The Terps struggled against a determined Fairfield squad early on, but were able to pull away in the second half to defeat the Stags 71-42.
Maryland (2-0) was initially plagued by turnovers, turning the ball over nine times in the first half. The sloppy Terps regrouped at the break and took care of the ball to cruise past Fairfield (2-1) using high-pressure defense. The Terps defense was able to force 25 turnovers against the Stags while only giving up 42 points.
I think we did a great job holding a team to 42 points in a whole 40 minutes. It definitely shows a lot of heart on the defensive side, Sophomore Sean Mosley said.
Maryland was also able to win the rebound battle 41-36, which was a question mark entering the game.
The Terps, who lead by just 8 at the midway point, were guided by the solid play of Senior Eric Hayes. Hayes led the Terps with 10 points (2-3 from 3-point range) at the half and showed his leadership by controlling the ball and calming the play.
I thought [Eric] really played well, said Maryland Coach Gary Williams, he showed a certain toughness out there tonight he looked very calm when things weren't calm when he had the ball. The senior guard finished the game with a team-high 14 points.
Hayes, one of the three senior captains on Maryland, had to pick up the slack of fellow captain Greivis Vasquez who continues to search for his shot. Vasquez shot just 3-11 and finished with only 7 points total. In the first two games combined, the preseason All-ACC player has struggled to find his mark shooting only 24% from the field.
Other Terps able to pick up the slack are senior forward Landon Milbourne and guard Sean Mosley. Milbourne had a strong performance with 10 points and 8 boards, while Mosley continued his accurate shooting going 4-7 from the field.
Fairfield's leading scorer Derek Needham came into the game averaging 16.5 points in two games and started off strong accumulating 7 of the Stags first 12 points. From that point on, Maryland's defense was able to control the freshman guard and hold him to 15 points total.
Needham was not the only newcomer to have an impact in the game.
Maryland Freshmen James Padgett and Jordan Williams had to play a lot of minutes due to the lack of depth down low, accumulating 41 minutes between the two of them. Williams followed his impressive debut against Charleston Southern with a modest 6 points and 5 rebounds. His freshman roommate, James Padgett, also contributed 6 points and 7 rebounds of his own.
The two young freshmen were forced to play big minutes with the absence of center Steve Goins to injury and power forward Dino Gregory due to suspension. It is unsure when either of the two will be back, so the Terps will have to continue using a four guard line-up while rotating the two freshman in down low.
Not to go unnoticed, senior Landon Milbourne was able to contribute 10 points while grabbing 8 rebounds. Sean Mosley continues to be an accurate shooter early in the season as he shot 4-7 in this game finishing with 13 points.
Maryland has two days to fine tune before they play another home game against New Hampshire on Friday.