Bench leads Maryland to 70-53 win over Georgia Southern

Bill Bride

Maryland's two leading scorers did not include Nick Faust, Alex Len, Dez Wells, or Seth Allen. Instead, two lower-profile offensive players grabbed the spotlight against Georgia Southern.

Maryland got some offense from unexpected places to help the Terrapins topple Georgia Southern.

Charles Mitchell came off the bench to lead the team with 13 points and 11 boards, the first of likely several double-doubles in his College Park career, while Logan Aronhalt fell in right behind him with 12 points, all coming from a 4-4 showing beyond the arc. Shaquille Cleare pitched in another 10 points, buttressing the productive starters - Nick Faust and Alex Len, namely - and helping to lead Maryland to a rather comfortable 70-53 victory.

The start was, as we're becoming accustomed to, somewhat slow for the Terrapins, shooting less than 40% from the field and turning the ball over 10 times in the first half. That let Georgia Southern hang around despite the Eagles slowing down after a blistering start, and gave the Terrapins only a three-point lead heading into the half.

But the second half was a more crisp affair, with a change in lineups resulting in a change in productivity. Mitchell, Aronhalt, Cleare, and Seth Allen each saw more of the court, and Maryland looked like a much more well-run machine: they shot 58% from the field - 17/29 - and grabbed another eight offensive rebounds to boot, all while cutting down their turnovers from ten in the first half to seven in the second. The ends result was a Maryland team that looked a lot more like what you want a Maryland team to look like.

And it's tough not to be intrigued by Turgeon's division of minutes, giving guys like Aronhalt, Cleare, Allen, and Mitchell - who led the team in minutes, actually - more burn than expected. Pe'Shon Howard had only three minutes of playing time in the entire second half; James Padgett, only seven. Surely the wider margin at the end of the game contributed to that, but it looks to me as if Turgeon's lineup tinkering may not yet be finished.

As a quick side note, it was hugely, hugely encouraging to see Aronhalt shoot as well as he did. A knock-down shooter from three changes the game for Maryland in so many ways; Aronhalt was the best shot at it, and today he delivered. N.C. State accommodates Scott Wood as a starter; Maryland can give Aronhalt 15 minutes a game in ACC play easily.

Looking ahead, the cupcakes aren't over, but they're at least taking a break. Next stop: Chicago and Northwestern. It's the first real test for the Terrapins post-Kentucky, and there's been enough up-and-down play early in the year that it'll be a truly interesting and telling barometer of where they stand at the moment.

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