Maryland Blasts Colgate in Final ACC Tune-Up, 95-40

Sometimes, the score sums it up better than I ever could. 95-40: that was the final score in Maryland's victory over Colgate. And it wasn't really that close.

Colgate scored the first bucket of the game. But Maryland answered with a 22-0 run, taking a 20 point lead just minutes into the game. At that point, it was pretty clear that Maryland was the better team, and the Terrapins never looked back.

We'll get more to performances in a minute, but there was one extremely important development today: the starting lineup changed (again). Terrell Stoglin took the place of Pe'Shon Howard in the starting lineup, who had recently replaced the enigmatic Cliff Tucker. The lineup shows a lot of promise and seems by far Maryland's best lineup for half-court offense. No one other than Stoglin has shown the ability to take pressure off Jordan Williams in the post, so him starting is a good sign. He's not an ideal point guard and is more of a scoring-first combo guard, but right now, that's fine  for Maryland.

Tucker and Adrian Bowie, who is now playing off the ball, are both surprising beneficiaries of the move. Bowie has always been better off the ball and just looks more natural in that role; similarly, Tucker is better suited for being a spark-plug off the bench, or at least seems more comfortable in the role. Barring some unforeseen performances or injuries, this looks like the lineup of the future. That's good, too, because the return ACC play is right around the corner.

Back to the performances:  Williams extended his double-double streak, totaling 12 points and 11 boards. The streak now extends to eight, and he's had double-doubles in twelve of Maryland's fourteen games so far.

Elsewhere, Maryland had a variety of solid performances, including four other players in double-digits in scoring. Bowie (11 points, 5 assists, no turnovers), Tucker (12 points, 2-4 from 3), and Stoglin (12 points, 3-5 from 3) were probably the most notable, as far as individual performances go, but it's hard to say anyone played poorly.

More importantly than any of that, though, was Maryland's free throw shooting. Traditionally the Terrapins' Achilles' heel, Maryland shot significantly better today, reaching a moderately impressive 83% from the stripe. They looked solid beyond the arc, too, shooting 43% from deep.

Predictably in a game where the margin is 55 points, I don't think Maryland can take too much from the performance. Was it encouraging? Yes. But Colgate's not exactly a powerhouse here. Was it encouraging? Certainly. Does it say anything about this team that we didn't already know? Probably not.

Now the attention turns to the big boys: the Terrapins play Duke next Sunday, which is their first shot at redemption since the Boston College loss in early December. The real season is back, everyone.

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