COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WUSA) -- The Maryland Terps came out very slow out of the gate in their last non-conference game of the season against the IUPUI Jaguars. Despite winning 81-63, the Terps defense was really bad at times and their offense couldn't make up for it. Mark Turgeon actually benched his entire starting lineup six minutes in to the game after the team trailed 19 -9. Even though, the bench came in and helped raise the shooting percentage to 52% in the first half, the Terps allowed the Jags to shoot 51.9% in that same span.
After the last game, a couple players said they were excited to finally play their first conference game on Saturday; perhaps they were looking past this game. Or maybe, like some college students do, they went out and had too much fun on New Year's Day (I'm just assuming. I have zero knowledge of the matter.)
The players didn't wake up until Turgeon took of his blazer, got animated, and called some quick timeouts to chew in to them. And as they've consistently done throughout the season, Maryland came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders and put the opponent away.
The teams amazing depth will continue to be an asset and Turgeon has done a great job working guys in to their minutes. For example, Shaq Cleare was expected to be the gem of the recruiting class, but Charles Mitchell and Seth Allen have progressed fast than him. As a result, Cleare began the season averaging single digit minutes, but became a consistent contributor to the rotation as he has improved. That's why his stock is on the rise.
Shaq Cleare - Up
This was his best game of the season and he could be peaking at the right time. Turgeon said Shaq has been practicing very well for about three weeks and he finally showed it today. He said it took him a while to get adjusted because in high school they only had one play - him. Now, he is finally getting adjusted to the college level. I asked him what has changed for him from day one and he responded, "I got in better shape."
Alex Len - Down
Remember when we all were talking about this guy potentially going number one in the NBA Draft. Well, with a schedule filled with under-sized opponents, he sure looks like regular old Alex Len. He's had some excellent games, but he's had more games where he looked invisible. When Turgeon was asked why Len didn't receive the ball more tonight, he said if Len doesn't play well, a play won't be called for him. Will the Alex Len please stand up?
Nick Faust - Down
I think Faust is the key to the Terps success. After Len and Dez Wells, he is the other guy that needs to get going. But lately he can't get his act together. Earlier in the season, he was forcing too many bad shots and now that he is being passive, he is turning the ball over. Turgeon said he trust Faust to make the right decision in a key situation, but if he continues to play this way, you'd think he may go another route.
Seth Allen - Up
Still rising. I expect him to start at some point this year. Either for Pe'Shon Howard or Faust.
Pe'Shon Howard - Up
I've been hard on Pe'Shon because I view him as an offensive liability. Well, he kind of feels the same way. Howard has begun to shoot more because he said wants to get in rhythm by the time conference play comes. Anyone who has watched him play this season knows Howard doesn't shoot the ball often. Now that he is being more aggressive, it should open the floor for others. But here's the flip side: this season, he is only converting 30% from the field. It's awful. If he can't convert his chances, put in someone who can. Like Allen.