It’s halftime at Cameron Indoor, and the Maryland Terrapins are only down 39-33! That’s relatively amazing, considering this is the eighth best team in the country and the Terrapins are a double-digit loss team who plays horribly on the road. It’s also bad because both Dez Wells and Charles Mitchell have three fouls each. But whatever, onto some thoughts…
1.) Maryland is getting their hands up on perimeter players
Right now, Duke is only 3-of-14 from beyond the arc, and sure that’s definitely partially due to their players missing open shots. It’s also attributable to the Terps actually putting their hands up and contesting every single shot that goes up. Maryland has a tendency to not attack the shooter even when he’s wide open, but today they’re playing with some added intensity. In particular Smotrycz and Seth Allen.
It’s a little thing, but it’s necessary to winning because Duke can not go on those crushing 9-0 runs at any point in this game if Maryland wants to win.
2.) Jake Layman shows up, Maryland still not 100% efficient
Jake Layman is feasting on the open space Duke is giving him around screens, and he’s doing it on the road. That’s amazing for a guy who, going into this matchup, shot below 40% in road contests. Layman looks focused, driven, and is all over the place this game. His halfcourt steal turned dunk seemed to ignite this Maryland team when they needed it most. That’s Layman’s importance to this team, and that’s the Layman the Terps need to win.
Unfortunately, they also need the “Dez Wells in hero mode” for the second half if they want to win this game. The trouble is getting efficient production out of Wells and Layman at the same time, as they’re both the most potent guys on the team when it comes to scoring. It doesn’t have to be the same half, but it does have to happen.
That’s a problem the Terps have had all year, though. Will this be a game where Wells and Layman both go nuts to win this game? Not with Wells in foul trouble already. Speaking of which…
3.) The refs are awful, but we knew that already
If you’ve been following on Twitter, you’ll notice that I’ve just been relentlessly heckling the referees for their terrible job. Even the ESPN commentator Doris Burke stated that Maryland wasn’t going to get any calls going their way for the entire season. That’s crap, because officials aren’t supposed to be biased at all. And yet here we are, with referees that are supposedly openly against Maryland. What gives!?
That being sad, Maryland has got to play a little more controlled. Let Mark Turgeon do the yelling, the moaning, and use your fouls a little more frugally. If Jabari Parker is barreling in on you down low, Charles Mitchell either needs to foul him hard enough to send a message and ensure he doesn’t drive again without thinking twice, or get out of the way and try to alter the shot. Wasting fouls by weakly contesting shots just builds their confidence.
Love the way the Terps are playing right now. They weathered another horrible start and continued to battle back into the game. The Terps simply aren’t going to give up this game, but the question is whether or not they can put it together consistently. Against North Carolina, they couldn’t do it. Same goes for Virginia. I think this team does have an upset or two in them when they play like this.
What do they need to do? Simple, continue attacking the rim, keep Rodney Hood off the floor in foul trouble, and perhaps get Thorton in foul trouble as well. That’ll increase their chances drastically, as Sulaimon is a downgrade offensively and he’s on the court when Hood and Thorton aren’t.