The Teams: Maryland Terrapins (6-1) vs Maryland Eastern Shore (0-7)
The Time: 7 PM ET
The Place: Comcast Center. College Park, Maryland.
TV, Radio: ESPN3 (Internet/TV), 980 AM, 1300 AM, 105.7 FM
The Maryland Terrapins men’s basketball team takes on an in-state opponent tonight in their sister school, Maryland – Eastern Shore, in what is more than likely their easiest game of the season. The UMES Hawks come into this game looking for their first win of the season at 0-7, having lost their most recent game Saturday against the Delaware State Hornets 76-66. As a whole, the team is struggling in every aspect of the game, ranking 309th or worse nationally in points, rebounds, assists, and field goal percentage on the year. To say nothing is going right would be an understatement for this team, and playing against Maryland will be no different.
The Hawks leading scorer, 6’2 guard Kyree Jones, is averaging 14.3 points on the season and over half of his shots are three pointers. The problem is, he’s only hitting 28% of them from the floor despite shooting over 6 a game. Their next best player, Troy Snyder (a 6’6 junior forward who transferred from the Green Bay Phoenix), is averaging 11 points and 6 rebounds on the year. Unfortunately again, he is also a terrible shooter who hits only 26% of the five three pointers he attempts a game. This team is bad, folks. They may be the worst team Maryland faces all year.
Meanwhile the Terrapins are fresh off an ugly win against George Mason on Sunday at the Verizon Center. In a game that saw the Terrapins turn the ball over 19 times yet come out with a win, Maryland is going to be looking forward to playing an easier opponent that can help them fine tune some of the aspects of their game. They may also be hoping for yet another stellar performance from sophomore Dez Wells, who scored a career high 25 in the win and has averaged 24 points over the last two games. Wells seems to be hitting his stride and could potentially emerge as the best scorer on the Terrapins if he keeps it up.
So without further ado, here are the keys to the game:
1.) Can Maryland hold onto the ball?
Maryland is eight in the nation in assists per game at exactly 18 on average, meaning they move the ball with much aplomb every game. And yet, all that confidence in their passing ability leads to the numerous turnovers that consistently make life hard on the Terrapins. Against George Mason, it was almost a damning fault as they allowed a clearly overmatched team to hang on late into the game because they failed to execute correctly. That’s not what a top 25 team does.
Fortunately for them, they are going to have every chance in the world to play cleanly and effectively against the Hawks, who are going to have their hands full. Maryland can make their job easier by turning the ball over a ton and giving the Hawks 20 more shots than they should have gotten. If Maryland can keep themselves from turning it over a lot, the game will be theirs early.
2.) Can Dez keep scoring?
Wells was the main reason Maryland won the game against George Mason, straight up. He scored in bunches whenever the Terrapins lost momentum thanks to his ability to get to the basket at will against almost anyone. The Hawks have absolutely no one who can match up well with Dez Wells, and he may be able to keep his incredible scoring streak up if coach Mark Turgeon doesn’t limit his minutes once the game gets out of hand (IF the game gets out of hand). Maryland has been looking for a player to complement Alex Len in the scoring department, instead using a points by committee approach.
If Dez Wells takes command of the offense and becomes their premier scorer alongside Len, then the Terrapins will be a better team come ACC play. Having two scorers is always better than one.
Prediction: Maryland takes this one big time in a 20 point victory over the Hawks.