Maryland took down IUPUI 81-63 on Sunday, securing their one-loss record heading into ACC play for the first time in Mark Turgeon’s short tenure. Save for the loss against Kentucky, the Terrapins have been blowing out every opponent they’ve faced this year. Here are a few thoughts on the Terrapins victory:
1.) Sluggish starts are scary things
The Terrapins got off to yet another slow start against the Jaguars, going down by 10 points just before the midway mark of the first half. It isn’t that the Terrapins were playing bad basketball, it was that they were daring the Jaguars to hit jump shots, and guess what? They did. If the Terrapins employ that strategy against sharp-shooting ACC teams, they’re going to have to overcome plenty of deficits during conference play. IUPUI couldn’t miss from anywhere, and the Terps got down early.
Then, of course, Seth Allen and Logan Aaronholt activated the three point cannon, which kept the Terps from being down by even more. Twelve points in a row from long range doesn’t happen that often, but we’ll take it. Maryland’s turnover issue reared it’s head early, but was luckily rectified by the end of the game…kind of. I just hope that slow start was because the Terps were overlooking IUPUI and ahead at Virginia Tech.
2.) I like Charles Mitchell coming off the bench more than starting
Charles Mitchell finished the game with seven points and five rebounds over 20 minutes of play, which really isn’t a bad statistical line and is right there with his season averages. Unfortunately, it felt like he looked a little out of place at times with the offense, and his skills were being underutilized. He doesn’t run the floor incredibly well, and with Dez Wells, Pe’Shon and Nick Faust constantly pushing the pace, Mitchell looked a step behind.
Yes, he has performed very well lately, but I don’t think he is as good a fit with the tentative starting rotation as James Padgett. Padgett isn’t as aggressive as Mitchell when it comes to rebounding, but he is quicker, and does not often lag behind the play like Mitchell does. I think the Terrapins would be better served using a second lineup that includes Cleare, Mitchell, and Allen rather than starting Mitchell and letting Padgett play with the second unit.
3.) Pe’Shon Howard and Seth Allen will be battling for top PG duties all year
The problem of deciding which of your two point guards will start because of how well they have played is what can only be termed as a “good problem.” That’s the issue the Terrapins have, as I’m almost certain that Mark Turgeon has been impressed with how much Seth Allen has balled out. He was probably equally as impressed with Allen when he entered the game with the Terps down and proceeded to drain back-to-back three pointers to put the Terps on the right path.
Meanwhile, Pe’Shon has done nothing but become one of the most efficient passers that Maryland has seen since Steve Blake. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but he really does take care of the ball pretty well for a point guard with little to offer offensively. His management of the game is fantastic, and combined with Allen’s offensive aggressiveness the Terps are set at the point guard positions.
Whoever starts and whoever comes off the bench this season is probably going to be decided on a game-by-game basis, and the Terrapins will still be great at moving the ball either way.