It’s halftime at Maryland’s first Paradise Jam game against the Marist Red Foxes, and the Terps are up 26-20. You read that correctly, and against an 0-4 team, that number has to be better. Let’s break down how we’ve done:
- Free throw shooting has been an absolute disaster.
Eventually, Marist is going to employ the Hack-A-Chuck strategy if they get down by too much. The Terrapins are 6-of-11 from the field, and the biggest culprit so far has been Charles Mitchell. Going in, we knew he wasn’t great at free throws (3-of-17 on the season), but he air balled one in the first half in a malicious attack against the mesh netting and is 2-of-7 from there. Mitchell has to improve on those numbers or this team will get fouled, the game will slow down, and the Red Foxes will remain in it.
- Dez Wells, where art thou?
Maryland needs Dez Wells to be good, but two first half fouls kept him out of the game and Nick Faust taking a lot of shots. Like it or not, this team needs Dez Wells. He makes plays happen, and this is the second time this season that Wells has found himself on the bench while other teams have remained in the game. Wells has zero points thus far, and you can fully expect him to go off in the second half, but a full game out of your best player and leading scorer isn’t too much to ask, is it?
- Varun Ram has been the best point guard on the floor thus far, and turnovers are down.
Against a team like Marist, you can afford to experiment a little bit. One of those experiments has been feeding Varun Ram a solid allotment of minutes. The result? He has a team high three assists, only one turnover, and has found some serious chemistry with Jake Layman. The (maybe) 5’9 speedster has been making big plays for the team, and while he may not be a huge asset defensively or against good teams in the future, he could certainly play a role on this team in short doses until Seth Allen gets healthy.Meanwhile, Roddy Peters has had a tough go of things. Peters is 0-of-4 in the first half, and has had his layup attempts blocked twice already. I alluded to his issue of wanting to always finish with his left hand, and it’s been a problem here. Marist clearly scouted Maryland, their bigs are waiting until Peters makes his hand switch before they leap into the air to block him. Peters hasn’t done much of anything, but it’s worth noting that that maybe a good thing. The team has eight turnovers in the first half, but Peters has only contributed one of those.