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Maryland putting pieces together, hosts Western Carolina

Mar 10, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Maryland Terrapins forward Donta Scott (24) controls the ball the ball while Michigan State Spartans forward Joey Hauser (10) defends in the second half at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland had lots of good going for it to open the season under new coach Kevin Willard.

The best part for the Terrapins might be what’s to come.

The next step comes Thursday night at home against Western Carolina.

“It has been a crazy seven months to put together this roster and get these guys playing,” Willard said. “We’re not close to being good yet, but to get them playing as hard as they’re playing and as unselfish as they’re playing, I’m proud of this staff and proud of these guys.”

Donta Scott began his senior season for Maryland with an 18-point outing as the Terrapins (1-0) opened the Willard era by defeating Niagara on Monday night.

“Donta is going to be an 18-and-10 player,” Willard said. “(Playing) 35 minutes is probably way too many minutes in his first game, but he has earned it from his career here.”

The Terrapins have newcomers ready to help. Jahmir Young, a transfer from Charlotte, had 14 points in his first game for Maryland.

“It was exciting,” Young said. “It was fun. My whole family came out.”

With a roster stacked with transfers, it’s going to take time for the Terrapins to discover a rhythm. So that’s why each game is crucial to try to get up to speed.

“We know that defense wins games and we had to step up and do it on the defensive end,” Scott said of stretches in the opening game.

Young is the leading player on the roster in terms of career points, with 1,435. Scott is closing in on 1,000 as he has 944.

Western Carolina (0-1) had encouraging moments in its first game before falling 68-55 at Georgia Monday night.

“We talk about the season as a journey,” second-year coach Justin Gray said. “We need to show some growth the next time we go out there and play.”

Gray was familiar with the Terrapins from his playing days at Wake Forest, with Maryland a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference at the time.

The chance to play against major college opponents could be a boost for the Catamounts.

“Our guys came to Western Carolina for the opportunity,” Gray said. “There is opportunity there.”

–Field Level Media