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Maryland basketball’s Ricky Lindo turned an opportunity into a career night vs. Radford

With Jalen Smith out, the Terps’ other freshman forward stepped up.

Lila Bromberg-Testudo Times

With 17:20 remaining in the second half of Maryland basketball’s Saturday meeting with Radford, Ricky Lindo caught the ball on the right side of the court, just outside the three-point line. The freshman dribbled once, stepped to his right, took another long step with his left foot through the lane, then went up and under to finish through a defender. Even though Lindo missed the layup, he got his own rebound and finished the play with the putback.

The offensive sequence was Lindo’s best of the season in a game in which he played meaningful minutes. With Jalen Smith out with a stomach bug, Mark Turgeon relied mostly on Lindo to fill his shoes, and the rookie finished with eight points and 10 rebounds in 22 minutes.

“Ricky was terrific. I feel like he tried to get every rebound,” Turgeon said. “His body was live and active, he’s getting more confident offensively. It’s good to see. He played 20-plus minutes, really played well and played with confidence, which is important.”

Although Turgeon gave the start to Joshua Tomaic, Lindo quickly became the better option as the game progressed. He played 11 minutes in the first half, which was more than the nine he played in the entire game against Seton Hall. He then started the second half on the floor, the first time someone outside of Maryland’s top six has done that all season.

In that playing time, he continued to show why Maryland decided to make him a late addition to its roster while adding new areas to his game at this level. Lindo played a key part in helping Radford miss 13 straight shots in the first half, applying pressure and getting in the way of shots around the rim.

That energy has helped him get some minutes and work his way into the rotation, but he also looked more comfortable in the flow of the offense. Instead of just passing and keeping the offense moving, Lindo looked for his own shot. After shooting just four free throws all season coming into this game, the Washington, D.C., native went to the foul line six times against Radford (making four attempts). Part of that was getting second-chance opportunities on the offensive glass, but it was also because he was more aggressive.

According to Bruno Fernando, that aggressiveness is the biggest difference between Lindo’s game now than when he arrived on campus in August.

“He goes to the boards every time and he’s not trying to force anything, and he waits for his turn and does whatever the game gives him,” Fernando said.

For Lindo, though, that’s only come as he’s gotten more confident. He said as his confidence has grown, it’s allowed him to become more comfortable on the court and start to work on other parts of his game like driving to the basket and extending his range.

“I just tell myself I’m here for a reason,” Lindo said. “Coach Turgeon and this coaching staff recruited me here for a reason, so I just have to show that I can play with them.”

As the Terps start Big Ten play once again, Maryland will need more performances like this from Lindo. Turgeon has had limited success expanding his rotation beyond six players, but the raw ability from Lindo and fellow freshman Serrel Smith Jr. make it worth trying. Lindo will certainly continue to have his ups and downs, but you can count on him going 100 percent for however long he’s on the court.

“When he first got here, it took him a while to adapt,” sophomore guard Darryl Morsell said. “When he came in he was asking questions, [but] he just plays hard so that makes up for a lot of things he didn’t know.”