Dez Wells was fantastic on Sunday (US Presswire)
WASHINGTON (AP) - Four months after being expelled from Xavier, Dez Wells is starting to flourish at his new basketball home.
scored a career-high 25 points Sunday, highlighting a bizarre
statistical day for Maryland in a 69-62 win over suburban rival George
Mason in the BB&T Classic.
"Probably the happiest I've been in
my life," said Wells, who accounted for half of Maryland's 22 field
goals. "Xavier's a great place - I have nothing bad to say about those
guys, but I wouldn't rather be anywhere but Maryland right now."
Terrapins (6-1) won despite making only four jump shots - none in the
second half. They rode the inside, penetration and fast-break games of
Wells, Nick Faust (14 points) and Alex Len (12) and made 23 of 39 free
throws to improve to 8-0 all-time against their neighbors from the
Virginia side of Washington, D.C.
A standout freshman at Xavier
last season, Wells was kicked out of the school in August for violating
the school's code of student conduct. A week later, a grand jury has
rejected proposed criminal charges of sexual assault against him, but
the school declined to take him back.
He's now at Maryland, where he has scored 23 and 25 points in back-to-back games.
just feeling more comfortable," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "A
week ago, against Georgia Southern he was about as bad as he could be,
and he just kind of flipped the switch and got real aggressive. ... He's
a smart player. He asks a lot of questions. He asks too many questions
sometimes, but he wants to be good."
Turgeon also joked that Wells
is on pace to set a record for turnovers. Wells committed five Sunday,
giving him 13 in three games.
"It's going to come as we learn each
other a lot more," Wells said. "I've only been there two months with
these guys, so we have a lot of learning to do."
Wells also got
some encouraging words from former high school teammate John Wall, who
was in the building for a practice with the Washington Wizards.
was one of the guys who really helped me when I went through the
situation this summer," Wells said. "He told me to keep my head high,
and God's going to make the way."
On the court, Wells and Faust
combined to make three jump shots early in the first half, and Wells
made a 3-pointer in the final minute of the half. Those were the only
outside shots to find the net for Maryland in the entire game.
just not shooting the ball at the clip that we need to be shooting the
ball at to be a great basketball team," Turgeon said. "We have guys that
can shoot it; we're just not shooting the ball well."
was full of other anomalies. George Mason lost despite taking 22 more
shots (71-49) and committing 10 fewer turnovers (19-9).
Patriots were plagued with poor shot selection, accounting for their
31-percent rate from the field (22 of 71). Sherrod Wright and Patrick
Holloway scored 17 points apiece on combined 12-for-24 shooting for
George Mason (5-3), while the rest of the team went 10 for 47.
"Some of our decision-making, at key times, you can't explain it," George Mason coach Paul Hewitt said.
Colonial Athletic Association school is 4-25 vs. current members of the
Atlantic Coast Conference, but the coach dismissed such numbers in an
era of seemingly daily conference realignments.
independents," Hewitt said. "The conference thing is a joke now. If
you've got 16 teams in a conference, you can't tell the strength of
Maryland led 34-30 at the break, but George Mason
opened the second half with a 7-0 run in 90 seconds, taking its first
lead on Anali Okoloji's 3-pointer. The teams stayed close for the next
12 minutes, but Maryland did just enough to pull away late.
has played in all 18 editions of the annual BB&T Classic, which
raises money for children's charities, but attendance at the event has
waned in recent years. Sunday's game drew 10,256 - leaving the Verizon
Center half-empty - and Turgeon has hinted that the event might not be
in the school's best interest when compiling the nonconference part of
"We'd like to be back," Turgeon said. "But we've also got to take care of Maryland, so we'll see."