Who: Maryland (10-1) vs. Delaware State (5-7)
When: Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
Where: Comcast Center
DMV radio: 105.7 FM, 1300 AM, 980 AM.
Coaches: Terps — Mark Turgeon (Second season, 27-16). Hornets – Greg Jackson (13th season, 186-190)
Coming off the second nine-day break sandwiching its win over Stony Brook, the Maryland basketball team hosts Delaware State at Comcast Center for its penultimate non-conference game before ACC play begins on Jan. 5. The Terrapins took care of business against the Seawolves, needing a late push and stellar defensive sequences down the stretch to hold them off, but by all accounts should have an easier go this time around. The Hornets enter on a two-game losing streak against Penn State (in overtime) and Pittsburgh, sharing two common opponents with the Terps: Northwestern, which they lost to by 19, and Maryland-Eastern Shore, which Delaware State beat by 10. Maryland, meanwhile, has won 10 straight since the season-opener against Kentucky, sprinkling in some impressive blowouts with some gritty victories.
1. Start strong? The same question was posed before the Terrapins faced Stony Brook, and Maryland responded with a blistering run that, before the Seawolves zapped a 20-point second-half deficit, had Turgeon’s bunch in line for an early rout. Against a lesser Delaware State team, another fast start would help the Terps cruise to a potentially easy win just before New Years’ Eve.
2. Close hard? The flipside applies here for the Terrapins, who struggled offensively in the second half once Stony Brook began front Alex Len and denying post entry. The hot-shooting, which at one point was up to 80 percent from the field, regressed toward the mean, and Maryland saw a massive lead disappear. But the Terps closed strong, at least on the defensive end and on the glass. Look for a strong, all-around finish to be a focal point Saturday.
3. Work inside? Turgeon’s game plan is obvious, and yet when properly executed, it can’t be stopped. Work through Alex Len on the strongside post as the primary option, then progress through the motion for open cuts and three-pointers if the defense collapses. Turgeon is still searching for some consistency from both James Padgett and Charles Mitchell on the weak side opposite Len. They could have big games against Delaware State.
11: 10-game winning streaks in program history.
34.6: Opponent’s field-goal percentage against the Terps, which tops the ACC and ranks third nationally.
2: Games in which Maryland hasn’t outscored its opponent in the paint (Stony Brook and Morehead State).
“Delaware State’s got a good team and they’re well-coached. They’re going to come here, use the clock, grind it and try to make it a 50-point game. We didn’t handle that well against South Carolina State, so hopefully we’ll handle it better, guard better when the shot clock’s winding down then execute offensively on the other end.” – Turgeon.
“Things really come from all those practices and days off. A big emphasis from coach was starting practices off better. We’ve been starting really sluggish, just being young and stuff, not really being attentive or having fun in practice. The last week or so, we’ve started off really well in practice and that carried over today.” – Pe’Shon Howard, after the Stony Brook game.
THE TERPS TUNE OF TODAY
“Mr. Mudd and Mr. Gold” by Townes Van Zandt.