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Terps sharing the ball better than last season as they head into second game

Check out the sights and sounds from the Maryland men's basketball season opener against Wagner at Xfinity Center.
Maryland's assist-to-turnover ratio in Friday's season opener was in the negative, suggesting that things haven't changed much for the Terps since last season.
In this case, the numbers lie.
Maryland was credited with nine assists, all but one in the first half of an 82-48 rout over Wagner. The Terps finished with 14 turnovers, 10 of them coming after halftime.
It wasn’t just the fact that Mark Turgeon’s team got a little bit sloppy after building a 42-17 halftime lead, or that Turgeon went more with his freshmen over the last 15 minutes and cleared his bench to get a few walk-ons into the game.
It was also that Turgeon told veterans like senior Dez Wells and junior Jake Layman to take advantage of their size, speed and athleticism in order to drive the ball rather than settle for jump shots.
Overall, Turgeon was pleased with his team's shot selection and passing in the first game.
“They listened to me. [Wagner was] pressuring us, so we spread the floor and we were able to get all the way to the rim,” Turgeon said Sunday, a day before the Terps return to the court to face Central Connecticut.
Turgeon noted that while the assists were down, his team’s shooting percentage went up, from 52 percent (14 of 27) in the first half to 59 percent (10 of 17) in the second half. Also, after hitting s6 of 10 3-pointers in the first half, Maryland attempted just four in the second half, hitting one.
“We still have work to do," Turgeon said. "I thought pressure got to us a little bit the other night. I think we can run our secondary break a little bit better. For the first game, I thought sharing the ball, shot selection, doing what the defense gave us, I thought we did pretty good for the opening night.”
Layman, who finished with a career-high six assists (and might have had a seventh go unnoticed after he hit Wells for his only 3-pointer), said after the game that it’s mostly about this year's Terps being willing passers.
“I don’t like comparing this team to last year’s team. I just like this group of guys and the way that they fit into this offense,” Layman said. “The one thing that really helps is that everyone can pass the ball.”
One of the biggest differences individually is that freshman shooting guard Dion Wiley and senior guard Richaud Pack, whom Turgeon plans to use at both backcourt positions, seem just as comfortable passing the ball as shooting it.
On what might have been the game’s most exciting play, Layman’s monster dunk toward the end of the first half was set up with short, crisp passes around the perimeter from Pack to Wiley and then from Wiley to Layman.
Last season, there's a good chance Maryland’s shooting guards would have fired up 3-point shots from the corner or out on the wing without looking to make that pass.
Pack was recently asked about the difference of what he saw on tape when he was contemplating his transfer from North Carolina A&T and what he saw in preseason practice.
“Ball movement. There’s a lot less dominance with the point guard just dribbling around,” Pack said. “And people are more willing to give up shots for the next open shot. And a lot more movement.”

COLLEGE PARK — don.markus@baltsun.com

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