Maryland Basketball: Niswander’s Notes for American

Nov 11, 2016; College Park, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins guard Anthony Cowan (0) shoots as American University Eagles forward Mark Gasperini (23) looks on during the second half at Xfinity Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 11, 2016; College Park, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins guard Anthony Cowan (0) shoots as American University Eagles forward Mark Gasperini (23) looks on during the second half at Xfinity Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /

The Maryland basketball team opened the season with a victory over American University by a score of 62-56 on Friday evening.

The Terrapins had several players that shined and some that struggled.

Here are my notes on some of my thoughts after the closely contested matchup against the Eagles.

Let’s start with the negative thoughts or things that need to change.

1. Jared Nickens Cold Spell Continues

Nickens started the game for the Terps, but only played 15 minutes and failed to get in the scoring column. He missed all five field goals, including four misses from beyond the arc.

Nickens only tallies on the box score were a lone offensive rebound and a turnover.

The alarming thing is, all of his missed three pointers were all pretty good open looks. Nickens struggled last season to knock down the open looks on the wing, and it appears those struggles have carried over into this season.

If he is not converting on those open looks, what else does he provide the Terps on the floor?

Freshman Kevin Huerter appears to be a better defender and shooter at this point If Nickens can’t hit the open look during nonconference play, he may see his minutes start to decline.

2. Damonte Dodd Needs to Step up Defensively

Dodd started the game for the Terrapins but logged the least amount of minutes among all the starters with just 11.

He picked up two early fouls in the first half, which forced coach Mark Turgeon to go to his bench early for other options in the frontcourt. Even when Dodd was in the game, he didn’t make a huge impact.

He did not record a single rebound and finished with three points on 1-of-3 shooting, two assists, and two turnovers. At times on defense Dodd completely lost sight of his man, surrendering multiple wide open looks from the top of the key as he failed to close out.

If Dodd can’t stay out of foul trouble and play solid defense, Turgeon will be forced to start L.G. Gill or Justin Jackson in the frontcourt, who were much more active on the glass and around the rim.

3. Turnovers Turnovers Turnovers

Maryland finished the game with 18 turnovers.

It is early in the season, so it’s not time to panic, but this is an issue the Terps will need to have fixed by the time conference play rolls around.

A majority of the turnovers were not forced by American’s defense either.

In order for Maryland to beat tougher opponents in conference later this season and even next week versus Georgetown, they need to maximize each possession and not surrender chances to get shots up with a careless turnover.

Now onto some positives to take away from the game.

1. Kevin Huerter is an assassin From deep

New York State’s “Mr. Basketball” did not disappoint in his Maryland debut.

Huerter knocked down both of his three-point attempts finishing with six points to go along with six rebounds. Huerter was able to block a shot as well and seemed to not be a liability on defense as freshmen can struggle defensively adjusting to the collegiate level.

Huerter is a player that can light it up from the perimeter when given an open look. As Nickens’ shooting struggles continue, look for Turgeon to start drawing up more looks for Huerter from the outside.

2. L.G Gill and Justin Jackson active around the basket

Gill and Jackson both logged over 20 minutes in their Maryland debuts. Gill finished with 11 points, including going 7-of-8 from the charity stripe while also snagging six rebounds (three offensive).

Jackson only finished with three points on 1-of-4 shooting, but was able to corral nine rebounds.

Both Gill and Jackson were able to stay with their men defensively, and make their presence around the basket felt. Jackson’s lone field goal of the night came on a tip in after a missed shot.

If Gill and Jackson are able to be active around the rim and not liabilities on the defensive end as the season continues, Turgeon should consider starting someone new in the frontcourt.

3. Cowan will help take pressure off Trimble

Anthony Cowan looked as good as advertised in his collegiate debut.

Cowan finished with 12 points on 3-of-4 shooting while also recording nine rebounds. In the first half with Maryland trailing 23-18, Cowan went on a mini 8-0 all by himself to put the Terps back in front.

He started the run with three-pointer and a steal that led to a three-point play after converting at the free throw line.

Next: Terps fall out of AP poll

Cowan is a guard that is looking to dribble penetrate as we saw Trimble do as a freshman. The nice thing for Maryland basketball is depth at the guard position as both Cowan and Trimble will be looking to drive to the basket and get to the free throw line as much as possible.