Maryland started off 2013 with a win as they closed out the non-conference portion of their schedule, defeating IUPUI, 81-63 at the Comcast Center in College Park, MD. Maryland struggled in the early going, as head coach Mark Turgeon tweaked his starting line up again, starting freshman forward Charles Mitchell in place of senior James Padgett. For whatever reason, the Terps came out flat, missing their first three baskets as IUPUI jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead. Junior Pe'Shon Howard finally got Maryland on the board almost three minutes after the opening tip when he made a three point jumper.
Maryland continued to struggle much of the half as IUPUI continued an impressive offensive performance that allowed them to lead for the first 12 minutes of the game. It wasn't until Seth Allen made a layup with eight minutes left in the half that Maryland held their first lead of the game, which they'd never relinquish.
Showing what might be one of the Terps' greatest strengths this season, Mark Turgeon pulled his starters and replaced them with Logan Anonhalt, Seth Allen, Jake Layman, James Padgett, and Shaquille Cleare. Those players scored 17 points for Maryland, including back to back three pointers from freshman Seth Allen.
After that ugly start to the game, Maryland played much better in the second half, both offensively and defensively. They turned a seven point halftime lead into an 18 point win. Seth Allen led Maryland in scoring with 13 points. Logan Aronhalt finished with ten points and was the only other Maryland player in double figures. While no one player really dominated for Maryland, I think that shows the strength of this team. Eight players finished with at least seven points. Mitchell had 7, Dez Wells had 9, Alex Len had 9, Pe'Shon Howard had 8, James Padgett had 8, and Shaquille Cleare had 8, to go along with the double digit points of Aronhalt and Allen. There aren't too many teams in the country who have that many players who can score during a game.
"I'm really pleased with our depth" head coach Mark Turgeon said in his post-game press conference. "A lot of guys down 14-3 would be afraid to put in a bunch of freshman. We just put them in and they did great. Our depth is going to help us. It's nice when you say we're going to do this to start the second half and then one guy doesn't do it, well you just take them out because you have someone else to do it. It will get their attention. They'll start doing everything the way I want them to do it as time moves on."
Maryland now turns their attention to conference play, as they head into the ACC slate with a 12-1 record and on a 12 game winning streak. They take on Virginia Tech on Saturday at noon in College Park, followed by Florida State at home on January 9th.
"I feel good about going into league [play} because I think we're ready for it" head coach Mark Turgeon said. "We just haven't had a lot of close games. That would be my only concern heading into league play."
Aside from not really having many close games, sophomore Nick Faust has recently struggled, especially today, finishing with five turnovers and just five points.
"Nick didn't have his best game, five turnovers. It's either feast of famine for him" Turgeon said. "We've got to get Nick playing better.
We'll have more on Maryland and the upcoming ACC schedule in the coming days. Until then, enjoy the fact that the Terps are 12-1 and riding a 12 game win streak heading into ACC play.