Virginia Tech’s Erick Green will come into Comcast Center on Saturday as the nation’s second-leading scorer, but the Hokies come in having lost their last two games by a combined 62 points. Green had a season-low 12 points in a 97-71 lost at Brigham Young on Dec. 29.
Maryland is not expecting to stop the 6-foot-3 senior guard from scoring and will not use one or even two specific players to try to slow him down. The Terps play more of a tag-team defense in their man-to-man, making sure a particular player is covered as he moves from one part of the court to another.
“We don’t play just one-on-one defense, we play team defense and we’re responsible to our man and the man next to us,” sophomore swingman Dez Wells said Friday. “We’re doing whatever we have to do to help guard our man and the man near us.”
Asked what the Terps will have to do with Green, junior point guard Pe’Shon Howard said, half-jokingly, “hope he misses.”
But Howard, who once played on the same team as Green at a high school summer all-star camp in Philadelphia, said Maryland will “make him work for every shot. He’s had a great history against us ... make sure he’s limited on his opportunities when they kick it out to him for 3s, he likes to get out in transition so we have to get back [on defense].”
Green’s history against the Terps includes a scintillating 12-of-16, 24-point performance at Comcast Center two years ago in a 74-57 win for the Hokies. Virginia Tech also beat Maryland in Blacksburg that season, as Green scored 20 on 7-of-15 shooting in a 91-83 win. He had 18 in a 73-69 loss to the Terps last season in College Park.
Until the game at BYU, Green had been the country’s leading scorer and his previous low was a 21-point performance in the season opener. He is currently averaging 24.4 points and shooting a respectable 49.3 percent from the field, despite being just 19-of-59 on 3-point shots.
It could be a great opportunity for Maryland sophomore Nick Faust to build his reputation as a defensive stopper. Faust certainly has the size (6-6, 205) and quickness to match up on Green (6-3, 185). Wells (6-5, 215) and freshman Seth Allen (6-1, 190) will get their turn as well.
“I think he’s going to get his points, we just want him to earn them,” Terps coach Mark Turgeon said Friday. “We don’t want him to have 30 points on 10 or 11 shots. It comes down to team defense on him, I think multiple games throughout the game will guard him. They have some other pretty good players besides him.”