- What’s this? Maryland’s front court is a threat? We knew Charles Mitchell could score, but we haven’t seen Evan Smotrycz and Shaquille Cleare getting involved in the action until this game. The trio has seven points apiece already, and we’re seeing what may well be Cleare’s best half of the season already. The big man scored Maryland’s first points and didn’t stop there, hitting three of four free throws.Meanwhile, Smotrycz hasn’t been hitting a ton of his shots (he’s 3-of-9), but he’s playing aggressively and has five rebounds to go along with two assists. Those two assists were part of a Maryland 10-2 run to end the half that put them up by double digits. Since playing very few minutes against Marist, Smotrycz has done nothing but good.
Of course, Chuck is still Chuck. Seven points, three rebounds (most on the offensive end), no assists.
- I love that Maryland is attacking the paint this game. They’ve got 20 points so far in the paint, and have fed their big men with very good passes to keep them involved. If Maryland wants to become a good, dominant team, they’re going to need this kind of effort every night. Providence has no answers for how effective Maryland has been at getting to the basket. That credit goes to Wells, Peters, and (in small part) Faust.
- Oh yeah, the Terps are outrebounding Providence (a very good rebounding team) 26-19. Can’t get extra shots if you aren’t shooting the ball, and Providence needs shots. They’re shooting 23% from the field and looking downright bad at times.
- Lastly, I said one of my keys to the game was going to be to take away the paint and force these guys to shoot the ball. Thus far, that strategy has worked out amazingly for Maryland. Providence is taking long threes that don’t have a high success rate of going in, and their big men haven’t done a ton (Desrosiers is 0-3 today). The Terps have to continue to marginalize their big men in the second half, but more importantly they’ve got to not foul their guards.The only way I can actually see Providence coming back is if they start getting to the foul line more often. Maryland has eight fouls so far to the Friars seven, so keep an eye on that number. Providence is a fantastic free throw shooting team, and if they slow down this game they could come back a bit.