Maryland basketball vs. Morehead State: Previewing the game

November 12, 2012

Can Alex Len replicate his stellar performance in the season opener? (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

THE INFO

Who: Maryland (0-1) vs. Morehead State (1-0).

When: Monday, 8 p.m.

Where: Comcast Center

TV: Comcast SportsNet

DMV radio: 105.7 FM, 1300 AM, 980 AM.

Coaches: Terps — Mark Turgeon (Second season, 17-16). Eagles – Sean Woods (First season, 1-0).

THE SCRIPT

Coming off the heart-thumping second-half comeback that fell short in a 72-69 loss to third-ranked Kentucky, the Maryland men’s basketball team returns to College Park for its home opener against Morehead State. The Eagles took the opening act of Friday’s doubleheader in Brooklyn, besting LIU-Brooklyn 77-74. The Terps will look to solve the shooting woes that plagued them early against the Wildcats, before the 13-0 run put them within striking distance of an upset. Maryland was led by Alex Len, who posted career highs with 23 points and 12 rebounds, but the Terps struggled from the field in the first half. The defense and rebounding, however, appeared improved since last season, and if that  continues, Maryland will have a better chance of withstanding future youthful struggles. Morehead State, meantime, enters with a new style of play in Coach Sean Woods’ first season, bringing a full-speed attack. Six-foot-7 forward Milton Chavis scored 24 points against LIU-Brooklyn, while Khalil Owens had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

THE QUESTIONS

1. Emotional hangover? Turgeon’s answer to this was, “Well, we lost.” Translation: Maryland will be motivated to get into the win column, which should help the Terps avoid taking a game against a lower-profile school for granted. 

2. Will Len stay hot? Though he was already considered to be one of Maryland’s top players, Len surprised even his teammates and coaches with a double-double against Kentucky’s high-prized recruit Nerlens Noel. Len was a monster on defense and rebounding, but still took a couple ill-advised shots that Turgeon later pointed out. Len has plenty of areas he needs to improve, but if he can continue to put up huge numbers in non-conference play, he will begin to draw national attention.     

3. Regain shooting touch? Much of Maryland’s first-half woes came on dreadful shooting, including some near-air balls. Playing a season opener on national television against a highly-ranked opponent, those struggles could be attributed to nerves, but these Terps are shaping up to be a streaky bunch.

THE STATS

34: Consecutive home openers won by Maryland.

29: Repetitions by Shaq Cleare while bench-pressing 185 pounds. The NBA combine record is 27. Guess that means he’s pretty strong.

25: Rebounds by Charles Mitchell through the opener and exhibition. Thirteen of those have come on the offensive end.

THE QUOTES

“Well we lost, so it’s pretty easy. If we had won, it might have been a little difficult. It’s pretty easy to get their attention. We’ve been practicing twice a day to prepare for Morehead State. It’s pretty easy to do. Hopefully we’ll have a good crowd tomorrow night, bring energy and play inspired also.” – Turgeon.

“Before the game, I just wanted to give him maximum effort for my team, which I think I did.” – Len.

THE TERPS TUNE OF TODAY

Come Back Home” by Suburban Legends.

THE POLL

Alex Prewitt covers the Washington Capitals. Follow him on Twitter @alex_prewitt or email him at alex.prewitt@washpost.com.
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Alex Prewitt · November 11, 2012

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