Turgeon not pleased with 1st half effort against UConn
Connecticut 78, Maryland 77
We saw every version of Dez Wells on Friday night in Brooklyn.
First was the experienced junior in a new role, slotted in at point guard after the injury to starter Seth Allen, struggling to find his footing and turning the ball over four times in the first half.
Then we saw the more confident Wells in the second half, hitting a jumper off a spin move in the lane with 0:39 to play to cut what had been a 17-point deficit down to just one point, 78-77.
But next came the overconfident Wells, the step beyond the dominating game-changer, for the games' final two Maryland possessions.
With 0:14 to play after a missed Connecticut one-and-one and the game still within one point, Wells took the ball to the rim and missed a floater off the glass that was corralled for the rebound by the Huskies.
Another missed front-end of a one-and-one by Connecticut gave Wells another shot for the win. His contested jumpshot from the right wing was off and coach Kevin Ollie’s team would hold on, 78-77.
WELLS UP-AND-DOWN AT PG
Pressure on the ball from Connecticut disrupted Dez Wells early, forcing him into four first-half turnovers. Perhaps more importantly, though, by running Wells out of position and in control of the team, Maryland missed out on the off-ball production that typically drives the Terrapins’ offense.
He attempted just three shots in the first half, which was nearly the opposite of what Turgeon stressed following the team’s exhibition against Catholic.
Turgeon started Nick Faust and Roddy Peters at point guard to begin the second half and with mixed results.
Wells found more of a groove in the second half and finished with 13 points, seven rebounds, and six assists, but was also just 3-of-10 from the field and had six turnovers.
APPLY PRESSURE TO STOP BLEEDING
Turgeon said in the preseason that fears about hand-checking fouls and his team’s lack of depth would keep the Terrapins from using as many full-court press schemes as they did last season.
But the defensive pressure was the key to Maryland’s second-half comeback. After the Connecticut lead reached 17 points, Turgeon’s press sparked an 11-0 run that made the game manageable. Down the stretch, Connecticut turned the ball over four times in a six-possession stretch that allowed Maryland to hang around.
TURNOVERS HURT EARLY
The quickness of Connecticut’s backcourt gave Maryland, and Wells in particular, fits to begin the game. At one point, the Terrapins turned the ball over on three straight possessions, which led to run-outs and easy baskets in transition.
Multiple runs by the Terrapins were lost quickly because turnovers would strike again, most noticeably in the second half with just over 17 minutes to play and the game within eight points.
Turnovers and missed shots allowed Connecticut to balloon the lead to 17 points over the next 5:13 of the game. Maryland would finish with 13 turnovers.
EVAN SMOTRYCZ SOLID IN DEBUT
Stagnated by turnovers and the lack of a true point guard, Maryland’s offense ran into trouble on Friday night, but Smotrycz was its most consistent asset.
He finished with 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-5 from three-point range.
Nick Faust had 17 points to lead the team, but it came on 5-of-18 shooting from the floor.