COLLEGE PARK--Through two games, facing a sizeable front line has not been something for which Maryland and coach Mark Turgeon have had to game plan. Yes, there was Connecticut freshman seven-footer Amida Brimah who swatted three Terrapin shots in 15 minutes on the floor, but especially offensively, there have been no real threats.
It’s worth noting that Abilene Christian started three players who were six feet tall or shorter in Maryland’s win over the Wildcats on Wednesday.
But that will change on Sunday when Oregon State comes to town, a team that has the depth to play big and very well could against the Terrapins.
Center Angus Brandt, a 6-10, 246-pound native of Australia, is back and healthy after missing the majority of the 2012 season with a knee injury. He can be paired with 6-8 Devon Collier, another experienced senior and able rebounder.
“It depends if they start Collier,” Turgeon said on Friday. “If they start them it’s a big lineup, a big strong lineup. Evan [Smotrycz] is 6-9 and, you know, Shaq [Cleare] is a big, strong kid so we have a plan of what we’re going to do.”
Collier did not play in the team’s first game, a loss to Coppin State, but had a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds against Portland.
“I think you could see us, especially with their zone, I think you could see the big lineup for us,” Turgeon continued. “I don’t want to guarantee it because you never know what’s going to happen. I didn’t think we were going to be down one at halftime the other night and we were.
“You might see the bigger lineup for us, Charles [Mitchell] and Shaq playing together more in the game. That’s not a promise. It’s just a possibility.”
Mitchell has been a worker down low for Maryland through two games, averaging 13.5 points and 7.0 rebounds. He came off the bench in both games, but could start on Sunday.
Cleare, on the other hand, has yet to hit his stride. Both Turgeon and Cleare insist that the injuries that hampered him in the offseason are all but in the past, but numbers are lagging. Cleare is averaging 2.5 points and 1.5 rebounds per game and turned the ball over three times against Abilene Christian in 13 minutes.
But keep an eye out for him, Turgeon says.
“I’m just telling you guys, it’s coming,” Turgeon told the media on Friday. “He keeps getting better in practice and I’ve done this long enough to know it’s going to carry over. I just hope it’s going to be Sunday at 6 o’clock. He needs some confidence.”