Maryland’s sudden two-game losing streak in the Atlantic Coast Conference will likely result in more lineup changes for the Terps going into Wednesday’s home game against North Carolina State.
Second-year coach Mark Turgeon said during Monday’s ACC teleconference that the two positions he needs to get more production and consistency from are point guard and power forward.
I asked him during the teleconference whether he’d consider returning sophomore Nick Faust (City) to some point guard duty against the Wolfpack after the way freshman Seth Allen and junior Pe’Shon Howard struggled in Sunday’s 54-47 loss at Miami.
“We’ve talked about it," Turgeon said Monday. "We actually practiced Nick at point last week. It’s just really hard now, not a lot of practice time, a lot of games. I know it’s the position he wants to play, and it’s something we’re looking at most definitely."
Turgeon had said around Christmas that he told Faust to concentrate on playing the wing position after getting off to a slow start offensively this season. Faust, who played the point last season when Howard was sidelined early and late with serious injuries, has played better recently.
After his team’s second-half collapse againt Florida State last week, Turgeon decided give Allen his second career start at Miami Sunday. Allen played better in the second half and helped the Terps make a late comeback, but finished with just four points on 2-for--8 shooting and one assist in 29 minutes.
Howard, who had started the entire season at point, continued to have his problems against the Hurricanes. He went without a field goal for the third straight game and has now missed 11 straight shots over that stretch, nine of them 3-pointers. Among the ACC’s leaders in assists, Howard has had only two the past two games, one in 17 minutes against Miami.
Meanwhile, the 6-6 Faust has played better in recent games. He hit a career-high four 3-point shots and was one of the few aggressive players Turgeon had in the second half against Florida State, finishing with 14 points and two assists. He didn’t shoot it well against Miami – 1-for-8 – but had eight rebounds. He hasn’t had a turnover in the past three games, though he hasn’t played point.
That could change against the Wolfpack.
“It could be an option on Wednesday,” Turgeon said.
It’s clear that Turgeon needs to get more scorers on the floor, and somebody who can shoot it long-range to take some pressure on Alex Len inside. If he starts Faust at the point, he can go back to using Allen at shooting guard or move Dez Wells (18 points against Miami) there with freshman Jake Layman, who has shot the ball better since coming back from Christmas break, at small forward.
A number of fans have suggested giving a bigger role to transfer Logan Aronhalt, who is by far the team’s best 3-point shooter (51.9 percent) and one of just two seniors (James Padgett is the other). Though Aronhalt hasn’t shot the ball well the past two games – 2-for-8 on 3-point shots – Aronhalt would give the Terps some of the experience they desperately seem to lack.
Knowing Turgeon, he has yet to decide. But given the statement he made during the teleconference, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Faust running the team starting out against the Wolfpack.