Guard Darryl Morsell was grinning before he even hit the ground after dunking to put the Maryland men's basketball team up 10 over Butler with about six minutes left Wednesday night.
Compared to some of his teammates, the freshman's celebration of his steal-and-score was quite delayed.
As Morsell dribbled across midcourt, glancing over his shoulder to make sure he was as isolated as he felt, guard Kevin Huerter raised both arms in the air and pointed skyward. Center Michal Cekovsky pumped up the crowd.
Though Morsell opted against a 360 dunk due to being winded, the flush was the exclamation point on a game when the Terps, led by their fiery freshman duo of Morsell and forward Bruno Fernando, frequently had outbursts of emotion en route to their first win over a respectable opponent.
"We came in together [and] this was the first big game," Morsell said. "We kind of talked to each other and said, 'Let's show everybody why we're here.'"
At media day before the season began, after the team gushed over Fernando's energy, Fernando was asked what his first time playing in front of the Xfinity Center crowd would be like. The forward let out a sly smile. "It will be crazy," he said.
Wednesday was Maryland's first game in front of a full home arena — an announced attendance of 16,317, almost 3,000 more than Sunday's home-opener — and Fernando wasted little time making good on his promise.
Midway through the first half, the Angolan received a pass from Morsell in transition and performed a spin-move lay up. As he retreated onto defense, he clapped three times and raised his arms to the crowd. He drew an offensive foul on that possession and let out two massive fist pumps, again motioning for the Terps fans to stand up.
Morsell said Fernando has almost as much spirit in practice.
"I don't know how much more energy he could get," Morsell said. "He's a very energetic individual."
For his part, Morsell also plays with a high-octane style. He jawed with Butler players on multiple occasions, beginning after his transition block on Bulldogs guard Kamar Baldwin with under seven minutes left in the first half.
"When I got the block, the crowd got into it," Morsell said. "I was just playing with emotion."
Morsell and Fernando feed off moments like that. Other examples included when Morsell flexed after finishing a layup through contact late in the first half and when Fernando contested a Bulldogs dunk and forced it to rim out in the second half.
"Darryl's my guy, and I love playing with him," Fernando said. "Once I see him getting going, it's definitely going to touch me, motivate me to also get it going, and [vice-versa.]"
Wednesday, the duo provided each other and the crowd with plenty of opportunities to get hyped, and as guard Anthony Cowan dribbled out the last Terps possession, Fernando rose one more time from the bench and pleaded for more noise from Maryland faithful.
"This is why I put in all the hard work and everything," Morsell said, "to shine in the bright lights."