It’s halftime at the Maryland-Virginia game, and the Terps are hanging in tight with the Cavaliers, down only 35-34. Evan Smotrycz has been the biggest proponent of Maryland hosting an upset, evidenced by his 13 points in the first half, while London Perrantes is trying to prevent that from happening with 12 points of his own. Onto some halftime thoughts, though…
1) This is the Michigan transfer we wanted
When Evan Smotrycz came to Maryland, expectations were awfully high for him given how well he played at the big M. Well, he’s shooting under 40% on the year, so folks are at least mildly disappointed that he isn’t the sharp shooter we thought. But if you look at the first half of this game, you’d think he’s the best player on the floor.
In a way, he kind of is. Virginia is getting burnt by Smotrycz’ play right now, the main reason being that he’s honed in offensively. Smotrycz is mixing up his outside shooting with that patented pump fake and getting defenders to bite. As a result, the floor is wide open for Maryland. The guards have had plenty of room to slash, and even the big men (Shaq Cleare, in particular) are getting involved because Virginia has to pay attention to Smo.
2.) Roddy Peters, Seth Allen, and Smotrycz work well together
I’ve long suspected that maybe Seth Allen has been playing out of position at the one, and this game just provided ammo for that conviction. Allen played alongside Peters (who ran the point) and I’m not sure the offense has looked better. Smotrycz helped space the floor, but having two lightning quick guards such as Peters and Allen is a tough guard for anyone.
Things opened up for Maryland, and they went on a nice run with those three on the court at the same time. It even allowed Shaquille Cleare to draw some man-to-man coverage, and as a result draw some fouls on defenders who can’t guard him. It may not be a cure-all, but I’d be interested in seeing how these three perform with even more minutes.
3.) Maryand’s gotta do a better job on Perrantes
The recipe for beating UVA isn’t to let their worst scorer do the heavy lifting, but that’s what Maryland is doing. Perrantes is 4-of-5 from long range, and that could be damning for Maryland moving forward as the law of averages arrives. Eventually, Harris will start scoring, and so will Akil Mitchell. If Maryland is down without those guys even making a dent, they could be in trouble when they do.