Preview: Maryland comes back home to face Florida Atlantic

Preview: Maryland comes back home to face Florida Atlantic
December 14, 2013, 9:30 am
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Midnight Madness returns to Cole Field House

(Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

VITALS

Date: 14 December 2013

Time: 2:00 p.m.

Location: Comcast Center, College Park, Md.

Television: CSN

Spread: Maryland (-18.0)

FAST BREAK PREVIEW

Maryland opened conference play on Thursday night with a win over Boston College, thanks in large part to a dominating career-high performance of 33 points from guard Dez Wells. The Terrapins now head back to Comcast Center to face Florida Atlantic before taking a week off for final exams.

Preview it below.

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MATCHUP TO WATCH

Florida Atlantic guard Pablo Bertone vs. Maryland guard Dez Wells

There will be points. Bertone is fresh off winning Conference USA Player of the Week and is averaging more than 25 points per game over his last four games. Wells, as was mentioned, scored a career-high 33 points in Maryland’s win over Boston College.

A native of Argentina, Bertone is a volume shooter who leads Florida Atlantic in scoring, despite shooting 41.9 percent from the floor and 29.3 percent from three-points range. Maryland’s perimeter defense, lapsing at times, will need to keep Bertone out of the paint and force him to settle for outside jump shots.

As for Wells, he should be able to take over if he wants on Saturday. His size should be a mismatch against smaller Florida Atlantic guards and his speed will be a problem if the Owls stick a forward on him. The question will be the amount of possessions that coach Mark Turgeon plays like Boston College, simply handing the ball to Wells and telling him to go to work.

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MARYLAND PLAYER TO WATCH

Jonathan Graham, Maryland

Graham has had a solid two-game stretch after struggling to crack the rotation throughout the early part of the season. In his time on the floor, he has brought energy and toughness to the low post and some length and athleticism that Maryland does not have with its other low-post options.

Saturday should give him another opportunity to log significant minutes.

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FLORIDA ATLANTIC PLAYER TO WATCH

Justin Raffington, forward

Another international import, Raffington is a pure low-post player. He is averaging 8.0 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, given plenty of opportunities to grab boards being that the Owls rank 256th in the nation in field goal percentage.

It will be the duty of Graham, Charles Mitchell, or Shaquille Cleare to defend him, mostly by closing out possessions with defensive rebounds. Earlier this season against a terrible rebounding team in Boston College, Raffington posted a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds.

INTANGIBLE TO CONSIDER

Maryland has been underwater when it comes to assist-to-turnover ratio and Turgeon says he doesn’t believe his team will ever average two assists to every turnover they commit. The Terrapins were in the red again against Boston College with six assists and 11 turnovers, but much of the second half was comprised of Dez Wells burning Eagle defenders one-on-one.

It will be point guard Roddy Peters’ job to inch closer to a one-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio. It is doable. It is feasible. It would help Maryland offense significantly, despite how the number would lag in comparison to the rest of the country.

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