Maryland men’s basketball vs. Mount St. Mary’s preview


Maryland men’s basketball opens the 2015-16 regular season against Mount St. Mary’s on Friday evening.

The Terrapins are fresh off of a 91-55 win against Southern New Hampshire in an exhibition game this past Friday. Maryland had five players players finish in double figures, including highly-touted freshman Diamond Stone (16 points & five rebounds and point guard Melo Trimble (14 points & four rebounds).

It wasn’t the most clean performance for the Terps, seeing as they committed 23 turnovers. Forwards Jake Layman and Jared Nickens were the only regulars that didn’t record a single turnover.

One of the positives was the play of Maryland’s frontcourt. As was mentioned above, Stone looked phenomenal in his Terp debut as he finished strong at the rim on a handful of occasions. Among the highlights of Stone’s night were a baseline dunk in which he spun off his defender and another two-handed flush in which guard Rasheed Sulaimon passed up a wide-open jump shot in order to dish it off to Stone.

Maryland also shot very well from beyond the arc with a 42.9 percent (9-of-21) success rate. Layman was by far the most successful as he connected on 4-of-8 shots from long-range.

Maryland suffered a tough blow on Tuesday when it was learned that guard Dion Wiley will miss the entire 2015-16 season after having surgery on his torn meniscus. This makes the addition of Sulaimon all that more important.

Sulaimon is a great perimeter shooter (39.1 percent from three-point range) and an above-average defender. The former Duke guard will likely see the bulk of the minutes at the two-guard spot.

Getting To Know Mount St. Mary’s

  • After putting together a subpar 15-15 record last season, the Mountaineers are being tabbed as the preseason favorite to win the Northeast Conference. Mount St. Mary’s received six of the 10 first place votes followed by Robert Morris and Bryant. This is also the first time since the 2009-10 season that the Mountaineers were selected as the favorite to win the conference.
  • The Emmitsburg (Md.) school is led by their do-it-all guard BK Ashe. The junior guard is coming off a season in which he averaged 11.9 points-per-game and grabbed 2.6 rebounds-per-game. Ashe runs the Mountaineer offense and shot a solid 42 percent from the field last season. He is an average shooter from beyond the arc, hitting 36 percent of his attempts. Ashe doesn’t get to the free-throw line a whole lot (only 2.3 attempts per game).
  • Mount St. Mary’s also possesses another pair of guards that play second fiddle to Ashe. One of those is 5’5 Junior Robinson, who made the NEC All-Rookie Team during his first collegiate season. Robinson put up solid numbers with 8.3 ppg and 3.3 apg for the Mountaineers. The North Carolina native is a scrappy defender that can pick any opposing player’s pocket. Khalid Nwandu may not have posted stellar numbers, but should have a bigger role this season. Nwandu shot a team-high 44.1 percent from the floor as a sophomore, so the talent is clearly there. These three guards will be a solid opening night assignment for the Maryland defense.
  • The Mountaineers do have a strong post player in senior forward Gregory Graves. Graves averaged 10.1 ppg and pulled down a team-high 7.4 rpg during the 2014-15 campaign. Graves is an above-average shooter that can let it fly from beyond the arc. He excels in the high post and has a pretty quick release. Graves will certainly challenge the likes of Diamond Stone and Robert Carter on the glass.

Three Maryland Items To Watch

  • Replacing Wiley – The loss of Wiley certainly shouldn’t be taken lightly by any means. While his numbers weren’t spectacular last season, Wiley can really knock down shots from the perimeter when he is feeling it. Would he have been a starter if healthy? We’ll never know. However, it’s been well-documented that Maryland has plenty of depth to get by. Sulaimon is probably the best bet to be the starting two-guard when the season begins. It’s really going to depend on what type of lineup coach Mark Turgeon elects to go with. There are a good seven or eight players on the roster that would start on most teams. If the team displays strong chemistry early on, this could be one of the most dangerous rosters in the nation.
  • Extended minutes for Brantley? – Trimble was extremely productive during the 2014-15 season and there’s no doubt about that. However, he did play 33.5 minutes-per-game as a freshman. With the amount of depth that Maryland has, Trimble should be able to be off the court a little bit more this season. That’s where JuCo transfer Jaylen Brantley comes in. Brantley played 14 minutes against Southern New Hampshire and netted four points (1-of-4) to go along with two assists and a rebound. If Maryland gets a commanding lead, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Brantley get extended minutes to showcase his talents.
  • Many debuts – It’s been quite some time since there were so many intriguing Maryland debuts in a season opener. In the 2012-13 opener, the Terps saw the debuts of guard Seth Allen, Shaquille Cleare, Layman, and Charles Mitchell. Friday evening will see the likes of Brantley, Robert Carter, Stone, and Sulaimon making their Maryland debuts. This is one of the most exciting times in the history of the program.

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