Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Offense awakens against Demon Deacons

It didn't turn out to be much of a contest between Maryland and Wake Forest last week. Coming off a dispiriting loss to Duke Maryland, led by Jordan Williams' 27 points and 15 rebounds, rolled past hapless Wake Forest with relative ease. The Deacons shot fairly well for the game, at nearly a 46% clip, but couldn't keep from turning the ball over 19 times and that was their ultimate undoing. Enjoying a large lead Maryland's defense slackened in the 2nd half allowing Wake Forest to score with regularity in the last 10 minutes. The rebounding for Maryland was solid as they posted 18 offensive rebounds, most since snaring 22 against Wake Forest in Winston Salem. The defense caused turnovers but was spotty throughout the game in allowing the Demon Deacons to score 70 points even though they turned the ball over 19 times (26% of their possessions) and only managed 13 assists.

The offense for Maryland was humming through most of the game mostly due to Jordan Williams and Wake Forest's inability to slow him down. Pe'Shon Howard got another start as Gary Williams seems to be content to switch out his freshmen as matchups dictate. Terrell Stoglin had started four straight games and eight of the last nine before coming off the bench against Wake Forest. Howard ran the offense well with 8 assists, Bowie also had 6 assists and Stoglin had 5, and only one turnover but his shooting continues to be a trouble spot (3/10 for the game) and he missed several easy shots around the basket. Given how poor a defensive team Wake Forest is it probably isn't worth reading too much into Howard's performance. He also played well against Wake the first meeting with 5 assists and no turnovers but followed that with two terrible efforts against Virginia Tech and Clemson. It is interesting that he played 32 minutes, a career high for the frosh, so perhaps Gary Williams intends to make this a more permanent replacement. Howard has not played well against the better ACC opponents so far this season and doesn't provide the potential scoring that Stoglin can so it will be worth following the two and their playing time against Boston College.

Hawk Palsson had a noteworthy game with 9 points and 3 rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench. Williams seems to be developing more confidence in Palsson as the season progresses and the freshmen continues to have a significant role off the bench. With Sean Mosley's continued struggles on offense I expect Palsson will gain more playing time if he can continue to produce like he did against Wake Forest. Again the Deacons are so bad that we'll have to take the performances of some of the players with a grain of salt. This Maryland team needs all the offense it can get and from any source so if a player is producing points it will be hard to put them on the bench.

James Padgett has struggled a bit lately and this was the kind of game you would hope he could come in and get some meaningful minutes. Unfortunately he only got on the floor for four minutes and didn't look all that great when he did. His rebounding and defense need to improve if he is going to see more minutes.

Jordan Williams may have turned the corner with his free throw shooting. The last three games Williams is hitting 72% of his attempts (24/33) and if he can keep that up the Terps might just be able to ride him to the NCAA Tournament.

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