Mark Turgeon spent most of early Saturday afternoon sitting with a blank stare on his face at Comcast Center, like he was attending a particularly boring sermon. He coached little and said even less, instead letting assistants Bino Ranson and Scott Spinelli run the Maryland men’s basketball team’s three-period open scrimmage. After a sluggish, up-and-down, turnover-filled outing, Turgeon’s reaction to the action matched his opinion of what he saw.
“I didn’t like a lot,” he said. “I thought we were really sloppy. The only good thing is we’re used to how the refs are going to call it. That one second scrimmage had 22 foul calls in 12 minutes, so there was no flow to it. We weren’t going to play the last 10 minutes, but I didn’t feel like we were getting anything out of it, so we played another 10 minutes. There was a little more flow in the last game. We were just sloppy and not very good. We actually guard our plays better than we run them.”
The third 10-minute section provided by far the most drama, especially after the first two periods ended with badly blown dunks. With his Red Team down three points following a converted one-and-one by Black Team guard Seth Allen, junior guard Dez Wells drew a three-point shooting foul with almost no time left and swished all three attempts to tie the score.
In overtime, the Black Team did nothing but shoot free throws, a product of a whistle-happy officiating crew. But both Evan Smotrycz and Varun Ram hit three in the two-minute extra time, allowing their team to win 31-29. A potential game-winning bomb from Jake Layman was blown dead on a moving screen from Charles Mitchell, and freshman point guard Roddy Peters missed a three-pointer at the buzzer.
Turgeon said Maryland wasn’t nearly as good as it was during last Sunday’s private scrimmage against Villanova.
“We have some pretty good talent,” he said. “Today was a little bit of a step back to be quite honest with you. We’ll learn from it. Hopefully we’ll get better.”
>> Aggregate scoring finished as follows: Smotrycz 21, Layman 20, Wells 20, Peters 13, Mitchell 13, Nick Faust 11, Seth Allen 10, Varun Ram 8, John Auslander 6, Damonte Dodd 5, Conner Lipinski 3, Jon Graham 2.
>> Turgeon offered no updates on either assistant coach Dalonte Hill or on Graham’s eligibility status.
Hill is currently taking a leave of absence following his third DUI charge in the past five years.
“We’re managing,” Turgeon said. “Guys will just do extra work. … Right now he’s taking care of himself. That’s what’s most important.”
Graham, who transferred from Penn State this offseason to move closer to home, has filed a transfer waiver to the NCAA hoping to attain immediate eligibility.
“We were hoping we’d hear this week,” Turgeon said. “It’s all in. Hopefully this week we hear before our Catholic game [on Nov. 3 at Comcast Center].”
>> Mitchell strung together a productive afternoon. Turgeon said his sophomore power forward tired late, but he displayed solid touch on his baby hooks after displaying a tendency last season to almost blindly peg them off the backboard.
“He’s dropped about eight pounds in the last two weeks,” Turgeon said. “He looks great. He’s been practicing well. He was really good early in this scrimmage.”
>> Peters, whom Turgeon has consistently referred to as a “half-starter” when mentioning his rotation this preseason, made several dazzling dribble-drives into traffic and found a way to the free throw line. But he missed his only jumper, a three-pointer from the right wing, and committed several turnovers on bad passes.
“Roddy played well today,” Turgeon said. “That was Roddy’s best day. Good for him. He needed that for confidence. He hadn’t been practicing great, so it was good for him.”
>> Wells spent the second scrimmage period running the point for his Black Team (the sides changed up each period), and Turgeon called him the “most vocal” option at point guard. Clearly he won’t spend much time there this season, but Turgeon likes to keep his options open. “It was good to get him a lot of practice time there,” Turgeon said. “Seth’s really getting better. I thought he performed pretty well in the third scrimmage. I think the guy who’s the most vocal is Dez. He talks the most, which you can tell in a quiet gym. He does the most talking.”
As for Allen, the presumed starting point guard spent the second period mostly on the bench. He returned with nine points in the final period, including a nifty steal-and-dunk.
“That was a coach’s decision,” Turgeon said. “I didn’t make a lot of them today, but that was one I made.”
>> Somewhere between 250 to 300 fans attended the open scrimmage.