Terps claim another home win

Terps claim another home win
November 20, 2012, 11:30 pm

It was almost as if the Maryland Terrapins sent a couple of subtle messages to Terp Nation with their 83-74 non-conference win over the Lafayette Leopards at Comcast Center Tuesday evening.

The first was a reminder of the general youth and inexperience of their team. While they scored easily throughout the night, their efforts against a more experienced and unorthodox Lafayette team on the defensive end were much more inconsistent and maddening. At one point,  Maryland’s second team – all five of them freshman – was unceremoniously yanked off the court by head coach Mark Turgeon after they allowed the Leopards to score eight consecutive points after the first team had built a commanding 19 point lead early in the second half.

The second was a reminder of the formidable talent on this team and how their size and depth allows them to overcome superlative efforts from the other team.

Lafayette entered the game on the heels of a pair of disappointing efforts in losses at Kentucky and Morehead State. Even with those losses, the Leopards were able to shoot a very healthy percentage from the three-point line. Their problems had come with turning the ball over. In the game tonight at Comcast they turned the ball over only seven times and seemed to get a number of great looks from the perimeter with an unconventional offensive approach.

For the game the visitors shot a ridiculous 15-32 from behind the arc. Every time Maryland was on the verge of putting this game in the bag, Lafayette would string together a couple of long range bombs and force the 10,000 plus fans to stay for the duration of the game. Plenty of the shots were contested but the fact that Lafayette ran their offense so comfortably had to be a source of concern for Turgeon and his staff.

Even with the onslaught of three pointers, the Terps were never really threatened and they seemed to have the game in hand throughout. That was due in large part to an overwhelming rebounding advantage (43-23) and 50 points in the paint. As usual, Maryland was led by sophomore center Alex Len with 16 points and 8 rebounds. Two power forwards – senior James Padgett and freshman Charles Mitchell – combined for 26 points and 9 rebounds from that spot.

After the game, Turgeon implored Maryland fans not to “put the cart before the horse” when it came to proclamations about how good his team might be. He recognizes that this group is very much a work in progress and remains concerned about their ability to practice at a high level on a regular basis.  

Even with that Turgeon has been around more than enough to understand that it’s a lot more fun to impart object lessons regarding focus and concentration after a win than a loss. Games like this will almost certainly get his players attention. In the locker room after the game the head coach looked like a man who was pleased to have the events of the last few days in his rear-view mirror.

For all of the drama of the last few days and the University’s decision to move to the Big Ten Conference Turgeon must have been relieved to have a game roll around where he could continue to cobble together the team he believes this group can become.