Preview: Maryland welcomes pesky mid-major Boston University

Preview: Maryland welcomes pesky mid-major Boston University
December 21, 2013, 6:00 am
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Turgeon bans Christmas before game vs. BU

(USA TODAY Sports)

VITALS

Date: 21 December 2013

Time: 1:00 p.m.

Location: Comcast Center, College Park, Md.

Television: ESPN3

Spread: N/A

FAST BREAK PREVIEW

Maryland has had a week to recuperate and take final exams before Saturday’s matchup against Boston University, a pesky mid-major team that was picked to win the Patriot League in the preseason.

The Terriers are driven by guard play and their perimeter offense, something that Maryland has had difficulty defending against at different points throughout the season. BU played George Washington tough before ultimately losing, 70-60, on Dec. 11.

You’ll remember that GW had beaten Maryland just three days earlier on Dec. 8.

Preview BU-Maryland below.

[RELATED: Turgeon bans Christmas until after BU game]

MATCHUP TO WATCH

BU guard Maurice Watson vs. Maryland guard Roddy Peters

This will be Peters’ best test so far as Maryland’s full-time starting point guard. Watson, a 5-10, 165-pound sophomore, is an efficient and effective ball handler who leads his team in both scoring and assists, with 14.6 points and 6.5 assists per game.

Peters has been lacking but nevertheless improving on the defensive end. On Saturday afternoon, he’ll have to bring it to stop Watson. His length will be to his advantage, though the quickness and control in Watson’s game won’t make it easy.

[RELATED: Is Roddy Peters the ‘clear cut’ option at PG?]

MARYLAND PLAYER TO WATCH

Shaquille Cleare, center

Cleare had his best game of the season last weekend against Florida Atlantic, registering 10 points and five rebounds. His approach was different, countering the FAU zone by sitting on the baseline and waiting for a pass from a driving guard or wing.

It worked and Maryland will likely see more zone on Saturday. So does the plan stay the same?

If Cleare can keep his hands up and be prepared to take one step and attack the basket, he could continue to get into a groove that he has yet to find so far this season. If not, look for Jonathan Graham to get more minutes off the bench as Maryland experiments with a longer, more athletic lineup from time to time.

[RELATED: Rivalry between Cleare, Mitchell forcing progress for Terps]

BOSTON UNIVERSITY PLAYER TO WATCH

Dom Morris, forward

Morris is the team’s second-leading scorer and top rebounder. He’s not exceptionally tall, only 6-7, but is carrying around 240 pounds that he likes to throw around in the post. BU likes running screens and motion to get him open, including running a two-man game between Morris and Watson.

It will be up to Maryland forward Charles Mitchell to help slow him down, along with Graham when he is in the game.

INTANGIBLE TO CONSIDER

Maryland allows guards to score a lot of points. Take a look at the totals that guards have put up against the Terrapins this season.

Pablo Bertone had 21 for Florida Atlantic. Olivier Hanlan had 26 for Boston College. Maurice Creek had 25 for GW. Bryce Cotton had 19 for Providence. Roberto Nelson had 31 for Oregon State. Shabazz Napier had 18.

Going up against Watson a D.J. Irving, a very good guard tandem for BU, Maryland will need to be better on the perimeter. The more these two get into the lane, the worse it will be for the Terrapins. Force the Terriers outside because they shoot just 33 percent from three-point range.

It starts with Peters and moves out from there.

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