What’s the worst thing that can happen to a team after a spirit-lifting, last-second win at home? A letdown loss on the road immediately after.
Though the first few minutes of gameplay in Blacksburg, Va., seemed to indicate Maryland might be headed in that direction, leave it to the man who saved them against Miami to swing the game in Maryland’s favor on Saturday.
Junior guard Dez Wells took control after a rocky start in the first half against Virginia Tech, on his way to scoring 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor and helping Maryland to a runaway 80-60 win on the road at Cassell Coliseum.
This was the follow-up performance Maryland needed, a big win to start a stretch of four of the next five games on the road. Four players scored in double figures, led by Wells’ 19.
Read more below.
Maryland 80, Virginia Tech 60
DEZ WELLS NOT IN STARTING LINEUP
Fresh off a 21-point performance in which he carried Maryland to victory over Miami, Dez Wells was not in the starting lineup against Virginia Tech on Saturday.
Don’t blink, though, because he checked in within a minute. According to Alex Prewitt of the Washington Post, it was a disciplinary measure because Wells was late for the team's breakfast.
...BUT DEZ WELLS DOMINATES
The Wells that we saw in the second half against Miami was the same junior guard we saw in the first half against Virginia Tech. He was aggressive and assertive on the offensive end, attacking the basket and getting to the line.
He finished with 12 points in an efficient first half that included 6-of-6 shooting from the free throw line. That intensity continued in the second, punctuated by an early steal and slam that extended Maryland’s lead to 14 points with just over 16 minutes to play.
CLAMP-DOWN DEFENSE ON JARELL EDDIE
Maryland’s biggest assignment defensively on Saturday was Jarell Eddies, the Hokies’ leading scorer and rebounder. They did just about as good a job on him as Turgeon could have asked for.
Eddie finished without a field goal, shooting 0-of-9 from the field including 0-of-5 from three-point range. He tallied two points, which came on two free throws.
Without Eddie in the mix offensively, the rest of the Virginia Tech offense struggled, too. The Hokies shot 37 percent from the field and just 25 percent from behind the arc on the afternoon.
SETH ALLEN FINDS THE BALANCE
Since returning from injury, Seth Allen hasn’t had as complete a game as he had on Saturday. Yes, we’ve seen him score before, but against Virginia Tech he found the balance that Maryland needs to win games.
He was an aggressive shooter and scorer when the situation called for it, but he also dished out seven assists and turned the ball over just twice. He was part of the reason that four players scored in double figures and the team shot 51.8 percent from the floor.