Tucker James was one of the most lethal goal scorers in the NEC in 2017.
On Saturday, Maryland is going to be tasked with trying to slow down the Bryant star attackman.
Bryant defeated Monmouth 10-7 on Wednesday in the NCAA Tournament play-in game. James recorded 66 points (39 goals & 27 assists) this season, including a goal against the Hawks.
Despite Maryland being the top seed in the NCAA Tournament, James is no stranger to facing marquee opponents in the postseason.
On May 11, 2014, Bryant faced number-two seed Syracuse at the Carrier Dome. James scored four goals and recorded two assists against an Orange team that featured star attackmen Dylan Donahue and Kevin Rice.
James’ six-point effort against Syracuse was the highest of his freshman season.
James has a similar role to that of Matt Rambo for Maryland. Much like Rambo, James is the true table-setter for the Bulldogs as he has a team-high 27 assists on the season.
The former Bergen Catholic (NJ) standout thrives on playing through contact and possesses a great deal of strength. James can dodge with the best of them and thrives in the two-man game from behind the cage.
His 2.17 goals-per-game rank third in the NEC while his 1.5 assists rank first in the conference. James also tops the NEC in points-per-game (3.67).
James’ dodging ability could give the Terps issues, but this is one of the more stout defensive units around. Maryland allows just 8.93 goals-per-game, which is good for 16th in the country.
The Bryant attackman will likely see plenty of attention from defenseman Tim Muller.
Muller is often tasked with defending the opposing team’s top offensive threat. He’s guarded the likes of Connor Fields (Albany) and Mac O’Keefe (Penn State) throughout the 2017 season.
It’s going to be important for Maryland to slide defensive help at the right time when defending James. The drawback is going to be that James is a gifted passer, so the Terps will need to be smart about double-teaming him.
While Bryant may be the easiest opponent that Maryland faces in the tournament, James will be a good test early on considering what lies ahead should the Terps win on Sunday.