It’s halftime at the Maryland-Wake Forest game, and the Terps are up 30-25 despite playing some incredibly sloppy basketball in the first half. Maryland turned it over eight times, but fortunately, Wake Forest managed to commit ten turnovers to negate their efforts. It was the half you’d expect when two 14-win teams come together, but not the half you want. Onto some talk:
1.) Nick Faust being Nick Faust
Faust may be the most mercurial person on the planet, as you’re more likely to predict the two Super Bowl teams next year than you are his stat line for every game. Going into this one, he scored in single digits five of his last six games. But here he is in the first half with 11 points already including a halftime three that put Maryland up by five.
What on earth makes this kid’s engine whir is beyond me, but thank goodness for it. When Faust is honed in with his jump shot, he has a nice combination of driving ability and shooting to make him a very tough guard. We’re seeing that now, and that’s a great thing because Dez Wells isn’t doing much of anything right now.
2.) Charles Mitchell’s free throw shooting is also a mystery.
Maryland is completely right for trying to attack the basket this half with Charles Mitchell. The Terps got their first four points from Chuck, and then stopped going to him (or any of the big men) and went down six trying to shoot through a stuffed up zone. That’s not good decision making, and it plays into Wake’s hand. Coach Turgeon rectified it by putting in Peters and Faust, who were able to cut into the lane and dump the ball off to big men and cutters.
But Charles Mitchell has got to start hitting those free throws. For someone who actually has decent touch around the rim, there’s no excuse for him shooting under 40% from there this season. Even Shaq shot at a better percentage than that. If he isn’t hitting free throws, teams will just continue to foul him hard instead of ceding him high percentage looks. As a result, Maryland will come away with zero points. That hurts the team.
3.) All said, Maryland is playing decent defensively.
Eight of Wake Forest’s ten turnovers were forced, and that’s a testament to what we’ve been seeing lately with the Terps: they’re keeping their hands up. All season long, they just weren’t closing out on guys and making life difficult, but the past few games they’ve been doing it. Have they turned a corner?
We’ll see about that. Wake is still shooting 50% from the floor (even though I think that’s more a case of temporary hot shooting than Maryland’s play. Should the Terps continue what they’re doing defensively, I’d think Wake’s percentages will dip big time.
Back to the game…