The Maryland Terrapins showed their ability to hold a large lead on Saturday when they thumped the Virginia Tech Hokies, 80-60. The offense was clicking for most of the game and the Hokies offense failed to hit shots when they needed it the most, paving the way for the 20 point victory. Here is what we learned from the Terps thrashing of the Hokies.
Dez Wells is the catalyst of this team, and when he is firing, this team is hard to stop.
For weeks, Seth Allen was talked about as the catalyst of this Terps team, and that may be true to an extent, but this team needs Dez Wells to assert himself like he has the last two games. On Saturday, Wells scored 19 points on 6-9 shooting from the field, while making 7-8 from the charity stripe. When Wells is playing his game, he will draw a lot of fouls on the drive and head to the free throw line. With his strength, Wells has the ability to finish through the contact, converting three-point plays. Of course, Allen has helped with that since taking over the point. Wells no longer has to play the point at times, allowing him to play off the ball, contributing to his recent performances.
Wells also has shown that he can take the ball in the post and make the defense guess as to what he is going to do. With his ability to hit the turnaround jumper, he can fake that and attack the basket. To put it simply, Wells is playing good basketball right now, and if he continues to play at this level, the Terps may be able to contend in more games. It is tough to get too confident, given how the season has gone up to this point, but there are signs of hope.
Distribution is good with this team, and will result in better play.
There wasn't one player who jumped off the stat sheet from this game. That is a good thing. While 19 points from Wells will cause some looks, as well as the 16 from Seth Allen, there was an even distribution, for the most part, among the players. Just in scoring, Nick Faust and Jake Layman scored 10 points, Charles Mitchell added 8, and Evan Smotrycz added 9 of his own. No player had to carry this team, and for this team to compete against the top teams, they will need good all-around performances from the team. While this was only Virginia Tech and they are in the basement of the ACC, these are games that can help boost confidence among the team.
It is too early to assume that this is the way the team will play the rest of the way, but it was a good start considering the way things were trending.The Terps will be heading into a tough stretch where they will play UNC, Duke and Virginia, so they will need to bring their best game coming up.
Evan Smotrycz is getting better, and that is only good news.
While many have been critical of Evan Smotrycz (including myself), he has played considerably better in recent games. Even though he scored just nine points Saturday, he played well overall, hauling in five rebounds and shooting 50% from the field, something he wasn't doing for a while there. While his defense could use improvement, that is another area that has shown some improvement over the past few games, something needed in the post for the Terps. Smotrycz has been more selective in the shots he has taken. One has to wonder where it came from, whether it be from coach Mark Turgeon or himself, but the conscious decision he has made to take better shots is important for the team.
Whether this pay continues or not remains to be seen, but Smotrycz has played much better recently, and will be a key cog in the future success of the Terps.
- Shaq Cleare played just 10 minutes, picking up four fouls in that time. He will have to stay out of foul trouble heading forward.
- Dez Wells didn't start this game because he was late to breakfast. Wasn't serious, as he was put in the game less than a minute in.
- Roddy Peters has been struggling, and his minutes are dwindling. He played just 9 minutes Saturday.
- Nick Faust had a strong performance, making three of his four shots.