Terps Cruising Through Non-Conference Play

A relentless Mark Turgeon looks for this team's offensive identity in the midst of a seven-game winning streak

With the Terps now eight games into the basketball season, Coach Mark Turgeon, his squad, and Maryland supporters are starting to see the true potential of this exciting young team. With seven straight wins since losing to Kentucky - ranked #3 at the time - in the Barclays Center Classic on opening night, the Terps have been cruising through non-conference play.

Coming off a 100-68 victory against University of Maryland Eastern Shore, the Terps currently lead the country in assists with 19.1/game and rebounds with 46.4/game.

Freshman point guard Seth Allen emphasized however that they are trying not to get too high on themselves.

“I think we're at a point where we can play lackadaisical and beat teams like UMES, but come ACC-play, if we don't play hard we're not going to be as good as we want to be,” said Allen. “I feel like there's a lot of room for improvement.”

Coach Turgeon knows this to be true, and says he is never fully satisfied with the way his team plays offensively and defensively.

“I think they were feeling sorry for themselves because they thought, 'well we're coming off a 32-point win, what is this guy going crazy on us about?,'” he said referring to yesterday's practice.

Turgeon expressed however that his team has good leaders like sophomore transfer Dez Wells and Senior John Auslander that will speak up and get after each other on their own. “They hold each other accountable,” said Turgeon.

With the amount of depth on this team, the second-year coach continues to try to find a rotation that will work for them before opening up conference play against a current undefeated Virginia Tech team on January 5.

“At some point I've got to get the rotation down a little bit, but right now it's about building confidence and getting everybody comfortable within the system,” Turgeon said.

In Wednesday night's contest with UMES, the depth was on display as all fourteen eligible players got time on the court. Maryland's bench outscored their opponent 52-18 in the blowout victory.

Despite the impressive showings night after night from his young team, Turgeon is still searching for an offensive identity.

“We're pretty good when we run a set. We're not good when we run our secondary break and it flows into motion,” he said. Turgeon says they have been working to improve that as well as adding many “go-to plays” to their offensive attack.

As Turgeon puts it simply, the key to the offense lies in finding ways to use playmakers like Wells and Allen as well as consistently getting the ball inside to sophomore center Alex Len. With quite a few young, inexperienced players on the roster, Turgeon is trying to find a balance between making sure his players stay in the offense he's implemented while giving them freedom at the same time.

“I don't want to screw them up because we are shooting 49% percent,” he said.

Once this balance of discipline and trust with his players is found, Turgeon feels the offense will run more smoothly.

“Right now, most of the guys are trying to make sure that I'm happy, which is good, but I say all the time, 'Don't play the drill, play basketball,'” he said. “It's coming. It's getting better.”

The Terps look for their eighth straight win tomorrow afternoon when they face South Carolina State at the Comcast Center.

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