Pregame notes: Seth Allen to make season debut versus Tulsa

December 29, 2013

Point guard Seth Allen is expected to make his season debut on Sunday evening against Tulsa, according to a team spokesman. The sophomore hasn’t appeared in a game this season since breaking the fifth metatarsal in his left foot during a preseason practice.

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After practice Saturday morning, Coach Mark Turgeon wavered on his plans for Allen. Soreness was anticipated after the full-speed workout, Turgeon said, but the degree to which Allen woke up hurting would dictate the minutes he would receive against the Golden Hurricane. Allen indeed experienced some soreness Sunday morning, the team spokesman said, but is expected to suit up and likely come off the bench.

“I don’t think we can expect him to play a lot of minutes tomorrow night and be fantastic,” Turgeon said Saturday. “Maybe if he’s not sore and everything goes good, we try to get him a few minutes each half and then just go from there.”

 Allen’s replacement, freshman Roddy Peters, has been strong since slotting into the starting lineup. Over the past three games, he has 15 assists to 11 turnovers in 23.7 minutes per game, including a career-high 14 points at Boston College. His talent in the open floor, and even directing the half-court offense, is undeniable, but Peters’s jump shot has been a liability. Defenses can simply sag off Peters and dare him to shoot, knowing full well that is unlikely. After all, just 37.5 percent of his field-goal attempts have been jump shots, according to Hoop-Math.com, and his field-goal percentage on two-point jumpers is just 21.1 percent.

“I think teams are now starting to back up off me,” Peters said. “I’m starting to see that I’m getting a lot more open now, and I’m just dribbling around. I have to keep the defense honest and knock that 15-footer down. I’ve been working on it. I’ve got confidence.”

When asked how he spent his seven-day break between games, the former All-Met from Suitland circled back.

“I worked on my floater and my pull-up jump shot,” he said. “I know now that when I come off screens, I’m so wide open. They’re waiting for me to drive. If I can stop and knock that jump shot now, it’ll affect my game and I can play much better.”

 Junior Jonathan Graham has been Maryland’s most consistent post player over the past four games, logging 15 minutes three times and 21 minutes against Boston College.  His offensive numbers — 3 points per game in that span — haven’t been great, but he’s also blocked seven shots since the loss to George Washington and grown into an emotional leader on the floor. Graham’s field-goal percentage at the rim (80) also ranks highest on the Terps.

“If he’s more consistent that’s what really helps with him,” Turgeon said. “How much more can it? I don’t know.”

Graham’s fellow post players haven’t been much better, so Turgeon finds himself cycling through big men, trying to find what works on a game-by-game basis. Center Shaquille Cleare continues to start, but he’s cracked 20 minutes just once this season. Charles Mitchell has been equally inconsistent this month, beginning with a double-double at Ohio State then scoring six, two, 10 and three points over the next four, when his minutes have steadily declined from 23 to 17 to 18 to 10.

“We’re trying to figure out who our best big guys are and who can help us the most,” Turgeon said. “Their inconsistency makes it tough. I do have choices at that spot with Shaq and Charles and Jon Graham and [freshman] Damonte [Dodd]. If one’s not playing well I’ll try another one.”

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 | December 29, 2013