“I was able to get to the rim and get a finish before half,” he said. “Even if I miss 10 in a row, I think I’m going to make the next 10.. I’m going to keep shooting even if I’m not hitting.”

Told that the beach time and the sunburn might have helped him, Smotrycz smiled.

"Don’t worry, tomorrow I’ll be carmelized and looking good,” he said.


IN THE NICK OF TIME

Junior guard Nick Faust (City) took a lot of criticism after the Terps lost the season opener to Connecticut by a point at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Though he led Maryland in scoring with 17 points – one off his career high – he missed 13 of 18 shots he tried, including seven of 10 on 3-point shots. Faust also took some heat when Oregon State guard Roberto Nelson went off for 31 points last week.

If he plays as well as he did against Northern Iowa, minus a stretch of late turnovers, Maryland should have a good chance of winning tonight's final. He tied his season high of 17 points and needed only 11 shots. He would have scored more if he didn’t miss a couple of tomahawk dunks.

Defensively, he was largely responsible for forcing Panthers guard Matt Bohannon, who had lit up Loyola Marymount in the opening round Friday, to miss eight of the 10 shots he attempted, all 3-pointers. It led to high praise from Turgeon.

“I don’t know if it’s his best game since he’s been to Maryland but it’s close,” Turgeon said of Faust. “He made some shots [shooting six of 11], he made good decisions, he made two bad decisions later, we talked about it.  Defensively he really locked in and tried to guard as best he could. Nick’s growing up, maturing.”


MIDNIGHT MADNESS

Tonight's tournament final tips off at 10 p.m. (11 p.m. St. Thomas time). Turgeon couldn’t recall starting a game that late.

“The good thing is that we need the time to recover,” he said after Sunday's game. “It’s going to be a long day. Hopefully we’ll let the players sleep in and we can get our meals in. That’s why I hired coach Kyle [Tarp, the director of basketball performance]. He’s the best. It’s up to him to get our guys physically ready to play.”

I wonder if he can get a writer ready to work well past his bedtime.

Just sayin'.

don.markus@baltsun.com