The Maryland basketball team were very balanced on Sunday.
In their win against Michigan, the Terps even got strong production from their bench.
Despite how lethal Maryland’s starting five can be at times, this is a group that hasn’t showed a whole lot recently. In the losses to Minnesota and Wisconsin, Maryland’s bench accumulated a total of six points.
On Sunday against the Wolverines, the Terps got a supreme effort from a bench unit that certainly possesses quite a bit of talent. Maryland received 18 points from their second unit, including three players registering multiple field goals.
The most impressive was center Damonte Dodd, who scored seven points (3-of-4), grabbed six rebounds, and blocked a pair of shots. Dodd had scored just nine points over the previous four games.
During Maryland’s 14-0 run in the first half, Dodd rejected a pair of shots. The first one came at the 11:51 mark and ended up getting the Terps out in transition, where forward Robert Carter finished at the rim.
On his second rejection, Dodd didn’t even need to use the backboard and swatted a shot attempt from Kameron Chatman. The play resulted in a shot violation for the Wolverines.
When it comes to the bigs, a lot of the talk is surrounded around Carter and center Diamond Stone. However, Dodd is an integral part of Maryland’s post play, especially on the defensive end.
One of the other pleasant surprises was the play of forward Jared Nickens.
It’s been well-documented that Nickens has struggled as much as anybody on Maryland’s roster this season. Coming into Sunday’s game, the New Jersey native was shooting just 23.5 percent (12-of-51) from beyond the arc during Big Ten play.
Nickens had a much better game against Michigan as he connected on two of his four three-point attempts. He ended up totaling six points on two very timely three-pointers.
With 13:14 remaining in the opening half, Nickens actually started Maryland’s 14-0 run when he got open courtesy of a screen from Stone. As we’ve seen in the past, Nickens doesn’t need much room to make the opposing team pay.
Finally, Brantley also chipped in five points in just 17 seconds. He did play 10 minutes to give the Terps a boost, but that short span of time was all he needed to make an impact.
On his first successful field goal, Brantley camped out in the corner and once Michigan’s defense sagged off of him a bit, Carter swung the ball around the horn to Brantley. The former JuCo standout didn’t miss as he splashed home his first three-pointer of Big Ten play.
On Michigan’s ensuing trip down the floor, Brantley picked freshman Moritz Wagner‘s pocket and coasted the other way for the easy layup. His 5-0 personal run extended Maryland’s lead to 26-12 and capped the team’s 14-0 outburst.
Ironically, these three players were the only ones to see action off of Maryland’s bench. In most games, coach Mark Turgeon elects to play Cekovsky some in the post to give his bigs more of a breather.
Sunday was a great sight to see because Maryland is going to need contributions like this from these players over the next month. Dodd is a phenomenal rim protector and may be needed more against teams with larger front lines.
As we’ve seen recently, guard Melo Trimble has struggled to establish a consistent jump shot and maybe that has something to do with a nagging hamstring injury. If something like that were to pop up in the NCAA Tournament, Brantley could see action for extended stretches, so this experience is extremely vital.
Nickens provides a great offensive punch off the bench. If he is able to hit his shot at a more consistent rate, the sophomore forward could be a huge weapon to have if the Terps can’t find their shot at any point during postseason play.
If Sunday is any indication, this may not be the last time that we hear from this trio of Terps.