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College Basketball

Five Maryland basketball players now averaging double figures

When Maryland freshman Diamond Stone scored 16 points off the bench in his team's recent win over Connecticut in the Jimmy V Classic, it pushed the 6-11 center into double figures for his season average.

Stone (10.7) joined sophomore point guard Melo Trimble (15.8), the team's leading scorer, as well as junior forward Robert Carter (12.5) and seniors Rasheed Sulaimon (10.5) and Jake Layman (10.5).

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Sophomore wing Jared Nickens is averaging eight a game off the bench.

The sixth-ranked Terps, who play Princeton Saturday at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, are the only Big Ten team with five players in double figures.

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"I think it's because we have good players," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said on a conference call with reporters Friday. "I think we've been able to share the minutes too and that helps get everybody into double figures."

Unlike last season, when Trimble and Dez Wells either led or shared high-scoring honors in 28 of the team's 35 games – including the last 15 - there's been more democracy this season when it comes to doling out the points.

While Trimble has led the team in scoring four times, Carter has done it in three games and Sulaimon twice, in back-to-back games in the Cancun Challenge. Layman led the Terps in scoring in the season opener.

After having five players in double figures just once last season, the Terps did it in four of their first five games this season. The Terps have had at least three double-figure scorers in all but one game.

"Each night a different guy can carry us," Turgeon said. "We've done a good job sharing the ball."

Not only do the Terps lead the Big Ten in number of double-figure scorers, they also lead the nation in 2-point field goal percentage (61.7) and points per possession (1.54).

Maryland is second in the Big Ten behind Indiana and third nationally (behind St. Mary's (Calif.) and the Hoosiers) in overall field goal percentage (53.2).

"I think our shot selection is better and our assist-to-basket ratio is way up, the best it's been since I've been here, so that helps," Turgeon said. "And we're really good around the basket. Rasheed can make layups, Jake's good around the basket, Melo's great around the basket."

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Perhaps the biggest difference this season is the presence of an inside game, something the Terps have lacked since Alex Len left for the NBA after his sophomore year in 2012-13.

Carter is shooting 61.3 percent (46 of 75) overall, sixth best in the Big Ten, but is a remarkable 71.9 (41 of 67) on 2-point field goals. Stone is a more than respectable 55.3 percent (42 of 76), second among Big Ten freshmen.

Junior center Damonte Dodd has an even higher percentage than Carter or Stone, making 20 of 26 (76.9) and would lead the league in field goal accuracy if he qualified with at least five attempts a game. Sophomore Michal Cekovsky is shooting 16 of 28 (57.1).

"Our big guys score at a high clip around the basket," Turgeon said. "That's nice to have. A lot of people can't finish around the rim, can't finish over size. We're able to do that."

The Terps also lead the Big Ten and are tied for eighth nationally in free throw percentage (77.5).

Turgeon believes that Maryland can improve offensively.

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"Our execution is going to get better," he said. "For this time of the year, it's pretty good. We just have dynamic players, guys who are really talented offensively."

don.markus@baltsun.com

twitter.com/sportsprof56


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