Terps need veter­ans to play bet­ter tonight

Tur­geon ‘not con­cerned’ about Dodd, Nick­ens, who strug­gled against Amer­i­can

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - By Don Markus

COL­LEGE PARK — The en­cour­ag­ing news com­ing out of Mary­land’s 62-56 sea­son-open­ing win over Amer­i­can on Fri­day night was the play of three fresh­men and grad­u­ate trans­fer L.G. Gill, all of whom joined ju­nior guard Melo Trim­ble to help the Terps over­come a four-point deficit in the fi­nal min­utes.

The less-than-en­cour­ag­ing news was the per­for­mance of the rest of the Mary­land play­ers who got into the game. They shot a com­bined 3-for-16, in­clud­ing 1-for-7 on 3-point­ers, and to­taled eight points, eight re­bounds, four as­sists and five turnovers in a com­bined 46 min­utes.

Among the big­gest cul­prits were se­nior cen­ter Da­monte Dodd and ju­nior wing Jared Nick­ens.

Both started the game but fin­ished it on the bench. Dodd picked up two early fouls and played just11min­utes with­out get­ting a re­bound or block­ing a shot. Nick­ens missed all five shots he at­tempted, four of them 3-point­ers, and got one re­bound in 15 min­utes.

The Terps were lucky to get such big con­tri­bu­tions from their new­com­ers. An­thony Cowan Jr. had 12 points and nine re­bounds. Kevin Huerter hit two big 3-point­ers down the stretch, grabbed six re­bounds and played good de­fense on Amer­i­can’s top scorer. Justin Jack­son had nine re­bounds. Gill added 11 points and six re­bounds.

Though the rook­ies had to carry much of the load, Mary­land coach Mark Tur­geon said Mon­day that he isn’t all that con­cerned about his veter­ans.

“It’s just one game, and Da­monte did get in foul trou­ble — two il­le­gal screens, which Da­monte Dodd, shoot­ing over Amer­i­can’s Mark Gasperini in the opener, picked up two early fouls, played only 11 min­utes and didn’t get a re­bound or block a shot.

he needs to work on, he needs to get him­self set, our guys need to slow down when they come off ball screens — but I’m not con­cerned. I rely on Da­monte,” Tur­geon said. “Da­monte’s go­ing to be a big part of our suc­cess this year.

“De­fen­sively he’s a big part of it, he’s just got to do what he does — de­fend and re­bound and an­chor our de­fense, and he gets guys open of­fen­sively. So he’s got to keep do­ing that. And Jared’s made a lot of shots, Jared’s won a lot of games here. He’s won 56 games in two years and one game [this sea­son]; that’s pretty good. Jared’s go­ing to make big shots for us.”

Tur­geon’s plans to at­tack Ge­orge­town in their meet­ing tonight at Ver­i­zon Cen­ter in Wash­ing­ton will de­ter­mine whether he starts Dodd and Nick­ens.

An­other op­tion is play­ing the 6-foot-8, 230-pound Gill at power for­ward or even cen­ter, as he did to­ward the end against Amer­i­can, with the 6-7, 225-pound Jack­son as an­other for­ward.

The Hoyas can go big — they have four play­ers avail­able who are 6-9 or taller and only one un­der 6-3 — or they can play more of a three-guard set, as they did in dis­man­tling South Carolina Up­state by 45 points Satur­day. Ge­orge­town’s strat­egy will likely dic­tate Mary­land’s matchups.

Last year, Tur­geon of­ten talked about how dif­fi­cult it was for his big team — with 6-9 Jake Lay­man at small for­ward — to chase smaller teams around.

Per­haps the Terps could make the Hoyas chase them.

“It will be in­ter­est­ing what matchups they go with,” Tur­geon said. “We can play big, they can play big. [Ge­orge­town ju­nior Isaac Copeland] is like a guard, though he plays the 4. We’re def­i­nitely a dif­fer­ent dy­namic than we were last year.”

Gill said go­ing to a smaller lineup “can def­i­nitely put us at an ad­van­tage as far as speed, get­ting up and down the court. As far as them be­ing big­ger than us, at times we’re just go­ing to have to help each other out a lot on de­fense, es­pe­cially if they have big­ger guards, and they might try to post up.”

Tur­geon hoped the big­gest con­trast from last sea­son would be the num­ber of ways he could play and dif­fer­ent play­ers he could use.

Mary­land strug­gled for long stretches of­fen­sively against Amer­i­can, in part be­cause sev­eral play­ers, in­clud­ing Trim­ble, played too much one-on-one and be­cause a few of the veter­ans — in­clud­ing red­shirt sopho­more guard Dion Wi­ley, who shot 1-for-6 — strug­gled to get into any type of flow. Jared Nick­ens, with Ne­braska’s An­drew White III in last sea­son’s Big Ten quar­ter­fi­nals, missed all five shots he at­tempted against Amer­i­can, four of them 3-point­ers, and got one re­bound in 15 min­utes. “Jared’s go­ing to make big shots for us,” coach Mark Tur­geon said Mon­day.

“We’re not go­ing to win games if Melo’s tak­ing 19 shots and the next-clos­est guy is six,” Tur­geon said. “We’re not go­ing to be a good team. We talked about it. Guys get them­selves in­volved. We were very self­ish for us. We’re a very un­selfish team. We can re­ally pass. We can do some nice things. We just didn’t do it Fri­day night and it kind of snow­balled on us.”

Trim­ble said watch­ing fresh­men in their place at the end of the game should mo­ti­vate play­ers such as Nick­ens and Wi­ley.

“It should,” said Trim­ble, who will be play­ing in the Ver­i­zon Cen­ter for the first time. “They’re great play­ers; it wasn’t their night. Other nights are go­ing to be their nights. Some nights are not go­ing to be their night. It’s part of basketball.”

NOTE: Tonight’s game is part of a home-and-home be­tween the lo­cal ri­vals rep­re­sent­ing the Big Ten and Big East in the sec­ond an­nual Gavitt Tipoff Games.

GAIL BUR­TON/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

KI­ICHIRO SATO/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

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