Midnight Madness returns to Cole Field House
Maryland 84, Catholic 39
COLLEGE PARK--What can we know from an exhibition against a Division III opponent whose starting center was only a few inches taller than Maryland’s starting point guard?
Not enough to draw any hard, long-lasting conclusions, but what we did see on Sunday was Maryland’s first opportunity to play against someone other than, well, themselves.
After struggling early with turnovers, the Terrapins settled down to cruise to an 84-39 win at Comcast Center in College Park on Sunday afternoon.
Sophomore forward Jake Layman led all scorers with 23 points, including 5-of-7 shooting from three-point range.
Sunday afforded Maryland its first opportunity to hand Dez Wells the reins of the offense at point guard. He shared time with Roddy Peters and D-III transfer Varun Ram on his way to seven points on 3-of-4 shooting, adding three assists and turning the ball over twice.
Take a look below at notes from Sunday’s exhibition win:
JAKE LAYMAN EMERGING
As the Terrapins struggled with turnovers before the under-16 timeout of the first half, they were failing to involve the two most important new assets to this offense--three-point shooters Jake Layman and Evan Smotrycz.
Layman took control in the minutes that followed. He hit three straight three-pointers. One was off an inside-out dish from forward Charles Mitchell, the next was on the fastbreak, and the third was catching a pass off of a screen.
After hitting those shots from the perimeter, he drove down the lane and hit a floater to make it 11 straight points that he had scored for the Terrapins.
He finished with 23 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including a 5-of-7 mark from three-point range.
TURNOVERS A PROBLEM, THEN NOT AS MUCH
Maryland experimented early with a 4-out set on the perimeter offensively and struggled to get much going, turning the ball over four times on the team’s first six possession.
But as Jake Layman found his stroke from three-point range and the Terrapins warmed up in transition, the turnovers decreased. Maryland turned it over just twice more in that half and finished with 13.
Roddy Peters looked more comfortable in the half-court than he has in the past, but still plays best in transition. He changes speeds well for a guard who is so young, typically bodes well for a fastbreak-oriented player.
DAMONTE DODD DOING WHAT IS ASKED
We’re not entirely sure how 6-11 freshman Damonte Dodd fits into the Maryland puzzle this season, but what he showed on Sunday was promising.
Coming off the bench to replace a winded Charles Mitchell, Dodd filled the “energy guy” role as well as Turgeon could have asked. On one sequence, he grabbed a defensive rebound and starting the fastbreak, then grabbed a miss and put it back for two points on the offensive end. The next time down, he ended a possession with another rebound and started the break.
Added to that, he blocked two shots.
Dodd brings to the table what Shaquille Cleare and Michell do not--explosive athleticism in the paint. Mitchell and Cleare are good rebounders and space-eaters, but Dodd can get off the floor, block shots, and run the floor stride-for-stride with the guards.
He finished with four points, eight rebounds, and two blocks.
CHARLES MITCHELL DOING WORK
Head coach Mark Turgeon praised Mitchell for his commitment to losing weight in the offseason and the trend has continued into the preseason.
Turgeon says that Mitchell has lost another eight pounds in the past two weeks, making him more mobile, explosive, and well-conditioned. It showed on Sunday.
He struggled to find his shot early, starting 2-of-7 from the floor, but continued to fight for position and eventually finished with a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Granted, Catholic doesn’t have the size on the interior of teams in the ACC or even at the low Division I level, but it is a step in the right direction for the sophomore.
Maryland is less than one week away from its season opener against No. 18 Connecticut, which takes place Friday, Nov. 8 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.