The Maryland Terrapins made sure their first 20 minutes tonight didn’t resemble the first 20 against Hofstra.
The Terrapins jumped out to a 21 point first half lead that would eventually get to 32. When it was all said and done, the Terps prevailed 92-75.
The 90 points were spurred on by a first half defense that never gave Mount Saint Mary’s room to move. The Terps were aggressive in the passing lanes because the Mountaineers couldn’t penetrate off the dribble. The forced their visitors into 31% shooting with 8 turnovers in the first half. Against Hofstra, they only forced seven turnovers the entire game.
The aggressive defense is something that could put them as a serious threat in the Big Ten. Making penetration difficult for guards like Carsen Edwards (Purdue), Romeo Langford (Indiana) and Cassius Winston (Michigan State). Getting out on the break. Penetration and kick for three is the way of college basketball these days. Thirty years ago, the number of teams willing to live “off-script” was small and largely unsuccessful. With the exception of Wisconsin’s Swing Offense, the top Big Ten teams have a player or two who can break down a defense especially late in the shot clock.
As expected the defense letdown a bit in the second half as Coach Turgeon subbed more liberally. The enabled the Mountaineers to have a better shooting half (48%). But don’t let the final statistics ruin what was a step in the right direction.
The Terps will need their defense to carry them once the conference season gets here. Today’s performance gives them something to build off of.