Comcast Center had a familiar feel to it Saturday afternoon.
Coach Mark Turgeon described Saturday's win by saying: “It wasn’t a fun game to be a part of to be quite honest with you." (Photo by Bill Bride)
Another vastly overmatched MEAC opponent. Another blowout win for Maryland. Another game that not much can be concluded from, one where the Terps simply did what they had to do and got to play their walk-ons in garbage time.
The Terps topped South Carolina State, 61-46, on Saturday in front of 12,052 fans inside Comcast Center. The win came three days after Maryland topped another MEAC opponent, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, by 32 points.
“It’s a win,” coach Mark Turgeon said. “I was pleased with the attendance today. The students were good, into the game. There wasn’t anything to get into very easily.”
Alex Len led Maryland with 13 points and six rebounds, while Shaquille Cleare (eight points, eight rebounds) and Dez Wells (eight points, three rebounds, two assists) also put forth solid performances. As a whole, the Terps (8-1) used a balanced offensive attack – 10 players scored and Maryland assisted on 16 of its 19 field goals – to top the Bulldogs (4-5).
Despite the win, Maryland’s offensive performance was nowhere near Turgeon wants it to be. The Terps shot 37 percent from the field – the team’s worst shooting performance since the season opener vs. Kentucky (33 percent) – and their scoring output of 61 points was their worst since Feb. 25, 2012 in a 65-61 loss to Georgia Tech.
“It wasn’t a fun game to be a part of to be quite honest with you,” Turgeon said. “We didn’t make shots, so they could stay in zone. We could never get separation because we couldn’t make a shot.”
“It was guys who normally hit shots,” said Seth Allen, who finished with three points and five assists. “Their zone was funky. It was weird. We haven’t played like a zone like that before. It was so wide open, it kind of threw off our rhythm. We just weren’t hitting shots.”
South Carolina State ran a weave offense in an attempt to slow down the game’s tempo, and it worked. A game after scoring 100 points, the Terps and Bulldogs combined to score 107 on Saturday.
“They just tried to slow us up and get us bored on defense,” Cleare said. “We have to always try to remain disciplined.”
“In the beginning it was frustrating, but coach told us to be mentally tough,” Allen added. “A lot of teams are going to do that to us. We’ve got to mature and guard through the whole shot clock.”
Maryland once again came out on top in points in the paint, 28-6, bench points, 27-9, and rebounding, 39-30. The Terps also held an opponent under 50 points for the second time this season.
“We did well. We didn’t score as many points as we wanted to, but we still defended well and rebounded well,” Wells said.
With the win, Maryland picked up its eighth straight victory, marking the program’s longest win streak since 2006. One more win would give Maryland its longest win streak since claiming 13 in a row during the 2001-02 season. The Terps play Monmouth on Wednesday.
“That just wasn’t a lot of fun for me,” Turgeon said. “I don’t know about you guys. I just didn’t have much fun out there.
“It’s a W. We’ll take tomorrow off, move on and hopefully get better Monday.”