The Christmas break appeared to provide the Maryland Terrapins some much needed time to regroup and recover. Perhaps most importantly, it gave Seth Allen a little more time to get healthy enough to play. And against Tulsa, he did not disappoint.
Allen scored 9 of his 15 points in the first half and was instrumental in leading the Terrapins to a victory following a sluggish start. With the Terps down by double digits early, Allen checked in off the bench and spurred a 15-2 run that resulted in the game being tied 35-all at halftime.
Allen probably got more minutes than he had initially anticipated (about 15), but any rust that many presumed he would have was near non-existent against the Golden Hurricane. Allen was light’s out from deep, hitting three of his six attempts, and looked every bit as quick as last season. His broken foot before the season behind him, Allen seemed poised all game to be a major contributor for the Terps.
But it wasn’t just Seth Allen who helped Maryland recover from their disappointing home loss against Boston University the game prior. Dez Wells, who scored his 1,000th collegiate career point just minutes into the game on a layup, came to play as well. Wells had 9 points and 6 rebounds at the half, and finished up with 18 points and 10 rebounds on the evening.
Wells was also active on the defensive end of the floor with two of Maryland’s seven blocks during the game. Jonathan Graham, who saw a lot more minutes in place of Shaquille Cleare, contributed three of his own and (arguably) had a fourth that was not added to the box.
Evan Smotrycz added in 15 points of his own, and Maryland had five players in double figures on the evening.
Tulsa was definitively hot early, as they hit five of nine three pointers in the first half while Maryland was unable to make much of anything. James Woodard, Tulsa’s leading scorer going into the game, had 9 points at the half and finished with a team high 25 points. Rashad Smith and Pat Swilling contributed 12 points of their own as well, but no other Tulsa player scored in double figures.
The game was unique in that it featured three technical fouls. Layman received a technical in the first half, and Tulsa coach Danny Manning received two technical fouls and an ejection in the second half. Layman sunk all six free throw attempts following those fouls, and Maryland never lost the lead again. It should be noted that Karl Hess was the head official.
The Terrapins improve to 8-5 on the year and get N.C. Central at home again on the 31st of December to finish out 2013.
Overall thoughts? It was a win against a bad Tulsa team, and while the manner of the victory wasn’t impressive, there was more at stake than beauty points. Seth Allen getting a game of easy basketball under his belt to boost both his confidence and his lung capacity is huge for Maryland, and should be a boon for them as they head into ACC play soon.
That’s the main thing to harp on after this game: Seth Allen was acclimated into the offense seamlessly, wasn’t sloppy with the ball, and was not rusty. It’s hard to ask for a much better performance than what Allen gave the team. Anyone questioning his value need only look at this game. The opponent was terrible, but their guards aren’t exactly slouches and they are not poorly coached. Seth Allen still blew expectations away, and for that everyone should be excited.
The team just looked like it had a lot more firepower with him on the court, and without him they stood to lose that game. His presence also lets Maryland extend their bench and sit Laymand and Wells for more minutes. That’s huge, because those guys have been racking up minutes left and right this year.
And while it may have, again, been against Tulsa, I liked what I saw out of Damonte Dodd and Jonathan Graham. The Terps looked much more stout up front and didn’t look willing to cede anything in the paint. Tulsa only had 20 points down low tonight, but the seven blocks that Graham and company provided bode well for what happens when those lineups are on the floor. It may come slowly, but replicating Len’s productivity there last year will help this team out a whole lot.
What did you guys think?