Damonte Dodd battles Rutgers' Greg Lewis for a rebound during the first half Tuesday night.
Damonte Dodd battles Rutgers' Greg Lewis for a rebound during the first half Tuesday night. (Rich Schultz, Getty Images)

Maryland sophomore center Damonte Dodd admittedly had lost confidence during a nine-game stretch in which he committed the same number of fouls (33) as points he scored.

Freshman shooting guard Dion Wiley came into Tuesday's game at Rutgers having not scored a basket in five straight games while playing a total of 23 minutes.


Coach Mark Turgeon said he didn't lose confidence in either player, and he demonstrated it by keeping Dodd in the starting lineup and Wiley on the floor for the entire practice Monday.

Both players showed Turgeon's faith was well placed in a 60-50 victory for the 10th-ranked Terps at the Rutgers athletic center. Dodd had six points, four rebounds and two blocks in 18 minutes. Wiley hit his first two shots, including a 3-pointer, and finished with five points and four rebounds in nine minutes.

"It was great to see him make some shots," Turgeon said of Wiley, who had made just four of his previous 20 from the field. "I keep saying, people are going to help us. Checko [freshman center Michal Cekovsky] did in the Wisconsin game. Dion helps us get a lead right before half."

Dodd helped close out the game after Rutgers had erased a 11-point deficit to tie the score at 45 with a little over six minutes left. After a short jumper, two free throws and a steal and dunk by senior guard Dez Wells (20 points, 10 rebounds) gave the Terps the lead for good, Dodd stretched the lead back to eight when he dunked off a nice feed from senior guard Richaud Pack.

It marked the first time Dodd had scored at least six points in a game since tying his career-high of nine against Minnesota on Jan. 3. It was also only the second time in 11 games that he blocked at least two shots and pulled down at least four rebounds.

One of the keys for Dodd was staying out of foul trouble. He didn't pick up his first personal until 6:16 left in the first half, after he had already scored his first two baskets.

"I was just trying to focus on staying out of foul trouble," Dodd said. "One time I realized I wasn't in foul trouble and I said, 'Man, you can just play freely, I can play my game.' It meant a lot that he kept me in the game."

Though he picked up his third foul in the opening minute of the second half and sat for a large chunk during Rutgers' comeback, his return helped cut down second chances for the Scarlet Knights toward the end.

"My biggest thing when I got back in was I tried to clog up the lane so they can see me back in there so they wouldn't even think about going in and attacking and trying to get rebounds," Dodd said. "I did my job boxing my man out. I think it helped us out a lot."

Dodd's contribution came on a night when Maryland was without Cekovsky, who was kept at home after bruising his knee Saturday. Wiley's points helped on a night when fellow freshman Jared Nickens, normally the team's biggest offensive boost off the bench this season, missed all four shots he took.

"That's how this team is built," said junior forward Jake Layman, who finished with 14 points. "If one guy is not playing well, other guys step up."

Recommended on Baltimore Sun