The Terps faced their biggest challenge in ACC play as they took on the newcomers, the Pittsburgh Panthers, on Monday night. The Terps would challenge in the early going, trailing 36-30 at the half, but would eventually fall, 79-59. The loss takes the Terps to 10-6 overall, and 2-1 in conference play.
Here are three things we learned from the contest Monday night.
Evan Smotrycz can be a huge asset, but he can also be a liability.
Evan Smotrycz is a very talented player that adds a lot to the Terps' rotation. He is a stretch-4 with a smooth stroke, but he also looks to back his way to the rim and score. In the first half, he started the game 3-3 from three-point range, helping keep Maryland within a reasonable margin to come back from in hopes of winning the game, but the second half was a different story. Smotrycz would go 1-8 the rest of the way from three, mixing in bad shots from all over the court. If the Terps get the first half Smotrycz consistently, they can be a deadly team shooting. However, if the second half Smotrycz hangs around for too long, he can be a liability with poor shot selection.
Another problem for Smotrycz is he can play poorly on the defensive end, and get pushed around for rebounds. While Smotrycz is a talented player and will help the Terps heading forward, he must find a level of consistency and shake off his struggles in the second half.
Seth Allen is a much-improved player, and will change this team as he gets healthier.
This has been talked about a lot, but it is worth talking about every game. Seth Allen is a player that is growing as a player, and he is not 100% yet. Allen has not cracked the starting lineup, but once he is able to practice more and can stay in for extended minutes, expect him to take over the starting point guard position from freshman Roddy Peters.
Allen brings energy, speed, and athleticism to the position, along with the ability to knock down the three-point shot. Where Allen has shown big improvement is in his ball-handling and decision-making abilities. Allen, at times, seemed to lose the ball on the dribble last season, making some question his abilities as a point guard. That has shown significant improvement, and that was apparent Monday night against the Panthers. Allen may not have completely adjusted physically to playing each game for extended minutes, but it is already evident he is a game-changer for the Terps.
The big men need to get more involved on offense.
Between Jonathan Graham, Shaquille Cleare, and Charles Mitchell, the three went a combined 4-6 from the field for eight points. None of them shot any free throws, and Mitchell's only basket came on a tip-in on a missed shot. While Graham will never be known for his offensive prowess, the bigs need more touches on the offensive end to help out the offense. The more they can do, the more it will open things up for the guards to attack the rim and shoot open shots.
- After a mini hot-streak the past couple games, Nick Faust had his share of struggles, shooting 2-7 from the field for seven points.
- Dez Wells had four turnovers and struggled to attack the basket. His two shots made were mid-range shots.
- Mark Turgeon continued to show that he is not afraid to try whatever it takes to have success, giving Damonte Dodd some time when the Terps were pressing in zone. Dodd likely won't see much time, but Turgeon may turn to him when he needs a spark.
- After holding a rebounding advantage in the first half, the Terps failed to out-rebound the Panthers in the second half, with both teams finishing with 36 rebounds.