The Maryland Terrapins defeated the Lafayette Leopards 83-74 Tuesday evening, improving their record to 3-1 on the season. The front court players for the Terps proved to be too much for the three-point shooting Leopards, who scored over 60% of their points from beyond the arc.
The Terps were led by sophomore Alex Len, who scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Four other Maryland players finished in double figures. Senior forward James Padgett scored 14, sophomore guard Nick Faustscored 13 and grabbed eight rebounds, freshman Charles Mitchell scored 12 and guard Dez Wells had 11.
"I thought Nick [Faust] was great tonight" head coach Mark Turgeon said. "I thought Nick played with poise. He isn't allowed to act like a sophomore he has to act older than that. It was by far I think his best game."
Maryland struggled mightily to limit Lafayette's three-point scoring, allowing the Leopards to make 15 of their 32 3-point shot attempts. While Lafayette was shooting at a high percentage on the night, Maryland was also getting caught in screens that allowed the Leopards to frequently be open from beyond the arc. Lafayette's Seth Hinrichs led all scorers with 20 points on a 6-11 three-point shooting performance.
"I thought Lafayette was great, not good but great" said Turgeon. "We got it to 19 and subbed, [they] got to 11 in three possessions and that gave them a lot of confidence."
Maryland also struggled with Lafayette's 2-3 zone, especially in the first half. While Maryland was able to score frequently in the paint, they again struggled with three-point shooting, finishing the game 3-15 from beyond the arc.
"We are a lot better than we were two weeks ago" Turgeon said. "We have some holes. Tonight it was jump shooting, free throws and rebounding. We don't box out the way I want my team to box out. I think defensively we made huge strides, even though they made 15 threes I know it sounds crazy, they did shoot 39 percent. There were some unbelievable defensive possessions out there."
Maryland had a clear size advantage over Lafayette, allowing the Terps to outscore the Panthers 50-12 in the paint. Alex Len at times struggled, but still turned in a solid game, narrowly missing a double-double. Senior James Padgett had another solid game, and freshman Charles MItchell was impressive, going 4-5 from the field and 4-6 from the free-throw line. Maryland also out rebounded the Panthers 44-28.
Maryland stuck with the same starting line up they've been using the past few games, but the roles and playing times of each player are still being ironed out. Nine players logged 16 or more minutes and a 10th, Logan Aronhalt, finished with nine minutes. Junior Pe'Shon Howard continued to do a good job running the point, dishing out six assists and only turning the ball over twice.
"I think we're getting better every day" Nick Faust said. "As long as we keep working hard in practice, we'll be fine. We just need to listento coach and execute what he is saying and we'll be fine."
Multiple times, Maryland seemed as if they were putting Lafayette away for good. Five and half minutes into the 2nd half, the Terps had built a 19 point lead and it seemed as if the rout was on. But to their credit, the Panthers fought back, cutting the lead to 11 after scoring on three straight possessions. The game never seemed in doubt for Maryland, who never trailed, but the Terps were still unable to put Lafayette away.
Last year, this was a game Maryland would have really struggled to win. This season, that doesn't seem to be the case. Regardless, Maryland still has some work to do before conference play begins, but they're in a much better position then they were last season and for that, we can all be grateful.