One of the strengths of the No. 3 Maryland men's basketball team is supposed to be its depth of quality big men, given that Terps coach Mark Turgeon can play three players with different skill sets depending on the opponent and the situation.
It's a luxury, except when none of them maintain any level of consistency.
That's what happened during a 75-71 come-from-behind win over Georgetown at Xfinity Center on Tuesday night.
Though freshman Diamond Stone started strong before getting into foul trouble and sophomore Michal Cekovsky had an impressive stretch that helped Maryland stay close to the Hoyas, both wound up making too many mistakes for Turgeon to keep them in the game. Junior Damonte Dodd was nearly a no-show.
Stone showed his range for a 6-foot-11, 250-pound center by hitting a foul-line jumper early in the game and Cekovsky's ability to run the floor and finish in transition is impressive at 7-1. But Stone's inexperience was also on display when he got into foul trouble and Cekovsky showed his by making a couple of sloppy turnovers. The two players had five of Maryland's nine turnovers.
Defensively, only Cekovsky held his own against Georgetown 7-footer Bradley Hayes, who finished with 16 points and eight rebounds.
Collectively, Maryland's big men combined for nine points and seven rebounds after getting 24 points and 15 rebounds against a much smaller Mount St. Mary's lineup in the season opener last Friday.
It left Turgeon little choice but to go without a center for the last 5 1/2 minutes, after the Terps fell behind 61-54. Maryland scored on its last nine possessions while doing a much better job defensively keeping Hayes and the other Georgetown big men away from the rim.
Turgeon said that he was forced to go to a smaller lineup with Robert Carter Jr. at center and Jake Layman at power forward because none of his big men could keep the Hoyas from getting inside for easy baskets, especially Hayes.
"We had to go small, but that's an excuse," Turgeon said. "They were whipping us when we were big too. They just wanted it more, 17 second-chance points, that could have been the difference in the game for them. We got the rebounds late when we had to get them. It was very physical down there. We've just got to be a lot tougher."