Here's the main problem Mark Turgeon faces right now with the Maryland Terps: no one can put the ball in the basket. And this is no small concern.
That was an absolute horror show last night at the Bank United Center, when the Terps managed just 14 points in the first half and shot just 31.6 percent on their way to a 54-47 loss to Miami.
It was Maryland's second ugly ACC loss in a row and second dreadful offensive performance, and you can sense the frustration mounting in both the players and coaches.
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Forward Dez Wells (game-high 18 points) was the only Terp who consistently attacked the basket. And he seemed so desperate at times to spark the listless Terps that he forced several bad shots and looked like a run-away truck driving the lane.
Sophomore big man Alex Len finished with 16 points, but seemed lost for much of the game. Instead of posting up low -- where he's most effective -- and demanding the ball, Len was catching it 15 feet from the basket and settling for jump shots, most of which he bricked.
If the Terps want to get any kind of flow to their offense, they have to figure out a way to get the ball inside to Len. And he has to be more assertive in walling off his man and giving his teammates a passing lane to find him.
Guard play is also killing the Terps right now, and it goes hand-in-hand with their scoring problems.
Junior point guard Pe'Shon Howard is not even looking for his shot anymore. And when he does, the results are ugly. He didn't start and went 0-for-5 from the field against Miami. And he was 0-for-8 in his previous two games against Florida State and Virginia Tech.
In all three games, defenders were content to sag off him and help out on other Terps, which makes it that much tougher for anyone else to score.
Freshman Seth Allen, who started at the point last night against the Hurricanes, shows great promise, but scored only four points and made several ill-advised passes. He can use his inexperience as an excuse, I guess. But sophomore Nick Faust scored only two points and put up some terrible shots, and he's not slashing to the basket the way Turgeon and the Maryland assistant coaches want him to.
Maryland's point guard play is so ragged Turgeon may be forced to start Faust there Wednesday night against 20th-ranked North Carolina State. But that's not the ideal move, either, given Faust's inconsistent outside shooting. And Turgeon knows it.
Sure, this is a young team, with a great deal of potential. And it's far too early to panic. But if the Terps don't want to get blown out by State, they better figure out a way to jump-start their offense -- and soon.
Otherwise the ugliness -- and probably the losing -- will continue.