Maryland Beats Albany In Len’s Debut, 83-72


After a quick start that saw them jump out to a 12-point lead in the first half and a strong finish to close it out, the Maryland Terrapins won their fifth straight game, defeating the Albany Great Danes 83-72 at the Comcast Center Wednesday night. It was the Terps’ first double-digit win of the season.

It was also the debut of Ukrainian true freshman Alex Len, who started the game after serving a ten-game suspension. In 27 minutes, the center scored 14 points on six of nine shooting with eight rebounds and three blocks, looking very impressive and adding an entirely new facet to Maryland’s game. He did have five turnovers, however, but allowed Maryland to play above the rim at times and gave them an added presence inside on the boards and as a shot-blocker.

Terrell Stoglin also had a very good night, scoring 22 points on 16 shots and making six of eleven three points attempts. The sophomore also had three assists against only one turnover, and made pretty good choices with the ball for the most part.

Pe’Shon Howard scored 14 points in his first start of the year, making all three of his shots and all four of his free throws, and had eight assists with six rebounds, but turned the ball over six times in some bits of uncharacteristic sloppiness. For the most part, however, he thrived with Len and did an admirable job on Albany star Gerardo Suero towards the end of the game.

Suero, a 6’4″ JuCo transfer from the Dominican Republic, scored at least 20 for the fifth game in a row, finishing with 22 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds (five offensive) in a dominating performance.

With the additions of Len and Howard, players who had previously been asked to do far too much have had their roles scaled back, with much success. Nick Faust, previously a starter who struggled to put it all together, scored ten points with four rebounds and two assists in 19 minutes in what may have been his been outing yet. Mychal Parker scored five points with four rebounds in 13 minutes (even making a three pointer), and Berend Weijs had four rebounds and three blocks in 12 minutes.

The turnover margin for Maryland in this one was -11, which is A) unacceptable and B) one of the only reasons Albany kept this a game for so long. Take out some mistakes from Len and Howard, who were playing in their first and second games of the season respectively, and it’s a blowout through and through.

Maryland now has a solid nine-man rotation, and for the most part all nine played well tonight. Both Ashton Pankey and James Padgett had their struggles on the inside at times (although Padgett put it together at the end), but luckily Len was able to provide a fantastic presence inside.

The Ukrainian showed the incredible athleticism we’ve all heard about, throwing down dunk after dunk, as well as his length with the rebounds and blocks and a step-back shot that was simply unfair. This was his first game back, and with two more games before the conference schedule starts, there’s no reason Maryland can’t steal a few games that they otherwise wouldn’t have stood a shot in with Len’s skill.

The Terps have a quick turnaround, with an afternoon New Year’s Eve game against Samford Saturday at 2:00 p.m.