Florida Atlantic (3-7) at Maryland (7-4)
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 14, 2 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Comcast Center (17,950) -- College Park, Maryland. Television: STO, NESN, MSG+, ROOT-PIT. Home Record: FAU 3-1, UM 3-1. Away Record: FAU 0-4, UM 1-1. Neutral Record: FAU 0-2, UM 3-2. Conference Record: FAU 0-0, UM 1-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Maryland Terrapins kick off a lengthy homestand on Saturday afternoon when they welcome the Florida Atlantic Owls to the Comcast Center for a non-league clash.
FAU enters the contest looking to get back into the win column after having a two-game win streak snapped in Thursday's 81-70 setback at DePaul. That game was the first of three straight on the road for the Owls, who are still in search of their first win away from home and will next visit Stetson on Tuesday.
Maryland was also in action Thursday night as it opened up its Atlantic Coast Conference schedule with an 88-80 win at Boston College. The victory snapped a two-game slide for the Terrapins, who will now play five straight at home leading into the New Year.
This marks the first-ever meeting between these two programs.
FAU was leading DePaul by a 33-26 margin late in the first half of Thursday's matchup. However, the Blue Demons closed out the half on a 12-4 run, which included a putback at the buzzer, to take a 38-37 lead into the break. The Owls were never able to regain the lead in the second stanza, as they allowed DePaul to shoot 59.3 percent from the floor over the final minutes. Pablo Bertone poured in a game-high 30 points in the loss, while Jackson Trapp scored 17. Justin Raffington finished with nine points and a dozen rebounds, although FAU was out-rebounded as a team, 38-29. On the season, Bertone is averaging 20.0 points per game, which ranks third in Conference USA. Trapp is also averaging double figures, with 11.2 ppg.
The Terrapins boast three double-digit scorers, led by Dez Wells with 15.8 ppg. Jake Layman (14.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and Evan Smotrycz (13.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg) are next in line, and that duo has combined to shoot a healthy 44 percent (47- of-108) from 3-point range this season. While Maryland has certainly had its ups and downs thus far in the 2013-14 campaign, the team is +7.5 in scoring margin and +6.5 on the boards, the latter of which figures to present a matchup problem for FAU. In their road win over BC two nights ago, the Terps shot better than 50 percent from the floor in each half and finished at 55.2 percent for the game. Wells led all scorers with 33 points to pace four Terps in double figures.
While these teams may not be familiar with each other, Maryland gets to play this one in the familiar confines of the Comcast Center against an FAU squad that is winless in six tries away from home this season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Maryland 85, Florida Atlantic 74
12/14 10:39:02 ET