COLLEGE PARK — The move by Dion Wiley, a between-the-legs dribble followed by a quick step back, created the separation, sending Virginia's Marial Shayok stumbling backwards.
Without hesitation, Wiley rose and drilled a 3-pointer from the wing that helped the Maryland men's basketball team cut into Virginia's lead during the first half of the Terps' eventual loss to the No. 7 Cavaliers on Wednesday.
To Maryland teammate Richaud Pack, Wednesday's game provided the biggest glimpse yet of Wiley's offensive talent.
A 6-foot-4 freshman guard from Potomac, Wiley was rated by ESPN as a four-star recruit and the 52nd-best player in the Class of 2014. While his defense remains a work in progress — Terps coach Mark Turgeon reprimanded him after a defensive lapse in transition Wednesday — Wiley is beginning to show more and more of his scoring ability.
"I'm not sure how much he's improved. I think it's just how comfortable he is because he's always had [the offensive ability] since the first day I met him and came in and worked out with him," Pack said. "He's really talented offensively and can do a lot of things that a young guy usually can't at his age."
After averaging a modest 5.8 points over No. 7 Maryland's first six games, Wiley has been more assertive in the past two. The Oxon Hill native scored 19 points during the Terps' 95-77 win over Virginia Military Institute on Sunday and finished with 12 points against Virginia on Wednesday.
"I was amped coming into the game," Wiley said. "I knew it was a rivalry. I knew there were going to be a lot of people here, so I just tried to not be so nervous."
Wiley finished a contested left-handed layup early despite getting fouled and converted the ensuing free throw, giving Maryland a spark after a 14-4 deficit.
Wiley also hit the step-back 3-pointer and later drilled a contested 3-pointer from the wing over Virginia guard London Perrantes to cut the Terps' deficit to 22-17.
"Obviously, the last game, he had a lot of points. He had 19," Turgeon said. "So now tonight, he hit two big 3s, tough shots when we had nothing really going, and he can do that."
The next step for Wiley, Turgeon explained, is continuing to become more of a presence on defense, where teammates say he has made marked progress since arriving at Maryland. But the freshman had some trouble with Virginia's Malcolm Brogdon and Justin Anderson on Wednesday.
Asked about the biggest challenge in facing Brogdon and Anderson, Wiley said: "Probably their physicality. "They're a little more physical than I am and a little more experienced."
The Terps also are looking for more from Wiley offensively, especially with senior guard Dez Wells sidelined with a fractured wrist.
Hesitant at times during Maryland's first six games, Wiley has been told to be more aggressive.
"We've told him: 'We have the confidence in you to take those shots and make those shots and to be aggressive on offense,' " Terps junior forward Jake Layman said.
Turgeon also wants Wiley to become more of a facilitator, especially with Wells injured.
"I think his next step is defensively getting better and then just helping us, assist-wise, taking some pressure off [point guard Melo Trimble] and getting more ball screens, more in position to make plays, kind of like Dez was doing for us," Turgeon said, later adding, "Dez would get shots for people. Dion's got to give us a little bit of that and just continue to improve defensively."