I was hoping the last 5 halves of sputtering offense was going to somehow miraculously get washed away following the last second heroics against NC State. it took all of five possessions for me to see that was not the case. Carolina’s first possession, and Maryland’s first 5 should have been enough to send me out to enjoy the fairly warm weather we had yesterday. Instead I stayed in and watched in disbelief at how inept the Terps are at completing simple passes.
Back to my first statement though. You just kind of knew it was going to be one of those days early on. McAdoo missed, got an offensive rebound and then the Reggie Bullock show started as he knocked down his first three. For the Terps the first 6 possessions go like this. Cleare missed layup, Wells turnover, Cleare turnover, Len turnover, Foul on Nick Faust (Faust turnover), and finally Seth Allen turnover. Personally, I liked yesterdays starting lineup. I am 100% on board with having Faust run the point. I just think he is more involved all the way around. Sure you are going to get some bad plays, but I think the good usually out weighs the bad. But I must admit, I was thinking maybe it was time to put Pe’Shon in after that shaky start. The team was trying to find a steadying force, and maybe Pe’Shon could be that player yesterday. Instead he added fuel to the fire.
I took a quick look at Howard’s minutes and what the deficit was when he entered and exited. In his first stint, he came in with the team down 7. When he was subbed out, the deficit was 12, for a -5. His second time on the court was a wash, down 13 when he entered and down 13 when he exited. His final run in the first half was the killer. The Terps were down 16 when he checked in and by the end of the half they were down 22, for a minus 6. For the half he was -11. In the second half, his only real significant time on the court was a -1. Then when he got in with 43 seconds left, neither team scored. So in review, not at one point while Howard was on the floor did the team cut into the Carolina team. I’m sure if I look at the entire team there are going to be a lot of minuses, but to not have one shift (can you tell hockey is back?) where you cut in the lead is not acceptable for the supposed steadying force.
I hate to rail on players, but I think I have seen enough of Pe’Shon Howard’s play for the season. In 14 minutes yesterday he had 7 turnovers, 1 steal and 0 shot attempts. Oh and also 0 assists. Everyone has bad days, but his performance yesterday was the real eye opener for me. I kept thinking to myself, people who point shave don’t make plays that bad! His lack of shooting or even attempting just allows his defender to sag and clog up the lane for everyone else.
I had thought maybe it was going to take him awhile to get back to 100%. And he still may, but at this point whatever percentage of healthy he is, is flat out not good enough for the ACC. He is hurting the team far more than helping at this point, and I really hate to say that, because it sounds like he is a really good teammate, and an important part of the team. It will be very interesting to see how Turgeon handles this going forward. If the second half was any indication, we are going to see a lot more of Faust at the point.
To his defense most of his teammates didn’t show a whole lot yesterday either. A young team that hasn’t really had a lot of experience walking into a hostile environment ran into one yesterday. The Dean Dome was rocking, and the players were rattled from the start.
I read a comment somewhere from one of the players saying the shots will fall at some point. I hate to hear that. While true, they missed some open shots, the real problem is getting the offensive flow going. It’s making smart passes. It’s putting yourself in position to receive a pass. Sometimes the angles and spacing the players have is just unbelievable. The defender simply has to take one step and he is in the passing lane. The wings need to help out the man with the ball and make themselves a better target.
My last comment is about Dez Wells. He had an up and down game yesterday. I admire the way he tries to put the team on his back. I also hate the way he puts the team on his back. He gets out of control at times (same can be said for Faust) and just drives the lane with nowhere to go. He gets stuck in the air, runs into a blockade, and then gets stripped or forces a pass into traffic. If he picks and chooses his spots a little better he is going to be a force. But until he starts knocking down some jump shots, that road to the bucket is going to be very crowded.
I’m not sure if this team is going to get this worked out this year. There is still some time, and if they can get the win on Tuesday, things could get better. However, the rotation has to be worked out, and these guys need to get in a groove. I feel like players aren’t totally sure of their roles, and they haven’t become that cohesive unit yet. Is this team a case similar to a team where you have two quarterbacks? You all know the saying if you have two quarterbacks, you really have no quarterbacks. Do the Terps have too much talent, or is it a case of a team of really solid players that haven’t been able to set themselves apart from each other because they are really all pretty similar? I think there is talent on this team. Most of it young and untested, but there is talent. Now it is time for the coaching staff to coach them up, perhaps shorten the bench, and let this team gel. If I had my way I would have the rotation down to Len, Cleare, Mitchell up front, a mix of Dez, Faust, Allen, and Layman at the guard spots with an occasional appearance from Aronhalt. But that’s just me. I’m not a coach, just a fan who thinks he knows more than I do. Now lets see how Turgeon feels after watching the tape of this one. I for one will be there to see how they comeback from this latest poor showing.