WASHINGTON – Dez Wells scored a career-high 25 points Sunday, and Maryland overcame 19 turnovers and poor outside shooting to pull away in the final minutes for a 69-62 win over suburban rival George Mason in the BB&T Classic.
The Terrapins (6-1) won despite making only four jump shots — and none in the second half. They rode the inside, penetration and fast-break games of Wells, Nick Faust (14 points) and Alex Len (12) and made 23 of 39 free throws to improve to 8-0 all-time against their neighbors from the Virginia side of Washington, D.C.
Sherrod Wright and Patrick Holloway scored 17 points apiece for the Patriots (5-3). The Colonial Athletic Association school is 4-25 vs. current members of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Maryland's only outside shots to find the net were three jumpers combined from Wells and Faust early in the first half, and a 3-pointer from Wells in the final minute of the half. The game was full of statistical anomalies — George Mason lost despite taking 22 more shots (71-49) and committing 10 fewer turnovers (19-9).
Wells, a sophomore transfer from Xaiver, went 11 for 17 from the field, accounting for half of the Terrapins' field goals. Wright and Holloway combined to go 12 for 24 for the Patriots; the rest of the team was 10 for 47.
The game was a two-man show in the early minutes, with Wells scoring the first eight points for Maryland and Wright the first six for George Mason. Layups, free throws and an alley-oop dunk by Len helped build a 25-18 lead for Maryland, but freshman Holloway made back-to-back 3-pointers and added another jumper as the Patriots cut the Terrapins' lead to 34-30 at the half.
George Mason opened the second half with a 7-0 run in 90 seconds, taking its first lead on Anali Okoloji's 3-pointer. The teams stayed within four points of each other for the next 12 minutes, repeating a game-long pattern of the Terrapins mixing turnovers and inside baskets, and the Colonials offsetting their cold shooting with plucky offensive rebounding.
Len's hook shot put Maryland ahead 55-49 with 6 minutes remaining, and Terrapins did just enough to stay in front the rest of the way. Maryland's final seven points came on free throws.
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