Maryland loses Wells but finds a way to beat Monmouth

By Emily Olsen

When the Terps gathered moments before Friday’s game against the Monmouth Hawks, a deafening silence filled the huddle. No one spoke. No one knew who was supposed to speak. Dez Wells’ typically did pregame speeches, but the leading scorer was nowhere to be found in the minutes leading up to the game.

The silencing news came Friday. Before the game Maryland coach Mark Turgeon announced that the team’s leading scorer, Dez Wells, was expected to miss four weeks with a broken bone in his right wrist.

“First two or three huddles no one said anything, it was always Dez,” coach Turgeon said.

The Terps’ narrowly escaped an embarrassing out-of-conference loss to Monmouth, defeating the team 61-56 and improving their record to (6-0). The Terps entered Friday’s game having upset No. 13 Iowa State to win the CBE Classic title last week, but did not run away with the game Friday, shooting under 40 percent for the majority of the game.

“I told the guys at half time that just because we win a tournament and beat a pretty good team doesn’t mean we are going to beat every team by 40,” coach Turgeon said.

Along with the loss of Wells, the Terps had to adjust to the return of forward Evan Smotrycz, who missed the first part of the season due to an ankle injury.

“We were just a little bit out of rhythm,” coach Turgeon said. “Trying to get used to not having Dez and bring Evan back. It was a double whammy.”

In his first game this season, Smotrycz proved to be an asset defensively, leading the team in rebounds. Teammate Melo Trimble commented that when Smotrycz is healthy he provides scoring, defense, rebounds, and an overall good feel of the game.

A strong player in his own right, the Freshman guard Trimble played a major roll in Friday’s victory, scoring 24 of the teams 61 points and making all but one of his 14 free throw attempts. Coach Turgeon repeatedly called Trimble a winner in his post game press conference.

“He figures it out. He knew we had to win,” coach Turgeon said. “I’m surprised he missed one, that’s how good he is.”

Monmouth coach King Rice also took notice of Trimble’s leadership.

“He calms them down then he makes the plays. He makes the free throws, and he’s a freshman,” coach Rice said.

The final challenge came to the Terps in the last 5 minutes of the game. The two teams battled back and forth. With 48 seconds left in the game, Monmouth player Andrew Nicholas made a 3-pointer and 28 seconds later Monmouth cut the lead to just one point with 20 seconds remaining. Deon Jones attempted a final 3-pointer to tie the game but Trimble jumped up and squashed the attempt.

Trimble was crucial in the final minutes of the game making almost all of his free throws when fouled, keeping Maryland’s lead.

“I try to do whatever it takes to win,” Trimble said.

He felt Wells’ absence with the rest of the team, but saw it as an opportunity to raise his own level of play.

“Dez brings energy I want to match. It’s energy that makes you want to play harder,” Trimble said. “I am trying to be more of a leader on the court without Dez.”

Trimble had a slow start, but found his groove in the second half; possibly thanks to a little halftime help from his teammate Wells.

“He got there the second half, he got in my ear and that’s when I started playing,” Trimble said.