COLLEGE PARK--With 2:11 remaining in Maryland’s 71-60 win over Wake Forest on Tuesday night at Comcast Center, junior wing Nick Faust dribbled down the right side of the floor in transition and pulled up for a mid-range jumper.
By head coach Mark Turgeon’s assessment, it wasn’t a good shot.
There was no one in position to rebound. It was early in the shot clock. Maryland should’ve been more focused on bleeding clock. There was even one loud, stray cry of disbelief from an anonymous member of the Comcast Center crowd that rose audibly above the rest as the ball left Faust’s hands.
But the junior nailed the shot, part of a career night in which he scored 20 points, grabbed five rebounds, and dished out four assists in the Maryland win.
It was just that kind of evening.
“I missed my first two, but I stuck with it,” Faust said after the game. “I played great. I tried to find guys when I could and, you know, make shots when I can. Today was definitely a complete game.
“I even got a couple blocks,” he said with a smile before checking the box score in front of him. “Or one block.”
Perhaps more impressive than the point total for Faust is the efficiency, 7-of-11 shooting from the floor plus solid defense that followed a stretch of four straight games where he failed to reach double figures and shot 37.5 percent overall.
There was a certain looseness to Faust’s game and a distinct absence of the snowball effect that can hamper his productivity, where a few bad shots leads to a few more, which leads to a few more.
“When I’m at my own pace and very under control, that’s when I’m at my best,” Faust said. “Even my teammates tell me that when I’m speedy and, you know, trying to go too fast, it’s usually when I mess up or get myself in trouble.”
But on Tuesday he stayed out of trouble, picking his spots and navigating Maryland through the doldrums of the first half while helping to step on the accelerator and put the game away in the second.
All of that while coming off the bench, something of which he made a point while deflecting credit from himself. His coach approved.
“I thought his passing was great. I thought his defense was great. I thought he looked fresh,” Turgeon said after the game. “I thought Nick looked fresh. He played 32 minutes, made free throws, rebounded, did a lot of good things.”
The question now is consistency for Faust. Around the turn of the new year, it appeared he has turned a corner with a run of good games when the start of ACC play began, but ran into another bout of struggles in February.
Waiting for him next week at Comcast is his boyhood friend from Baltimore, C.J. Fair, and No. 1 Syracuse as Maryland continues to grasp hopes of the postseason.