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Maryland basketball 'is a top-25 team,' Fordham coach says

Fordham guard Bryan Smith fouls Maryland guard Dez Wells as he drives into the paint during the first half.
Fordham guard Bryan Smith fouls Maryland guard Dez Wells as he drives into the paint during the first half. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

COLLEGE PARK — In preparation for Thursday's game against Maryland, Fordham coach Tom Pecora watched and evaluated game tape of the Terps from last season as well as from Maryland's first two games of this year.

At one point Thursday, Pecora saw a couple Maryland fans that he knows. His message to them: "This is a top-25 team."

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"I think [that] because of their depth, their ability to shoot the basketball," Pecora said. "They've got great size, and I know [coach Mark Turgeon] well enough to know they're going to get better."

While the Terps led just 23-18 at halftime against Fordham before pulling away for 66-50 win, Maryland is 3-0 heading into Monday's game against Arizona State (3-0).

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Senior guard Dez Wells is averaging 17.7 points per game. Junior forward Jake Layman is averaging 14 points per game, and the Terps are shooting 52 percent from the field and 42 percent on 3-pointers after shooting just 43 percent on field goals and 34 percent on 3s on their way to finishing 17-15 last season.

Maryland is also getting contributions from newcomers.

Senior transfer Richaud Pack is averaging 8.3 points, six rebounds and three assists per game, and freshmen Melo Trimble, Michal Cekovsky, Jared Nickens and Dion Wiley have all had positive and encouraging moments.

Nickens led the Terps with 13 points against Fordham while the 7-foot Cekovsky had six points, five rebounds and was a presence around the basket defensively.

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"I think they cleaned house a little bit," Pecora said. "A couple guys graduated I think. I just think the young guys who are here, especially Trimble, he's good. He's really good. And when you start with a point guard that has that kind of skill set, I think the sky is the limit. You've got a wing scorer [Dez Wells] that can really put the ball in the basket and then the big guys. You've got stretch 4s. You've got power guys around the basket. You've got length. So I never thought I'd say it, but Maryland looks like a good Big Ten team."

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