It’s halftime at Comcast, and the game is being played at a snail’s pace, which should theoretically be an advantage for turtles here. Up 30-29, Maryland has been playing some decent ball so far despite Dez Wells being in foul trouble for the majority of the first half. A buzzer beater to end the half by Seth Allen gave them the lead, though. Let’s get into some halftime observations:
1.) Jake Layman and Evan Smotrycz are busting zones
What a world of difference playing against a zone defense makes when the two best shooters on the team are actually hitting their shots. Layman and Smotrycz are a combined 4-of-6 from deep, and it’s not shocking at all that the Terps are thwarting Miami’s zone defense. Last year, zone defense wasn’t nearly as big a problem for Maryland because they had Logan Aronhalt to toss out bunker busters. This year, they’ve struggled to find that.
Hopefully they keep that up, because I can assure you Miami will continue with that zone in the second half. They can’t win otherwise, and Larranaga-led teams usually excel at maintaining composure.
2.) Maryland’s guard play has been terrible
I’m not sure who the Terps are going to play in the backcourt in the second half because if they keep this up, everyone is going to foul out. Allen has two fouls, same goes for Dez, and they’re both getting shredded by Rion Brown and Adams off the dribble. The athleticism of those two is giving our guards trouble staying in front of them, which means the help defense has to get better.
This game, Mitchell has done a great job of sliding over, but that’s about it. Miami has ten of their points in the paint and they’re drawing lots of fouls because of late help. That’s got to change if Maryland wants to create some distance between them and the Hurricanes. I’m pretty sure they want that, right?
3.) Maryland struggling on rebounding, but excelling in other areas
Obviously this team is a hot mess sometimes, we’re well aware of that. Going up against one of the lesser rebounding teams in the ACC, the Terps are losing the battle even though they should theoretically have a big advantage there. And yet, they only have five turnovers in the first half, which is what they aren’t particularly great at.
That’s good and all, but the Terps need to do better on the boards, and they’ve definitely got to hit their free throws if they intend to win this game. They’re leaving points on the board and giving Miami more opportunities. Gotta get better in one.