There should have been an understanding weeks ago that Seth Allen’s return would not suddenly fix everything that ailed the Maryland Terrapins. His strong performance in his season debut against Tulsa did little to temper that notion.
But as Allen’s recovery has settled closer to a more normal trajectory, its beginning to become clear what other moving parts must improve before everything in College Park has synced properly.
Wednesday night’s 74-66 Maryland win over Notre Dame was a major step in the right direction, not only for the team as a whole, but for Allen individually as well.
“He’s still not in great shape, but you know where we was better? He was just better defensively,” Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon said. “He’s been such a liability on defense and he guarded [Notre Dame PG Eric] Atkins who is really, really good and did a great job on him most of the night, so that was big.”
Allen held Atkins to 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting from the floor, a night that also saw Atkins turn the ball over five times. That number is more than double his season average.
And that’s the biggest point of emphasis.
With a healing foot, Allen is not a lockdown defender. Without his lateral quickness, he is only so much of an upgrade defensively over freshman Roddy Peters.
Allen helped depth and added scoring by returning, but didn’t fix the major problem that reared its ugly head in the team’s blowout loss to Florida State and the first half of Wednesday’s game vs. Notre Dame--bad perimeter defense. That will still need work.
But Allen appears to be helping to chip away at Maryland’s other glaring problem, turnovers, not committing one in 27 minutes on the floor against Notre Dame while dishing out four assists.
Allen credits that to “getting more healthy” and “getting in more shape” after now being 10 weeks removed from surgery.
“He’s definitely the X-factor,” Turgeon said. “Hopefully he’ll be an X-factor on the road for us, that’s really where we need to be.”