Playing for the first time in 16 days, Maryland needed a half to knock off the rust Tuesday night before pulling away from Lehigh.
But late in the 76-55 win, just as the Terrapins were ready to breathe easy, Fatts Russell needed to be helped off the floor after banging knees with an opponent. His uncertain status casts a shadow over a quick-turnaround game Thursday night when Maryland (7-4) hosts Brown (8-6) in College Park, Md.
“I’m not a doctor,” Maryland interim coach Danny Manning said. “We’ll get him evaluated and go from there.”
Russell’s availability is essential for a team that has few options at the point. The grad transfer from Rhode Island arrived this season to fill a desperate need for the Terps.
“I depend on Fatts a lot. I need him,” said Maryland’s top scorer Eric Ayala (14.3 points per game). “I know he had a little knee thing earlier in practice, but he’s been playing through it. He’s definitely important to us.”
As the primary ball handler, Russell averages 11.8 points and a team-high 3.5 assists per game while keying Manning’s focus on paint touches with his penetration and entry passing.
Brown, meantime, had second-half leads against power conference teams North Carolina and Colorado before falling. Monday night, after a 16-day holiday break, the Bears hung with Syracuse for a half before taking a hard fall, 93-62.
Freshman Kino Lilly Jr. has had an immediate impact, leading Brown in scoring (12.4 points per game), assists (2.5) and steals (1.5). Thursday will be a homecoming of sorts. He grew up 10 miles away in Glenn Dale, Md.
The Bears also depend on Paxson Wojcik (10.4 points) and Tamenang Choh (9.9 points, 7.6 rebounds).
“It’s a team full of competitors and guys with an edge,” Brown’s 10-year coach Mike Martin said. “We think we can compete with most people in most places.”
–Field Level Media