The malaise – if that’s the word – that seemed to grip the Maryland Terps in their dreary 80-69 loss to Virginia Sunday at Comcast Center even extended to Dez Wells.
The sophomore swingman finished with 13 points, but was held to just two in the first half. And he didn’t seem to be nearly as aggressive in looking for his shot.
With sophomore big man Alex Len struggling against Virginia double-teams all game long, the Terps needed Wells to come up big and fill the scoring void, and it just didn’t happen.
As with Len, Wells has been an inconsistent scoring threat at times. He’s second on the team in scoring (12 points per game) and has had some memorable outings, mainly in ACC road games. He dropped 19 points on Florida State in Tallahassee, 21 against North Carolina at Chapel Hill and 18 against Miami at Miami. So he practically carried Maryland in those three losses.
But at Comcast Center, he’s struggled to put the ball in the basket at times. He scored only eight points in the Terps’ 60-55 win over Virginia Tech last week, five points in their 64-59 win over Boston College, four points in their win over North Carolina State and five points in their 65-62 loss to Florida State.
In his best games for the Terps, Wells drives hard to the basket and uses his athleticism to score and draw fouls. But he’s also shown an ability to pull up and hit silky-smooth jump shots over even the tallest defenders. So it’s puzzling to see him go into a funk as he did Sunday against the Cavaliers, and as he’s done in other games.
If Len isn’t getting it done inside, someone else has to score. And that someone should be Wells, who is easily the best all-around player the Terps have and one of the few who can create his own shot.
With No. 1-ranked Duke coming into Comcast Center for a nationally televised Saturday night game, Maryland need to find a way to get both Len and Wells going early.
Or else it’s going to be a long, long night for Mark Turgeon and his team.