Wednesday, March 12, 2014 3:54 AM
Published on: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
By Brandy L. Simms
The Maryland men’s basketball team opened the 2012-2013 campaign Friday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn before a sold-out crowd and a national television audience.
Maryland sophomore center Alex Len had a career-high 23 points and 12 rebounds in the Terrapins’ 72-69 loss to Kentucky in the Barclays Center Classic.
Maryland struggled in the first half and trailed by as many as 15 points. The Terrapins finished 13 of 44 (29.5 percent) and missed all 11 3-point attempts.
“We weren’t very good in the first half, and I thought Kentucky was great,” Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon said. “We weren’t ready for the big stage, but in the second half we executed better.”
Maryland sophomore guard Nick Faust finished with 11 points, and senior forward James Padgett, a Brooklyn native, added 10 points.
Meanwhile, Kentucky sophomore Kyle Wiltjer led three Wildcats in double figures with 19 points. Freshman Archie Goodwin added 16 points and junior guard Jarrod Polson finished with 10 points.
Kentucky’s highly-touted freshmen class included Goodwin, Alex Poythress (8 points) and Nerlens Noel (4 points), but Polson’s performance came as a surprise to many.
“We weren’t thinking about him,” Turgeon said. “Then he was the whole key to the game.”
Polson’s hustle play and game-clinching free throws helped the Wildcats hold off the Terrapins. Kentucky improved to 90-19 in season openers while Maryland had its streak of 10 straight season-opening wins snapped in the loss.
“I was just waiting on the opportunity with [starting guard] Ryan [Harrow] feeling a little sick with the flu,” Polson said. “I focused in on practice and was just trying to run the team as best as I could.”