As situations grow more urgent and Maryland Coach Mark Turgeon trims his rotation for the waning minutes of games, his two freshmen have fallen by the wayside.
Point guard Roddy Peters, who started eight straight games at one point this season, has seen his minutes plummet since Seth Allen moved into the starting lineup. Over the past three games, Peters has played just 23 minutes and missed two entire second halves. Peters ranks 80th nationally in assist rate but has just two during that span, when he also happens to be entirely scoreless.
Center Damonte Dodd, on the other hand, hadn’t enjoyed nearly as much success as Peters earlier this season. Turgeon started him against Tulsa in December, just to see what would happen, and he played a career-high 15 minutes that game.
Since then, he has received two DNP-CDs, played 37 total minutes, enjoyed a momentary breakout game against North Carolina State (six points, four rebounds, 14 minutes) then got brushed aside against Pittsburgh (three minutes). The most noteworthy thing he did Saturday night was, after a timeout just before halftime that set up Maryland’s last-second shot, he was whistled for a moving screen, and Turgeon suggested on Monday’s ACC coaches’ teleconference that Dodd’s lack of experience was the reason for his lack of minutes against the nationally ranked Panthers.
As for whether Peters and Dodd might play more on Wednesday against Miami, Turgeon said those decisions are made during practice. Given that the Hurricanes employ a matchup zone defense, Turgeon may be hesitant to play Peters, given that he has yanked him against zones before.
“I do think Damonte’s coming,” Turgeon said. “On the defensive end I think he’s got a better feel. He’s coming. But Roddy, it’s been hard for him with Seth coming back. Just a little more consistency I guess. I think he’s come a long ways defensively from the beginning of the year, decision making still needs to get a little better. He’s trying. We measure it in practice, more so than in games.”
>> Allen, on the other hand, played a season-high 35 minutes against Pittsburgh and didn’t come out in the second half. He didn’t shoot well (0 for 5 on three-pointers) and has made just 31.2 percent of his field goal attempts since coming back from a broken left foot.
“Probably played him too much,” Turgeon said. “Didn’t want to play him the whole second half. Didn’t plan on doing that but we did. He got in better shape because of it.”
But Turgeon is clearly proceeding with Allen as his top point guard option, content to rush the sophomore along in the hopes that he returns to the conditioning and athletic level showed during the Terps’ preseason trip to the Bahamas this summer.
“That’s something he’s dealing with right now, but something he’ll learn from and be a better player,” guard Nick Faust said. “That just comes down to watching a lot of film and just learning the game. You have to accept your role and know what play to make at the right time.”
>> At Miami, the fans have a tradition. Everyone stands until the home team sinks its first field goal. This includes cheerleaders, whose perch happens to be right in front of media row and, when they’re standing upright, entirely obstruct the view of the court. Last year, in a first half that ended with the Hurricanes up 19-14, they stood for a while, so reporters started turning around to watch the offensively challenged game on the video screen.
“I remember that,” Nick Faust said. “No one was hitting shots that game. It was really bad. It was really hot. No one was making shots. That was just a bad first half of basketball.”
Maryland shot 31.6 percent that game. Miami shot 34.9 percent. The teams attempted a combined 120 field goals with 40 makes, a combined 35 three-pointers with eight makes, and a combined 31 free throws with 13 makes. It was not great on the eyes.
>> Nearly 40 percent of Charles Mitchell’s field goal attempts have come on two-point jumpers, according to Hoop-Math.com, which essentially means his right- and left-handed baby hooks. On those 44 shots, Mitchell has made just 27.3 percent.
Really, no Maryland perimeter player except Dez Wells (42.5 percent) excels at jump shooting inside the arc, which makes sense because a long two is the worst shot in basketball. Evan Smotrycz (27.1), Jake Layman (27.0), Faust (20.8) and Peters (18.8) are all worse than 30 percent with at least 24 attempts.