Welcome back to the Maryland men's basketball film room. After back to back losses, the Terps responded against La Salle on Tuesday night.
Despite runs throughout the game from the Explorers, Maryland controlled this one on both ends of the floor. However, the Terps continued to struggle to shoot the ball from deep, hitting on just 25% of their three-point attempts.
Juniors Eric Ayala and Aaron Wiggins both recorded season-high scoring totals with 23 and 15 points, respectively. The key for Maryland was taking care of the ball on the offensive end. The Terps only turned the ball over four times, the fewest the team has committed since 1993.
Now, let’s dive into the film.
Maryland had success moving the ball against a zone defense
La Salle tried to give Maryland multiple looks defensively and was consistently switching from a 2-3 zone defense to a man-to-man look. Despite poor shooting from the outside, Maryland had success against the 2-3 zone.
Maryland is running classic zone offense with three guys on the perimeter, one in the high post and the fifth guy in the short corner, always on the side of the ball. Maryland pops the ball around the perimeter a few times, which shifts the defense. This allows Donta Scott to find space in the short corner behind the defense.
Ayala delivers an excellent pass to him right on the baseline. Senior forward Galin Smith then does exactly what he should, which is dive to the rim. Scott is patient, surveys the floor with his eyes, which shifts the defense again, and delivers a feed to Smith inside for the two handed jam.
Here, La Salle is in another zone look, but many defenders are out of position. No one for the Explorers is covering Jairus Hamilton on the high post. Whenever you can get the ball to the high post as an offensive team, it is golden.
When Hamilton receives the ball, he faces the basket and at that point, La Salle’s big man is left in the paint all alone as a defender in a 1-on-2 situation. He has to decide whether to commit to Hamilton or stay back with Scott who is lurking on the block. By the time Hamilton turns, he sees space and decides to shoot the jumper, which he knocks down.
This is incredibly simple zone offense from the Terps, but it was effective against the Explorers defense.
Maryland attacks the zone in a different way in the clip above. Maryland does a good job of penetrating and finding open gaps in the zone. Wiggins tries to get down hill and almost loses his dribble before finding a cutting Ayala in the middle of the zone. This forces La Salle’s defense, particularly the low block defenders to converge on Ayala. Ayala then kicks it out to an open Scott on the wing who connects from deep.
Even though Maryland’s offense struggled to knock down threes again, the Terps are much more efficient when they are patient on offense and move the ball unselfishly. That type of offensive display can be attributed to the historically low turnover numbers they produced.
Aaron Wiggins stepped up in a big way
Coming into the season with lofty expectations, Wiggins had been struggling. However, Wiggins reminded everyone why the expectations were justified on Tuesday when he showed out against La Salle.
It starts on the defensive end for Wiggins, where he has all the intangibles — long arms, quick hands and feet and athleticism.
In this clip, Wiggins simply reads the passer and quickly reacts by jumping in the passing lane and taking it the other way for a dunk. When other things might not be going your way, sometimes a quick little burst such as this one, where defense leads to offense, can be a good confidence booster.
Wiggins has been in a shooting slump to start the season, connecting on only 25% of his attempts from three-point range. However, in this clip, Wiggins comes off of the screen-handoff from Scott and confidently steps into the one-dribble three ball and drains it (even though the clip cuts off).
If Wiggins can get back to where he was as a three-point shooter his freshman year, making 40% of his threes while shooting four per game, he would undoubtedly become the go-to option for Turgeon.
This is another example of Wiggins stellar play against La Salle. Wiggins goes down hill to his left before coming to a two-foot jump stop. He uses good footwork to create space and knock down a turnaround jumper, a move he loves to utilize. When Wiggins has this attacking mindset and gets to his spots, there are few defenders who can stick with him.
As the Terps enter an extremely tough stretch of Big Ten opponents, Wiggins will need to keep this aggressiveness up and play at a high level for the Terps to win some conference matchups.
Terps bench contributed on both ends of the floor against the Explorers
The bench production from certain guys on the Terps was phenomenal against the Explorers and allowed Turgeon to feel more comfortable with his second unit. Hakim Hart and Jairus Hamilton both scored double-digit points and Chol Marial had two good defensive shifts.
There was a ton of buzz coming into the season about Hakim Hart. He struggled his freshman season in limited minutes, but has been a bright spot for this years squad.
The sophomore from Philadelphia is known as a three-point threat, and when he is hot, he can certainly knock down the long ball. However, he struggled to shoot the ball against La Salle, going 1-for-6 from deep. Hart showcased his ability to get to the rim and make an impact, even when his shot is not falling.
Ayala kicks to Hart in the corner and the Explorer defender closes out hard, most likely because Hart is on scouting reports as a three-point threat. Hart shot fakes and blows by the defender. He uses his length to get all the way to the basket for an easy lay-in. Hart finished the game with 13 points.
This is a clip of Hamilton giving his defender a strong jab. His defender reacts by backing up on his heels, creating enough space for Hamilton to shoot and sink the three-ball.
Hamilton has proven to be a force on the inside who can also step out and shoot. This was one of the two three-pointers Hamilton made in this game. He finished with 10 points.
Chol Marial has not consistently been in Turgeon’s rotation this season. He is often out of place and struggles to find a role offensively. While he did not contribute in the scoring column in this game, Marial showed what he can bring defensively with these two blocks.
It would be remiss to have a film breakdown from this game without showing the incredible dunk from Donta Scott. The timing, the bounce, the execution, the bench reaction, everything about it is fantastic. There is a reason it was the top play on SportsCenter. So here it is from two different angles to watch again and again.