If there was ever a time for seemingly everything to go right for the Terrapins it was after the gut wrenching last second loss to Florida State earlier this week. Thankfully for Terps fans, that is precisely what happened today as Maryland got on Wake Forest early and never let up winning 86-60.
It was an absolutely dominating performance across the board for Maryland as they exerted their will against the Demon Deacons on both ends of the floor. As a team, Maryland shot an astonishing 67% (35-52) from the field and a mind blowing 68.8% (11-16) from beyond the arc. Jake Layman, Logan Aronhalt and Seth Allen went a combined 10/14 from beyond the arc for the Terps leading the long range assault on the Demon Deacons.
Mark Turgeon, as he hinted at earlier in the week, went with a different starting lineup this afternoon against Wake Forest than against Florida State and it paid off. Insert Nick Faust and James Padgett and, albeit against a lesser opponent, the end result was much more favorable than Wednesday proved to be. Padgett played one of the best games he has had as a Terp and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The senior helped set the tone early and made all six shots he attempted on his way to 12 points and only his third double digit performance of the season.
Alex Len had an inspired performance after an early brush with a Wake Forest player seemed to “wake the giant”. In only 23 minutes of action Len scored 12 points on 6/7 from the floor while pulling in nine rebounds. Len was a force on both ends of the floor as he could be found contesting Wake Forest shots on one end of the floor and throwing down thunderous LENSLAM’S (trademark pending) on the other. It was honestly the type of performance that Maryland needs out of Len night in and night out. Were Len to play like this every night he would without a doubt be the type of high lottery talent that many pundits have labeled him and, subsequently, the Terrapins would reap the benefits in the win column.
Maryland continued their domination, the theme of this post, on the boards as they finished the game with an extremely impressive +23 margin on the glass out rebounding Wake Forest on the day 42-19. Of those 42 rebounds only five were on the offensive end, which isn’t surprising considering Maryland only missed 17 shots on the day. This is an important number though because the 37 rebounds Maryland pulled down on the defensive end kept Wake Forest from getting any second chances which could have helped them claw back into the game. Len led the Terps with nine rebounds while Charles Mitchell and Seth Allen both chipped in seven a piece off of the bench. It is also worth noting that Mitchell grabbed his seven rebounds in only 12 minutes of action.
As great as the Terrapins were this afternoon the fact that Maryland turned the ball over 19 times in 40 minutes is simply unacceptable. My colleague Michael Willis made the point on Twitter earlier (follow him @mrwillis88, he could use the Twitter love) that had the Terps not turned the ball over as much as they did today they could have won by upwards of 50 points. While this may be true, the unfortunate fact remains that the large number of turnovers committed by the Terps today has been Maryland’s M.O. this season more so than lights out shooting from beyond the arc. Had the Terps not been so hot from deep today and gave the ball away 19 times this game could have easily been a lot closer than the 26 point victory it turned out to be.
If the turnover issue is not rectified sooner rather than later Maryland will not be as successful as they could potentially be. Today, however, it was not an issue as Maryland asserted their dominance against a lesser opponent and got a win on their home floor that they desperately needed.
With a trip to Blacksburg, VA for a date against Erick Green and the Hokies on the horizon Thursday night it was imperative that Maryland had this type of performance this afternoon. They needed something positive to build off of after a string of rough losses and they got that today. Maryland will need to bring the same type of effort on Thursday night if they want to grab their second road win of the season.