By Jeff Barker
The Baltimore Sun
10:00 PM EDT, November 2, 2012
COLLEGE PARK — Mark Turgeon could hardly have worn a more sour expression during Friday night’s first half, and it was still just the preseason. As far as displaying angst over his promising young team, Maryland’s basketball coach was already in midseason form.
Turgeon perked up in the second half — and, more importantly, so did his team — as Maryland defeated Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 73-61, in an exhibition at Comcast Center.
It was an unevenly played game in which the Terps looked like a team in need of polish. After trailing at halftime, the Terps shot better in the second half (50 percent) and pulled away behind the shooting of guards Seth Allen (16 points) and Logan Aronhalt (eight points) and the rebounding of forward Charles Mitchell.
“I was disappointed in our physicality. I thought we played weak in the first half,” Turgeon said. “Too nice, too friendly — except for Charles Mitchell. We did a lot of things well in the second half.”
Maryland’s freshman class made its debut with mixed results. The four first-year players — plus Aronhalt, a transfer — form the most highly-touted recruiting class since the one immediately following the Terps’ 2002 national championship
What Turgeon saw Friday night was not the young players’ talent, but the sizable gulf between who they are and what they might one day become.
Freshman Shaquille Cleare missed his first four shots and two free throws and was held scoreless. “Shaq wasn’t his usual self,” said Turgeon, who played the center only 15 minutes.
Freshman forward Jake Layman missed his first three shots from the floor but finished with seven points and four rebounds.
There were bright spots. Maryland has far more frontcourt depth this season than last, and it showed. Mitchell, a freshman, finished with 15 rebounds.
“It’s an effort thing,” Mitchell said. “I feel like rebounding is my best attribute.”
Other hopeful signs for Maryland:
* Sophomore guard Nick Faust started quickly, scoring seven of Maryland’s first nine points and finishing with 13 points. Turgeon has said Faust is shooting with better technique and more confidence than last season. He said after the game that Faust still occasionally shoots too quickly.
* Allen, whose game may be the most advanced of the freshmen, shared point guard duties with junior Pe’Shon Howard and had five assists to go with his 16 points. He had five steals and didn’t turn the ball over.
“Seth is an unreal athlete — he is so quick,” Aronhalt said.
* Aronhalt, who transferred to Maryland after graduating from Albany, shot 2-for-3 on 3-pointers.
Maryland trailed 34-33 after a half in which it shot 31.6 percent. The Terps pulled away early in the second half, making it 42-36 on Howard’s 3-pointer with 15:03 left. Howard, who had a scoreless first half, followed with another 3-pointer moments later.
IUP did not attempt a single free throw in the game. Maryland was 16-for-20 from the line and only missed one foul shot in the second half.
Turgeon had said Thursday that he did not know who would start in the game. “I’m not sure we have five guys playing good enough to start,” he said then.
The coach ended up leaning on experience. He started four returning players — Faust, center Alex Len, forward James Padgett and Howard. Layman was the only freshman starter.
Maryland opens the regular season Nov. 9 against defending national champion Kentucky at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
“We could be a really great team,” Allen said. “We had a lot of mistakes tonight, but they are all fixable. Ten games into the season I think we’re going to be pretty good.”
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