Midnight Madness returns to Cole Field House
COLLEGE PARK--It has been trial and error so far for coach Mark Turgeon as he tries to find the answer at point guard while expected starter Seth Allen continues to recover from surgery to repair a broken bone in his foot.
First, the logic was that junior Dez Wells would be best-suited, a natural leader who is most effective with the ball in his hands.
The results were mixed, with Turgeon saying he lost “half of Dez” by moving him to the lead guard spot, essentially stifling his ability to attack the basket off the dribble because he had been tasked with running the offense.
Then Turgeon tried freshman Roddy Peters, starting him during the team’s trip to the Virgin Islands. The result was a team that appeared more fluid offensively, but more deficient on the defensive end where Peters is still finding his footing.
Turgeon even experimented with D-III transfer Varun Ram, starting him in the second half on the road against Ohio State and to begin the game on Sunday against George Washington. Ram was unable to get off the ground, picking up two fouls within the first two minutes of the game.
Now Turgeon is back to the drawing board and he has a conclusion.
“Roddy right now is our best option,” he told the media on Wednesday as Maryland prepares for Boston College. “I think it’s pretty clear cut.”
Peters is averaging 6.2 points, 3.3 assists, and 2.8 turnovers in 19.7 minutes per game. The problem with Peters comes on the defensive end, where he continues to be a liability.
“Roddy’s our best point guard ... offensively and he’s getting better defensively,” Turgeon said. “He’s concentrating on it. I loved the way he finished the game [against George Washington]. He stepped up and made those free throws like he was just shooting in the park or shooting in and empty gym ... I was really proud of him.“
The commitment to Peters at point guard will hopefully begin to solve Maryland’s turnover issues.
The Terrapins currently ranks 247th in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio with 0.85 assists/turnover. If the team were able to maintain Peters’ overall ratio of about 1.18-to-1, it would vault the Terrapins up into the high 70s nationally.
“I don’t think we’re a two-to-one [assist-to-turnover] team,” Turgeon said. “I don’t know if we’re capable of that … A lot of our points have been coming on fast breaks and second-chance points, so it’s hard to get assists there. It’s got to be close to even.”
If that gets remedied, then the chain reaction begins. Wells would be given more time off the ball where he is most effective. That would mean more made baskets, which would give Maryland more opportunities to press like it did against George Washington, which means more turnovers and more baskets.
Peters next test won’t be an easy one, as he faces Boston College sophomore Oliver Hanlan. Hanlan is averaging 19.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game.
Tip is at 7 p.m. on Thursday in Chestnut Hill, Mass.