Midnight Madness returns to Cole Field House
COLLEGE PARK--The narrative began to take root with Maryland’s loss to Oregon State on Nov. 17. Like any good legend, it grew with time and desperation as losses to Ohio State, George Washington, and Boston University followed.
The return of injured sophomore point guard Seth Allen would fix everything, supposedly. Just like that, the debut of a player who had been sitting out for between eight and 10 weeks and who averaged 7.8 points and 2.3 assists per game last season would set train moving in the right direction.
It didn’t help in regards to the growth of the narrative when Allen returned after just eight weeks on Sunday night in a win over Tulsa, looking strong and scoring 15 points in 21 minutes on the floor.
So when Allen wasn’t as explosive in Tuesday’s win over NC Central with six points and four assists, it should have brought something of a soft reality check. Allen’s recovery will take time and he’s not yet at full strength.
“I think Seth’s probably three weeks away from being 100 percent,” head coach Mark Turgeon said after Tuesday’s win over NC Central. “I mean, let’s be realistic.”
“He wasn’t the same kid today, so everybody’s got to understand that. To me he limped more today than he did the other night ... He still did some things. He’s not finishing around the rim like he’ll finish and all that kind of stuff.”
Even without Allen at full strength, though, he’s making an impact. Changes are as much tangible as they are intangible, beyond whatever he racks up in the points and assists columns.
We saw it on the defensive end on Tuesday night, not because Allen was a shutdown defender, but because Maryland’s rotations are starting to become more normalized.
NC Central mustered 56 points and shots 32.7 percent from the field. That was, in part, because the Eagles were not hitting shots. But Maryland also held Jeremy Ingram, the nation’s third-leading scorer, to just 11 points on 4-of-19 shooting from the floor.
“Is it as simple as just one more player? I think it is,” Turgeon said. “It gives us all confidence. it gives us depth. Guys don’t have to play. I can actually take guys out for making mistakes defensively, hold them more accountable.”
Turgeon hopes the combination of two games playing 20+ minutes, plus two days of rest, and two more days of practice will help Allen transition to ACC play.
The Terrapins host Georgia Tech on Jan. 4.