— The college basketball careers of Maryland guards Roddy Peters and Nick Faust crossed an invisible threshhold last week, when the freshman point guard took over running the team from junior Dez Wells and the junior shooting guard from Baltimore went to the bench for the first time all season.
According to Maryland coach Mark Turgeon, both Peters and Faust (City) have adjusted well to their new roles during the team's two-game winning streak. Maryland (7-4) will try to make it three straight Saturday when the Terps meet Boston University (6-5) at Comcast Center in a 1 p.m. game.
Peters was named the Atlantic Coast Conference's freshman of the week for what he did during a three-game stretch that included a career-high 14-point performance in a league-opening road win at Boston College on Dec. 12.
Turgeon even acknowleged that he didn't play Peters enough two days later against Florida Atlantic.
"Hindsight, that was a mistake on my part, because our zone offense was much better when Roddy was in the game," Turgeon said Friday after practice. "I told the team that. I apologized to Roddy.
"He should have played more minutes [than 19]. Sometimes you just get in your head, you put shooters in and they can't make shots and you have a non-shooter [Peters] and think, 'I've got to get him out.'"
Just as keeping Peters in the game down the stetch after Wells fouled out against George Washington with over six minutes left at the Verizon Center on Dec. 8 helped the Terps come back from a 14-point deficit before they lost on a buzzer beater, keeping Peters on the bench last Saturday enabled Florida Atlantic to come from 12 points down in what turned out to be a four-point Maryland win.
"I learned a little bit about Roddy and about our team when they zoned us so much. We're going to get zoned tomorrow at some point, and I'm just going to play the guys that are being the most effective," Turgeon said. "I think Roddy was really good against the zone. And he's had a great week of practice. He's taken it to even another level, which is good to see."
Peters was not made available to the media after practice Friday, but Turgeon and the Terps are starting to believe that the 6-4 freshman from Suitland is capable of being a focal point in their offense even after sophomore Seth Allen, who was expected to start this season at point guard, is completely healed from a broken foot.
Knowing that "going forward we're going to see a lot of zone," sophomore forward Jake Layman said Friday that he expects Peters to run the point against the zone.
"Roddy's great at driving in the zone," Layman said. "He finds gaps, he gets the bigs open and gets us open looks outside shooting, so he's doing a great job."
Said Wells: "Nobody thought he'd be this good this early. You never know how freshmen are going to develop and stuff like that, but Roddy's been really good. Once his [outside shot] gets better and he starts making shots, he'll be lights out for us."
Turgeon said that not starting Peters from the moment Allen broke his foot was better for his development, and that of the team.
"I think we did it right [bringing him along slowly]," Turgeon said. "I don't think he was ready [to start] in the Ohio State game at Ohio State. But he's a competitor, and you guys know that confidence is huge when you're dealing with 18- to 22-year-old kids. Right now his confidence is pretty high. It's worked out well for him."
Turgeon said that Faust's adjustment to coming off the bench has even helped Peters.
"Because he's been so unselfish, it's really helped Roddy's confidence and it's made our team better," Turgeon said of Faust.
Turgeon said that Faust has not pouted after losing his starting job to a younger player. It also helps that Faust has played what Turgeon called "starter minutes" and has been on the court down the stretch in each of the last two games.
"I think he bought in right away by the way he's playing, he's playing terrific," Turgeon said. "He knows how important he is. He's our best defender and he's really taken on that role. He'll be in early and often [against BU]."
Faust had eight points, with five rebounds and five assists in 30 minutes against Florida Atlantic and 11 points in 29 minutes against Boston College. Struggling with his shot all season, Faust shot the ball better the past two games, making 7 of 18 overall. He hit 2 of 4 3-pointers last Saturday.
"Nick is a really, really good player and he understands it's not who starts, but who finishes the game, so Nick has adjusted to being whatever we need him to be," Wells said.
Turgeon approaches milestone
A victory Saturday would give Turgeon his 300th victory as a head coach.
"I just hope it happens soon so we don't have to keep talking about it," Turgeon said. "My answer is that it has taken way too long. I thought it would happen a lot quicker than this when I first started coaching ... Hopefully we can get it and move on."
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