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Maryland basketball vs. Gardner-Webb preview

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It’s another quick turnaround for the Terps but this time it’s against a true mid-major.

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland basketball had no trouble with Ohio on Thursday night, winning 87-62. The Terps will now turn around and face another opponent on short rest early Saturday afternoon when the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs come to College Park.

The Terps are now 8-3 after surviving a scare at Illinois last weekend and having re-entered non-conference play for the rest of the calendar year. It was smooth sailing Thursday night, save for when electric freshman Bruno Fernando went down with what was later diagnosed as a sprained right ankle. It’s not the ankle he had sprained just prior to the season, but he’s still likely to miss at least the next two games, Mark Turgeon said in his press conference after the game.

Maryland’s game against Gardner-Webb is scheduled to tip off at 12:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. The game will be aired on BTN Plus (sorry, that costs money).

Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs (3-7)

2016-17 record: 19-14 (11-7 Big South)

Head coach Tim Craft has put up 74 wins over his four-plus seasons at the helm for Runnin’ Bulldogs, which is a program best over that timeframe. He’s also posted four straight winning seasons—the longest such streak since the program moved to Division I.

Players to know

David Efianayi, RS junior, G, 6’2, No. 11. Efianayi is the Runnin’ Bulldogs leading scorer with 16.7 points per contest despite not being a huge threat from deep. The shifty guard gets to the free-throw line more than three times as often as his next closest teammate where he knocks down just shy of 76 percent of his shots.

DJ Laster, junior, F, 6’6, No. 25. Laster leads the team in rebounds per game, pulling in 6.8 missed shots per game, and is also Gardner-Webb’s second leading scorer. With Fernando sidelined, it’ll be interesting to see how Maryland can combat its opponents on the boards, even though they’re still significantly smaller than the Terps.

Liam O’Rielly, junior, G, 6’2, No. 5. O’Rielly is the team’s deep threat, shooting over 44 percent from downtown on 65 attempts so far this season. The team’s third leading scorer, he’s also logged the most minutes through 10 games this season with 327.


Three-point shooting. The Runnin’ Bulldogs have three players shooting over 40 percent from beyond the arc with more than 25 attempts. They are the team’s second, third and fourth leading scorers, and they could keep things interesting for a little while if they start the game hot.


Size. Even with Fernando sidelined, virtually any Maryland lineup will tower over this Garder-Webb squad. Jared Nickens, Dion Wiley, Ivan Bender, Sean Obi and even Joshua Tomaic should see some increased minutes in Fernando’s absence, and all of them are taller than their counterparts on the Runnin’ Bulldogs.


KenPom: Maryland wins, 81-61

Me: Maryland wins, 94-56