No. 20 Maryland goes for 4-0 start vs. George Mason

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No. 20 Maryland opened the season with three wins over five days.

The Terrapins can push it to 4-0 when they host George Mason on Wednesday in College Park, Md.

Maryland has notched victories over Quinnipiac, George Washington and Vermont so far, though it trailed at halftime in the latter two games before mounting comebacks. Eric Ayala and Fatts Russell scored 22 points apiece Saturday to bring the Terrapins back from an early nine-point deficit and beat Vermont, 68-57.

Maryland's defensive effort limited Vermont to 21 second-half points on just 7-of-31 shooting.

"I've been doing this a long time and that last 10 minutes was as good as one of my teams has ever played defensively, and I've had a lot of really good defensive teams," coach Mark Turgeon said.

Turgeon claimed he was "so mad" his assistants scheduled Vermont, which regularly wins conference titles in the America East.

But the game "really helped us," he said afterward. "It's going to make us a much better team."

Turgeon has maintained a starting lineup of Russell, Ayala, Hakim Hart, Donta Scott and Qudus Wahab. The transfer portal pickups of Russell (Rhode Island) and Wahab (Georgetown) thus far have provided exactly what Maryland lacked at point guard and center, respectively.

Wahab led Maryland in scoring in each of its first two games and has averaged 9.7 rebounds, while Russell is the Terrapins' overall leading scorer (16.3 ppg) and does a bit of everything.

"Our coaches kept yelling at me to keep shooting the ball," Russell said following a 7-for-16 performance against Vermont. "When you have coaches like that ... that just gives you confidence as a player. I just love being here, I love our coaching staff. It's tremendous."

George Mason also enters Wednesday's game 3-0 after a trio of blowout victories. The Patriots defeated Stony Brook, Penn and Morgan State by an average margin of 26.7 points, a strong start under first-year coach Kim English.

English, 33, is a head coach for the first time after working as an assistant at Tulsa, Colorado and Tennessee.

"The foundation in this program was laid well before we arrived," English said. "We want to make sure every time we take the court it's about more than just the opponent. We want to play the right way, and that's tough, that's physical, that's taking care of the ball and getting great shots."

Josh Oduro leads George Mason with 19.3 points per game on 71.4 percent shooting while also averaging 6.3 rebounds. Graduate transfer D'Shawn Schwartz from Colorado, averaging 15.3 points, knocked down four 3-pointers in Sunday's 90-53 rout of Morgan State. The Patriots went 15-for-33 from 3-point range in that win.

Maryland leads the all-time series 9-0 over George Mason, which was picked to finish just eighth in the Atlantic 10 Conference preseason poll.

The Terrapins are one of five Big Ten teams ranked in the Top 25 this week; Michigan, Purdue, Illinois, Ohio State and Maryland are a combined 11-0 so far.

--Field Level Media