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Galin Smith leads balanced attack with career-high 12 points as Maryland manhandles Navy, 82-52

COLLEGE PARK — Galin Smith wasn’t much of a scorer during his three-year career at Alabama. The 6-foot-9, 235-pound power forward averaged just over three points in 94 career games for the Crimson Tide.

In his Maryland debut Wednesday, Smith gave no indication he would become more of an offensive threat during his lone season in College Park. The graduate transfer scored six points on 3-for-5 field goal shooting during the opener against Old Dominion.

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Smith showed he might be able to provide the inside scoring the Terps so desperately need in his second start. The Mississippi native notched a career-high 12 points on 6-for-6 field goal shooting to lead a balanced attack as Maryland manhandled Navy, 82-52, at Xfinity Center.

Smith used his beefy frame, strength and power to repeatedly get position in the low post, then finished with an array of jump hooks and drop-step moves. Coach Mark Turgeon ran the first play of the game for Smith, who backed down Navy forward Richard Njoku and finished with a half hook.

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“Galin had a really solid game. It was good to see him play well,” Turgeon said. “Galin is better than we thought when we signed him and continues to get better.”

Smith, who surpassed his previous career-high of 11 points early in the second half, is most noted for his defense and rebounding. The Terps can only hope he becomes an interior threat and helps make up for the loss of power forward Jalen Smith, who averaged 15.5 points a year ago.

Turgeon said he’s hopeful Galin Smith and 7-foot-2 sophomore center Chol Marial can give Maryland 12 to 16 points per game. Navy was undersized with 6-foot-6 sophomore Tyler Nelson playing the four spot, so Maryland knew it had a mismatch with either Smith or sophomore Donta Scott (6-7, 230).

“That was our focus today — get the ball into the paint and make plays,” Maryland senior guard Darryl Morsell said. “It’s great playing with a big man that plays hard. I enjoy feeding him and getting him some buckets.”

Navy coach Ed DeChellis acknowledged the size disparity across the board caused problems, pointing out that Maryland scored 42 points in the paint. “That’s a lot of points. They killed us inside. We had no answers for them,” he said.

Turgeon once again used a 10-man rotation, usually substituting five players at a time, and almost everyone contributed. Morsell was the catalyst early, scoring 11 of his 15 points in the first half. Junior swingman Aaron Wiggins got hot late, scoring all 14 of his points in the final 11:21 of the second half on 5-for-5 shooting.

Wiggins credited Smith’s interior scoring with creating open shots for the perimeter players and said the big man has shown that ability during practice.

“Having a solid post presence definitely opens up the court a lot,” Wiggins said. “He’s a very solid player with his skill work in the post and ability to finish through contact. He’s got such a soft touch and has proven he can finish on a consistent basis.”

Junior point guard Eric Ayala added 15 points and six assists for Maryland (2-0), which shot 68% (30-for-44) from the field. That was the best field goal shooting percentage for the Terps since Jan. 28, 1986 when they connected on 73.9% in a victory over Wake Forest.

Wiggins attempted just two shots in the first half but was effective as a passer and finished with a career-high six assists. Morsell chipped in four helpers for the Terps, who had assists on 21 of 30 field goals.

Sophomore guard Hakim Hart (11 points) was the fifth player in double figures for Maryland, which outscored Navy 50-27 in the second half while shooting 75%t (18-for-25) from the field.

Senior point guard Cam Davis scored 10 points to lead Navy (1-1), which has now lost 12 straight meetings with Maryland dating back to 1970. He was the lone player in double digits for the Midshipmen, who got seven points apiece from junior swingman John Carter Jr. and senior forward Luke Loehr.

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DeChellis challenged his players to respond to Maryland’s physicality and was disappointed it did not happen.

“I thought we had to be a really physical team tonight and I don’t think they were,” DeChellis said. “They got into us defensively and made everything really hard because of their speed and their quickness. We don’t see that type of length and the physicality, and it made it difficult for us to run our offense.”

Navy hung with the home team for about 12 minutes, matching Maryland basket for basket in the early going. There were eight ties and three lead changes with the last coming at 20-20 after Davis made a pullup jumper in the lane at the 8:08 mark.

Smith scored off a pair of low-post power moves to spark a 10-0 run that put the Terps in control. The Midshipmen had a five-minute scoring drought during that critical stretch.

Smith threw down a thunderous two-hand dunk in between a pair of 3-pointers by Ayala as Maryland opened the second half with a 15-5 run to grow the advantage to 17 points. Wiggins followed with a personal 8-0 run that featured a couple 3-pointers and the rout was on.

“Our energy level in the second half was just terrific. At the start of the second half, that’s when we separated ourselves. We started making shots and our defensive was at a high level,” Turgeon said. “I thought for 40 minutes we were really, really good defensively. We didn’t make a lot of mistakes.”

Navy will play its third game in four days when it meets Mount St. Mary’s on Saturday (3 p.m.) at Xfinity Center. Maryland plays Mount St. Mary’s (2 p.m.) to conclude the multiple-team event.

NAVY VS. MT. ST. MARY’S

at Xfinity Center

Saturday, 3 p.m.

Radio: 1430 AM

MT. ST. MARY’S@MARYLAND

Sunday, 2 p.m.

TV: BTN Radio: 105.7 FM

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