Fourteen turnovers; the story of the first half of last night’s 71-38 win over the Hawks of Monmouth University was the Terps inability to take care of the basketball.
Despite being completely careless with the basketball in those first 20 minutes the Terrapins still enjoyed a ten point cushion at the half. Luckily, Maryland had this sort of performance against a team that was totally outmatched from the jump otherwise the Terrapins would have found themselves in a world of hurt were they going against an ACC opponent instead of Monmouth.
The Terrapins had a major size advantage over the Hawks all night long and because of this Maryland was, once again, able to hold a commanding lead in rebounding as they pulled down 16 more boards than the Hawks (43-27). This size advantage certainly played a role in the Hawks woeful shooting percentage on the night as well, 14-68 (20.6%), as the length of the Maryland defenders forced Monmouth to take contested shots the bulk of the night. Another indicator of how the length of the Terrapins affected the Hawks can be seen in the number of blocked shots Maryland had. The Terps swatted nine of the Hawks attempts last night including a career high of five blocks from Alex Len.
As sloppy as Maryland was in the first half, they held a lead as they were able to shoot 62% from the field when they didn’t give the ball away to the Hawks. For the game the Terps shot 25-43 converting on 58.1% of their attempts. Every single Maryland starter shot 50% or better from the field as they were led by Nick Faust who scored 16 points on 5-10 shooting. Alex Len had another monster game for Maryland contributing 14 points (5-6 from the floor), 10 rebounds and 5 blocks for the Terrapins as they won their ninth straight game and their seventh straight from the friendly confines of the Comcast Center.
It was a rough night for the freshmen as Charles Mitchell, Seth Allen, Jake Layman (who had some academic issues stemming from missing a study hall session and, as a result, was benched for the first half) and Shaq Cleare really did not contribute much for the Terps. Together, the four freshmen combined for only 9 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 8 turnovers, led by Allen who gave the ball away 7 times on his own. These types of performances can be expected from freshmen at times during their first season playing college basketball but hopefully for Maryland’s sake there isn’t another night where all four are as off as they were against Monmouth last night.
The saving grace for the Terps last night was that in the second half of the game they took care of the ball better and completely locked down the Hawks on defense, allowing only 17 points in the final 20 minutes of action. Coach Turgeon will certainly be pleased with the effort on that end of the floor as the Terps held an opponent under 40 points in a game for the first time since doing it to Penn State on 12/1/2010. If the Terps can get this turnover bug figured out by the time ACC play rolls around then conference foes need to watch out and, like always, Fear the Turtle.