Editor’s note: This article was written by another staff member, Chris Bengel. Be sure to follow him on Twitter @DurtyPuckhead whenever you get the chance.
Monmouth is a member of the Northeast Conference and sitting in 4th place with a 5-5 mark. Their keys wins include Lafayette, Binghamton, and Hofstra and have lost to national powers Syracuse and Notre Dame by considerable margins. In four of their five losses, the Hawks have lost by double digits. This is yet another home game that Maryland should thrive in. Alex Len should be able to record a double-double in limited minutes and the freshmen should gain prime experience as ACC conference play inches closer.
The Teams: Monmouth Hawks (5-5) vs. Maryland Terrapins (8-1)
The Time: 8:00 PM
The Place: Comcast Center – College Park, Maryland
Television/Radio: ESPN3 (Internet) and ESPN 980/92.7 FM (Radio)
Monmouth Player to Watch: Andrew Nicholas
Nicholas is the straw that stirs the drink for the Hawks. The Wrightsville, Pa. native is Monmouth’s only double-digit scorer and has played very well throughout most of this season. Nicholas is averaging 14.6 ppg to go along with 4.0 rpg and 1.7 steals. The sophomore guard has scored in double figures in seven of the 10 contests. Nicholas has only scored over 20 points once, which came in a 28-point effort in a season-opening blowout win over Hofstra.
Maryland Terrapins Player to Watch: Seth Allen
With Mark Turgeon shuffling the starting lineup and giving the freshmen more minutes, Allen is a player to keep an eye on. The Woodbridge, Va. native hasn’t been lighting it up in the scoring column but has displayed strong point guard skills. Allen has dished out 13 assists in the Terrapins’ last two wins against Maryland-Eastern Shore and South Carolina State. The Fredericksburg Christian School product is currently enjoying a nice freshman campaign as he is averaging 6.3 ppg and 3.8 apg. It is very likely that Allen will earn a spot in the starting lineup as Turgeon recently said that Allen just had his best week of practice.
Underlying Storyline: Which freshman will have the strongest game?
With such a stellar freshmen class coming in for the 2012-2013 season, each of the Terrapins freshmen have shown flashes of supreme talent. One night Seth Allen looks primed to take the ACC by storm and on another, Charles Mitchell shows shades of Len Elmore and is a double-double machine. Despite a tough start, Shaq Cleare has played well as of late. In his last two games, Cleare is averaging 10 ppg to go along with 5.5 rpg in about 19 minutes-per-game. Jake Layman could also make an impact. The Massachusetts native has been receiving more playing time after only playing a mere three minutes against Northwestern on Nov. 27. Against Maryland- Eastern Shore last week, Layman had his best game of the season as he scored 10 points and grabbed four rebounds in a blowout win for the Terrapins.
No matter who Maryland’s starting five consists of, the Terrapins will prove to be too much for Monmouth. Maryland will control the game from the very beginning in a 72-54 victory.