Nick Faust played just five minutes in the Maryland basketball team’s ACC opener against Virginia Tech on Saturday. He was limited in practice throughout the week with back spasms, which resurfaced once Faust checked in off the bench, causing an early trip into the locker room and an absentee second half from the sophomore swingman.
In Faust’s stead, freshman Jake Layman broke out with a career-high 20 points, including 18 in the first half, to pace the Terps in a 94-71 blowout. But Coach Mark Turgeon expects Faust to return for Wednesday’s matchup versus Florida State, saying on the weekly ACC coaches teleconference that he would be “shocked” if Faust didn’t play.
Faust was given Sunday and Monday off, but should return for Maryland’s two-a-day practice on Tuesday. Turgeon said Faust did some stationary bicycle conditioning during Monday’s practice, adding that the injury has “become more than I anticipated.”
“I think Nick never really gets out of shape,” Turgeon said. “I’ll know more tomorrow when we practice, because the doctors advised us to give him today off. So we did … I expect him tomorrow to go full-tilt and be ready to go Wednesday. Might answer that question differently during media tomorrow.”
Faust, who has started 12 of 14 games for the Terps this season, ranks third on the team with 9.1 points per game, though he’s shooting just 38.9 percent from the field and .275 from three-point range. He’s also tied for third with 41 assists this season.
>> The latest Associated Press top 25 poll will be released later on Monday, so of course Turgeon would be asked about Maryland’s status within the national rankings.
”We’re as good as our record, because that’s just who you are,” he said. “I don’t care about the ranking stuff. We’ve got plenty of time to prove ourselves on that. We have a tough league schedule ahead of us, a lot of good teams a couple times on our schedule. I don’t worry about that. We took care of our schedule. You see teams lose games that they should win. We didn’t do that. We took care of that, and most importantly we had young guys get better. They played with a lot of confidence on Saturday.”
Fair enough. Check back later to see if the Terps crack the top 25.
>> Some quick Turgeon quotes on Layman:
“He came back with more confidence, practiced well, played the first game back ,got an opportunity Saturday, hit his first shot, couple put-backs,” Turgeon said. “More importantly he’s gotten better defensively. That’s the key. Early in the year he was a liability there. Now he’s not. He uses his length and speed to be a good defender, becoming a better rebounder. He’s gotten tougher.”
And then this…
“Going forward I don’t think Jake’s going to get 20 a game, but I think he’s capable of getting 20 a game. We’re happy. He’s a great shooter coming out of high school. We expect him to make shots and he did on Saturday.”