He's typically looking to make a pass down to the very moment when he's ready to launch a shot of his own.

"Even when I'm open, when I start to jump ... I'm still looking and I just find the rim at the last second," said Howard, who has missed 32 of the 46 shots he's attempted from the field this season. "That's probably why I miss, actually. I'm really not looking at the rim."

Howard's reaction to making an outside shot?

"A lot of times I make 'em, I'm like, 'That went in, cool,'" he said.

Asked earlier this season if Maryland can win with so little scoring from Howard (4.1 ppg), Turgeon said, "We've got so many good players that we can overcome that, but he has to be more aggressive. ... I don't think Pe'Shon needs to score 10 a game for us to be great. But he needs them to guard him."

With Howard injured for much of last season, the Terps struggled to get into their offense as shooting guards Terrell Stoglin and Nick Faust — and two walk-ons — shared the point guard position. It was one the reasons Maryland finished near the bottom of Division I in assists. Stoglin is gone, Faust is back at his natural position and Howard recently took off his knee brace.

The suggestion was made to Turgeon recently that the play of his point guards will be the key to the team's success in the ACC.

"I don't know if it's the only way we're going to have a great year," he said. "I think there's a lot of holes right now, whether it's our wings playing well or our big guys being consistent. But I think our point guard decision-making has to stay steady, and if they are able to get us into our stuff offensively, whether it's our break or our halfcourt set, I think we have a chance to be pretty good."

don.markus@baltsun.com

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