Thoughts on Maryland’s 71-62 loss to Illinois in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge:
Maryland faced their first real home test of the season as they went to battle with Illinois in the friendly confines of Comcast Center as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
They played their best half of basketball to date in the first 20 minutes against the Illini. Maryland ran their offensive sets, fed the ball into the post and rebounded extremely well. For the most part, they looked like an extremely well coached team that could make some noise this season.
Then came the second half.
The Terps were beat soundly on the boards and couldn’t buy a basket in the second half. Instead of consistently running the offense and feeding the ball into the low post, players were forcing bad shots and trying to create on their own. This was most evident in Maryland’s 2 assists and 5 turnovers in the second half.
With all of that said, Maryland is young and inexperienced and this game should be used as a learning experience. With the addition of Alex Len and Pe’Shon Howard this team has the potential to be pretty darn good. Some addition observations:
REBOUNDING: A TALE OF TWO HALVES
For 20 minutes Maryland held the edge on the boards versus an excellent rebounding Illinois team which includes one of the best big men in the country in 7-1 center Leonard Myers. At the conclusion of the first half Maryland held a 17-15 edge on the glass, Mychal Parker leading the way with 4 rebounds. The second half, however, was another story altogether with Illinois holding a substantial 22 to 14 edge on the glass including several critical offensive rebounds. In particular, Illinois’ guards combined for 13 of those 22 rebounds. Losing on the boards is one thing, but allowing an opponents guards to dominate the glass is simply inexcusable.
FREE THROWS REMAIN AN ISSUE
Maryland shot a not-so-hot 15 of 25 (60%) from the free throw line versus the Illini. And while Maryland got a surprising 6-9 from the line from James Padgett, guards Nick Faust and Terrell Stoglin struggled. Faust in particular seemed to rush his shots from the line. Stoglin meanwhile had his second straight poor performance from the line. For the season, Maryland is now shooting an abysmal 59.4 percent from the charity stripe, ranking them 312 nationally. Maryland simply has to find a way to improve those numbers if they want to win big ballgames.
AN ASSERTIVE SEAN MOSLEY
For the Terps to be at their best, they need solid contributions from senior Sean Mosley. In the past two games, Mosley has attempted just 10 shots in 69 minutes of play. It would appear he’s been comfortable taking a back seat to guards Terrell Stoglin and Nick Faust. The Terps need Mosley to get more aggressive on the offensive end of the court. When Mosley is on he is one of the most efficient players in the country. He’s a good fit for Mark Turgeon’s style of play and the coach has got to find ways to get him more involved in the offense.
BALL DISTRIBUTOR WANTED
Maryland had a total of 5 assists against the Illini Tuesday night. To make matters worse they turned the ball over 11 times. On the season, Maryland has yet to have a game with a positive assist to turnover ratio. In short, Pe’Shon Howard can’t get back into the lineup fast enough for this team. Nick Faust has done an admirable job at the point, and this experience will only help him as his career goes on, but he’s simply not a point guard. Terp fans will simply have to wait for Howard to heal to get their first true look at the future of Maryland basketball.