Dez Wells on Terps comeback: We fought 'til the end
COLLEGE PARK--Put the Maryland team that showed up for the first half of Wednesday’s game against Notre Dame side-by-side with the Maryland team that showed up for the second and you’d never think the two were made up of the same collection of players.
A first half plagued by poor shooting and porous defense gave way to a second half that began on an 8-0 Maryland run, full of energy and a determination unseen in some time in a 74-66 Terrapin win at Comcast Center in College Park.
Charles Mitchell and Dez Wells were the offensive catalysts in the second half that the Terrapins so badly needed in the first. Mitchell 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds, a big part of a massive 18-4 Maryland run to climb back into the game in the final 20 minutes.
Wells went scoreless in the first half, but went 11-of-11 from the free throw line in the second to finish with 17 points.
Read more analysis below.
Maryland 74, Notre Dame 66
UNLEASH THE CHARLES
Notre Dame allowed this game to stay close. Having shot 58 percent from the floor in the first half while Maryland tried desperately to keep its head above water at 32.4 percent. That said, the Irish led by just nine points at halftime.
Something changed in Maryland’s locker room and Maryland’s game plan to start the second half. It began with Charles Mitchell, who scored six points in the course of a minute early in the second, part of a larger 18-4 Terrapin run over the first 10 minutes of the final half.
He finished with 10 points and seven rebounds.
ONE WELLS, ANOTHER WELLS
Dez Wells struggled in the first half. He had no points, shot 0-of-6 from the floor, and missed two free throws. Mark Turgeon said after the game that during halftime, he simply told Wells that he would need to play better for the Terrapins to win the game.
Wells shifted into another gear and was aggressive in attacking the basket on his way to 17 points on the night, including 11-of-13 shooting from the free-throw line.
UNCHARACTERISTIC NOTRE DAME TURNOVERS
Notre Dame came into Wednesday night’s game ranked 17th in the nation, committing just 10.2 turnovers per game. The Irish had 12 by the 17-minute mark of the second half and finished the game with 17.
Though they shot well from the floor, that rash of turnovers allowed Maryland to keep it close by halftime and ultimately pull back into it and take the lead in the second half.
ALL OF THE THREES
It was evident from the outset that the offensive plan against Notre Dame’s zone was to shoot their way out of it. As was mentioned above, Maryland shot 3-of-16 from deep through the first 20 minutes.
Out of the gate, it was close. Maryland led, 12-11, with 14:24 to play in the first half. But a cold stretch from the outside allowed Notre Dame to rip off a 15-2 run over the next 6:18 seconds, flipping a one-point Irish deficit into a 12-point lead.
That changed in the second half, as Maryland drove more to the basket and worked off of offensive rebounds. Less three meant more offensive success.
NONE OF THE DEFENSE (EARLY)
For the most part, Notre Dame’s offensive sets were not complicated. The Irish made use of 6-11 center Garrick Sherman, running him block to block while moving the ball around the perimeter.
That would create one of three things. Either the Irish would have an open shot on the perimeter, an isolation for Sherman in the paint, or an open driving lane to the hoop for one of their guards or wings. Whichever it was, it was a high percentage shot and one that Maryland had trouble defending.
Pat Connaughton was Notre Dame’s biggest threat from the outside, whether in designed sets in the half court or as a trailing three-point shooter in transition. He had 15 points in the first half and finished with 19 on the game.
But the second half was different.
After shooting 58 percent from the floor in the first, the Irish shot just 10-of-26 in the second.
SETH ALLEN STARTS
Sophomore point guard Seth Allen had come off the bench in every game since his return from surgery to repair a broken bone in his foot. He started for the first time on Wednesday night and finished with 14 points and four assists.