Seth Allen is the glue that holds this team together
Seth Allen didn't score 15 points like he did against Tulsa, his first game back after suffering a foot injury back in October, but he still played 20 minutes, hit two three pointers and dished out four assists. Seth's presence on the court allows many other Maryland players to play their more natural positions and takes the pressure off those who might have been trying to do too much earlier in the season. It's also important to remember that Seth is still getting back up to game speed, so once he's 100%, he could potentially have an even great impact on this team moving forward. If Maryland were to make a run to the NCAA tournament, it will be important for the selection committee to see how different this team is with and without Allen.
When asked about whether Allen's return makes all the difference for this team, head coach Mark Turgeon responded with "I think it is. It gives us all confidence, it give us depth."
Turgeon also elaborated about how it's not just what Allen does on the court, but how that impacts the rest of the team.
"The defense is nice. I know offensively we're going to get better as Seth [Allen] gets closer to healthy," Turgeon said. "And our post play gets better. It was good. And our rebounding, after the first five, six minutes our rebounding was terrific."
"Nick [Faust] was terrific. There's less pressure on everybody. There's less pressure on Nick. There's less pressure on Dez [Wells]. There's less pressure on Jake [Layman]. All because Seth's back. Seth can score and Seth can do a lot of things. Less pressure on Roddy [Peters]. Roddy can just play and do what he does. And less pressure on our post guys, Evan [Smotrycz]. And I think it's given us all confidence. It's that simple
Good things happen when Nick Faust plays under control
Nick Faust has had an up and down season to this point, but recently, he's played with much more control, not forcing shots, and the end result has been that he's producing at the level many expected from the junior.
"I think Nick's just going out and doing what he's been taught to do and he's doing it well right now," Turgeon said. "I'm really happy for him because he didn't shoot the ball well early in the season. Now he's starting to shoot it and it's really helping our team."
Faust finished with a game-high 19 points, including 6-6 from the free throw line. He also had nine assists, an assist and a block.
Center by committee approach
First, let me preface this by saying I'm using the term "center" loosely; Maryland doesn't really have a true center on this team. But someone has to play at the five and it appears that person is in flux, at least for now. In Tuesday's game, Jonathan Graham got his first start at Maryland, one game after freshman Damonte Dodd started in place of Shaq Cleare. Graham scored six points and grabbed three boards, but only played 14 minutes. Charles Mitchell, who only played eight minutes against Tulsa, played 22 minutes on Tuesday, pulling down seven rebounds and scoring five points in route to leading Maryland in +/- with a +32. The next closest players were Seth Allen and Jake Layman, who each had +18.
Shaq Cleare, who seemed pretty cemented as Maryland's starting center, despite some offensive struggles, has seen the court a total of 13 minutes over his past two games.
Mark Turgeon seemed to indicate that he's going to give minutes to the players working the hardest. As a result, it seems that's sparked other players to start working harder, too.
"It's amazing what the bench does to you," Turgeon said following Tuesday's win over N.C. Central. " The two guys working the hardest in the gym yesterday were Shaq [Cleare] and Charles [Mitchell]. They stayed after and worked. Shaq didn't get as much chance as Charles did tonight, but there's competition there now instead of just giving minutes to certain guys."
A few other notes and observations:
- It was nice to see Maryland able to empty their bench for once. That has certainly been a rare site this season.
- Jake Layman, after a hot start, has really cooled down. Hopefully he can heat back up soon.
- Despite what amounts to a very solid win over a talented and veteran N.C. Central team, Maryland still needs to reduce their turnovers, after giving the ball away 16 times on Tuesday.
- Maryland did a great job defensively on Jeremy Ingram, holding one of the nation's top scorers to just 11 points on 4/19 shooting.
- Nick Faust's breakaway dunk = $$$