For 15 minutes, the Maryland Terrapins and the Seattle Redhawks were in a game. Maryland struggled with defense and turned the ball over liberally; the Redhawks took advantage of their opportunities and hassled a Terrapins team still looking for a point guard to the tune of 15 first-half turnovers. With five minutes to go in the first half, the game was tied at 32.
But Maryland and Jordan Williams' 17 points and 15 boards were just too much for the Redhawks as the game wore on. After going on a run at the end of the half to build the lead to ten, the Terps used superior athleticism and strength to tire out the Redhawks, snowballing a lead from 10 to 30 in a matter of minutes in the middle of the second half. In the end, Seattle's mistakes and Maryland's ability to convert their own chances gave the Terrapins an easy blowout win, 105-76.
Maryland crossed the century-mark just twice last year, and did it in 2010-11's season-opener with upwards of 2 minutes remaining and while only attempting eight threes. I wouldn't read too much into it - Seattle plays fast, too, leading to a track meet - but Maryland will run this year, and it looks like they'll be able to hold their own in most running competitions on the scoreboard. These guys will run.
But some serious problems were displayed in this game, notably Maryland's struggles with turnovers and halfcourt offense when Seattle was fresh. When Seattle pressured the Terrapins, Maryland was quick to turn the ball over. The glut of easy baskets Maryland gave the Redhawks were disappointing, too; against better teams, who knows how they'll pay for that in the future? Seattle was eventually worn down, but most teams in the ACC won't be as hurt by Maryland's athleticism. Hopefully those aren't over-arching problems; it is, after all, just one game.
Some more impressions post-jump, but first a disclaimer: it's one game. All of this is subject to change, and quickly.
Sean Mosley was very much what you'd expect; he rebounded, he hustled, he defended, he passed, and he had a chasedown block. His scoring role was increased from last year and he led Maryland in scoring with 21 points, but I don't think he was ever exactly dynamic with the exception of a few smooth baskets. Instead, he was efficient: he got to 21 points with just 8 attempts, getting to the line constantly. It's not that he flipped a switch and became that dynamic scorer we heard about at SFA, but points are points. The scoreboard doesn't care about style.
Dino Gregory, James Padgett, and Jordan Williams all provided what you might expect; Dino had a nice short jumper, James got trash buckets, and Jordan got a double-double against Seattle's small line-up. None looked extremely improved from last year with the exception of Williams late, but none disappointed, either.
Adrian Bowie, however, confirmed all the fears about him playing point guard. He played for only three minutes in the first half before racking up two fouls and sitting the rest of the half, but we saw plenty even in just those three minutes: three turnovers, a missed three-pointer, a couple of bad passes, and trouble handling the ball under pressure. Though his layups started to drop later, the same problems persisted into the second half. He finished with 7 turnovers and looked shaky in the half-court sets. He's a natural in transition, but he's not yet the answer for Maryland's point guard spot. Luckily for everyone involved, he has a lot of time to improve; we need to wait before making any type of decision regarding him, but his spot is officially in trouble.
The ugly start and Bowie's foul trouble meant that the two freshmen guards, Pe'Shon Howard and Terrell Stoglin, both got a lot of early playing time; they made good use of it. Both had a few moments that are best described as, in layman's terms, "OMG moments."
Stoglin showed Maryland's first sign of life of the night, creating an assist for Maryland's second basket, stealing the ensuing inbounds pass, and hitting the easy layup; later, he went coast-to-coast, hitting a difficult and-one layup. Howard introduced himself to the College Park faithful with a fastbreak dunk followed by a beautiful no-look to Sean Mosley on the baseline for an easy layup.
Stoglin, though, had the most spectacular play of the night. With Howard on a two-on-one fastbreak with Jordan Williams trailing, Stoglin didn't make either of the two plays I thought he might: force a layup when he didn't have an angle (the traditional freshman route) or lob a pass over the defender to Howard. Instead, he unleashed a no-look, behind-the-back pass to Williams, who promptly slammed it home with force reminiscent of the Duke poster. In a matter of seconds, that play showcased Stoglin's court awareness, passing skills, and confidence; it was also extraordinarily exciting, to say the least.
They were both strong, with more good than bad. There's still a long way to go for both of them, of course, but Howard's court vision and steadiness on the ball was welcome, as was Stoglin's scoring mentality. It's early, but expect a lot of playing time from both this year. After Bowie struggled, it's not a stretch to think that they'll be taking his minutes when Maryland needs to go to the halfcourt; the two were visibly more confident handling the ball under pressure.
The other freshmen had solid, if mostly minor, contributions. Haukur Palsson impressed with his hustle; he'll get some burn for that alone. Mychal Parker confirmed his presumed smoothness, athleticism, and lack of polish. Perhaps most surprisingly, Berend Weijs looked good: he had two blocks in his first minute of play. He won't bring a lot, but he has something to offer this team defensively and can run the floor.
More in the coming hours and days. Maryland plays College of Charleston on Wednesday.