, I think that’s what’s gonna really help us... to get to our goal.”
2. Julian Reese had a strong debut. The freshman from Baltimore provided energy off the bench. Reese came into the game early and started driving up the score quickly. Reese finished the game with a team-high 16 points shooting 6-for-10 from the field, 0-for-1 from deep and 4-for-6 from the charity stripe. Reese also grabbed five rebounds and had one block. However, Reese also committed two turnovers and collected four fouls. Although this was an exhibition match, Reese showed a lot of promise for the Terps and could be a key asset off the bench this upcoming season.
“Right now he’s our backup five and I’m just glad we’ve got him here,” Turgeon said.
3. Maryland kicks off its regular season on Tuesday. This matchup was the Terps’ sole exhibition match and they will host Quinnipiac on Tuesday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. Maryland will look to continue its streak of winning home-openers as it has collected victories in 44 straight dating back to 1977-78.