Maryland’s 64-59 victory over Boston College was one of those occasionally difficult-to-watch games involving a team that seems to be struggling to grow up before our eyes. It’s not always pretty. It’s akin to parents watching teens make inevitable errors in judgment as they mature.
What did Al McGuire say? The best thing about freshmen is that they become sophomores?
But the Terps – who started freshmen Charles Mitchell and Jake Layman -- won.
For the fifth game in a row, the Terps scored fewer than 65 points. Get used to it. Maryland is a good defensive team. Its formula right now is to grind it out and keep the score down.
“Our guys believe in their defense,” coach Mark Turgeon said. “Pretty soon we’re going to start believing in our offense.”
Turgeon said he assured his team at halftime that Boston College was a good team (despite it having lost three of four conference games). “We were kind of hanging our heads,” Turgeon said, at not having commanded a big lead. The game was tied at 29 at the half.
As if to take the pressure off his team, the coach said at halftime that all the Terps needed to do was figure out a way to win by a single point.
“We figured out a way to win, and that’s what really mattered at the end,” Turgeon said. “Is it any fun missing layups and dunks? No, it isn’t any fun. My teams get better,” he said.
Turgeon never applauded harder than when the defense forced a shot clock violation with the score tied at 43 and about 10 minutes left. This began a run for the Terps, who soon found themselves up 52-44.
Although they were threatened after that, the Terps didn’t trail again.
Here are some observations about the game:
*When Turgeon says he's still figuring out who his best players are, he's not kidding. Tuesday night’s lineup was his eighth set of starters this season.
*Maryland had no true point guards in the starting lineup. Dez Wells, who had eight assists, handled the ball along with Nick Faust. The Terps had 15 assists but also 14 turnovers.
*Layman had a solid all-around game. Turgeon said he started the freshman partly because of superstition. Layman had started in Maryland’s earlier home conference win against Virginia Tech. Layman is so much more comfortable now than even a month ago. “I’m a completely different player than when I was starting out,” he said.
Layman’s ball fake and drive to the hoop – putting Maryland up 31-29 – was something he’s likely to do more as the season progresses.
*Alex Len (16 points, 13 rebounds, matching a career high) was very active on defense. A small point is that he needs to be more decisive in the post. His hesitation makes it easier for the defense to reset.
*Logan Aronhalt has 30 3-ptrs this season -- and two 2-pointers. The fans loved it when he drove to the hoop for a rare inside shot.