Carroll County Times
Carroll County

Maryland's big lineup paying dividends

Maryland used a successful formula to knock off Clemson on Saturday and keep its NCAA tournament hopes intact, so the Terrapins might want to sustain that game plan when they visit Georgia Tech at 8 tonight.

The Terps went big against the Tigers and won the rebound war by 10. And it wasn't just coming from sophomore center Alex Len.


When Clemson focused its defense on Len, freshmen forwards Charles Mitchell and Shaquille Cleare gave Maryland a combined 18 points and 13 rebounds. Now the Terps (19-8, 7-7 ACC) face a sizable Yellow Jackets team that ranks third in the conference in rebound margin.

Georgia Tech (14-12, 4-10) has 6-foot-11 junior Daniel Miller, who leads the ACC in blocked shots with 57 (2.2 per game) and Robert Carter Jr., a 6-8 freshman, averages 6.8 rebounds per game.


Len had nine points and eight rebounds against Clemson, but the Terps didn't need to rely on just him to dominate the paint against Clemson.

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"I feel when Alex is not at his best and James [Padgett] is not at his best, it's our job and our duty to pick up the slack," Mitchell said after Saturday's 72-59 win over the Tigers. "Some nights I'm not going to do well, so I know Alex and James are going to have my back. So, it's my duty as a teammate to go out there and give it all I got when I know they're not having a good night."

Mitchell (6-8), Cleare (6-9), and Len (7-1) also get help from 6-8 senior James Padgett, who plays sparingly but has contributed recently with eight points against Duke and six against Clemson to go with six rebounds.

Maryland's big lineup helped provide 42 points in the paint and 15 offensive rebounds compared to Clemson's 28 and five.

"I feel that because we have four big men any given day someone might not play a good game," Mitchell said. "On any given night, one of us is going to do well and another one of us is not going to get as much time or do as well as the next player. But we're always going to encourage each other."

The Terrapins have another road game this Saturday at Wake Forest before returning to Comcast Center for their home finale March 6 against North Carolina. The final regular-season game is March 10 at Virginia before Maryland gets ready for the ACC tournament.

Whether the Terps have to win out to garner NCAA tourney attention remains to be seen.

"We can't get too high and we can't get too low," Mitchell said. "We got a couple of ACC games then we head into the ACC tournament. We just have to keep focusing and have a great season."