This was the game Mark Turgeon had been waiting for.
Seth Allen finished with 10 points, three steals and two assists against Delaware State. (File photo by Bill Bride)
From start to finish the Maryland men’s basketball team played with poise on both offense and defense against Delaware State and coasted to a dominant, 79-50 win in front of 12,398 fans inside Comcast Center.
Not much went wrong for Maryland, and the Terps (11-1) finally put together a complete effort – in both halves – against an unheralded opponent.
This, at last, in the penultimate game before conference play begins, was the type of performance Turgeon had been looking for out of his young team. The second-year coach was so pleased with his players – and had seen enough out of them – that he started putting in the team’s walk-ons with 2:20 left in regulation.
“I was pleased. I thought we played really well,” Turgeon said. “We shared the ball well. We executed well … Guys have been practicing well, and it showed.”
Charles Mitchell led all scorers with a career-high 19 points and recorded his third career double-double by grabbing 14 rebounds. Seth Allen and Dez Wells finished with 10 points apiece, while Pe’Shon Howard chipped in six points and six assists.
“It feels great to get everybody to touch the ball and rotate and get in the flow of the game,” Mitchell said. “All of us were playing together. It was a full team win. When we have a lead on a team, we want to keep the lead. We don’t want to give up the lead when we know we should be beating a team by 20 or 30 points.”
With Delaware State (5-8) running a slow, weave offense, the Terps put forth a much better performance compared to their outing against South Carolina State, which utilized a similar strategy. Maryland shot 56.9 percent from the floor while holding Delaware State to just 32.1 percent. The Terps also recorded 19 assists while turning the ball over a season-low 10 times.
On offense, Maryland outscored Delaware State, 58-20, in the paint and, 45-8, off the bench. On defense, the Terps forced 19 turnovers, nine of which came off steals, and scored 29 points off giveaways.
“I think we played great defensively for 40 minutes,” Allen said. “We really played Maryland defense. There were a couple things we can work on, but it was a good win.”
“Other than the fact that we didn’t outrebound them as much as we wanted to, we did a great job of executing and dictating the pace of the game,” Wells added. “We hated the South Carolina State game, when they dictated the pace of the game. We wanted to get into our press and speed them up. We really executed our press and got things going the way we wanted to.”
After an uneventful first eight minutes to the game, Maryland began to pick it up midway through the first half. The Terps went on a 17-0 run over a five-and-a-half minute span, extending their lead to 32-16, and never looked back, controlling the tempo and pace of the rest of the game en route to the 29-point win.
Maryland effectively used a full court press in the second half, speeding up the pace of the game and going on another dominant run – this time scoring 12 unanswered points – before closing out the victory with walk-ons on the court.
“I just didn’t want the tempo to slow down too much,” Turgeon said. “We don’t practice a lot of pressing after makes. We did a pretty good job of it. I don’t think they were ready for it at the start, and we got some easy baskets because of it.”
With the win, Maryland picked up its 11th straight victory, a mark tied for the third-longest win streak in program history.
But more importantly – for Turgeon at least – Saturday’s outing showed him the potential this year’s team has with just one more game left to prepare for ACC play.
“We know what lies ahead next Saturday [in Virginia Tech],” Turgeon said. “We’re really excited about that. We’re looking forward to it. You see a sense of urgency with us.
“Guys really executed. It’s coming. I’m excited about this group, and where it can go.”
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