Even losing your best player and one of the best in the ACC isn’t enough to keep you from beating the Maryland Terrapins. Playing without leading scorer T.J. Warren, who was declared out minutes before tip off, the North Carolina State Wolfpack still managed to take down the Terps 65-56 on their home court.
In potentially what was the last game Maryland will ever play at State, the Terps turned a 9-point halftime lead into a 9 point deficit thanks to some particularly uninspiring play throughout the game. The Terps started the game without scoring a single point in the first fifteen minutes, but given how poorly the Wolfpack were playing, they only found themselves down seven points during that stretch.
Indeed, the first half could be summed up by saying that it’s entirely possible saran wrap was placed over both courts, because neither team could make a shot. The Wolfpack shot 22% from the floor, while Maryland only shot 33% as neither team could pull away. A three pointer by Jake Layman to end the half ensured Maryland went into their locker room with some false confidence as they were up by nine, which is probably a bad thing.
The second half didn’t change much of anything for Maryland. They still couldn’t score worth a darn. The biggest difference was really that North Carolina State finally decided to show up. Or rather, Ralston Turner decided to show up. Turner scored 19 of his 23 points in the second half, hitting 5 of his 10 three point attempts and was unguardable. The Terps failed to fight around screens and showed off one of their biggest weaknesses: an inability to defend the perimeter.
With the perimeter opened up, Kat Barner was able to penetrate down low and score 9 crucial points in the second half, and Maryland really had no one to defend. Dez Wells was off though he finished with 10, Evan Smotrycz was decent but he fouled out, and Jake Layman was nonexistent. The only player who appeared to show up and play past his pay grade was Charles Mitchell, who ended up with 8 points and 18 rebounds. His fire was the only reason Maryland was even in this game. Without his second chances, they would have been destroyed earlier.
You want analysis? Well, for starters, this team cannot fight through screens or defend the perimeter. At all. The Terps figured out how to box people out, and they are much improved down low when we compare them to how they looked to start the year, but they’ve sprung a leak elsewhere now. No one on the team is particularly adept at fighting through screens, and as a result opposing teams look like five Steve Kerr’s on the court against the Terps.
Without that, teams will continue to shoot as many three pointers as they’d like until they start going in, because Maryland doesn’t have the jets offensively to pull away from any team. I know we’d like to blame Turgeon for everything, and he should take some of the blame for a loss like that (even though I’ve already tried to tell you — Maryland probably won’t win more than one road game all year), but come on.
No coach is winning games when one of your best players is shooting 2-of-8 from the floor (Layman). Jake just looks awful on the offensive end right now, and his confidence is pretty much shot. That’s not saying he won’t get it back, but Layman isn’t connecting on anything out there. He’s never been a passer, so what he does on the court offensively is limited to hanging out on the perimeter and keeping opposing teams honest.
Seth Allen looked like Nick Faust (in his first 15 games). It’s nice to have him back, but not when he’s taking triples from Jupiter with 20 seconds left in the shot clock. If you want to look at this loss and really analyze it, you can blame Turgeon for not reigning in Allen at times. But then who do you go with at point? Roddy? He was getting eviscerated on defense today, and still can’t shoot.
Wells had a bad game, but he was also playing out of position (again) because of how poor Maryland’s point guard play was. At least he tried to get to the line. Oh and if Maryland made six more free throws (they missed eight of their thirteen attempts tonight) we might be singing a different tune.
There’s a lot wrong with this team, and a lot of that boils down to a young team playing on the road. It’s bad, and while Terp Nation is in full on assault everyone mode, I’d implore you to be patient with this team. Young teams don’t win on the road, and they even lose some at home. Look at N.C. State, actually. As I’ve said before, wait till they get back to Comcast. Eventually they will have to steal a road game, but with a shooting performance like that, good luck.