By: Brendan DarrBy Brendan Darr

Maryland’s second game at full strength was just as successful, if not more so, than the first game with their full roster.  Maryland defeated Samford 75-63 on Saturday afternoon. Point Guard Pe’Shon Howard and Center Alex Len have provided a spark – and talent – that the Terps were previously missing.  Howard and Len have made an immediate impact on a team that struggled at home against inferior opponents earlier in the month.

It’s no coincidence that since the two have been in the lineup the team has won both of their games by double digits, the first two such occurences of the season.  Both players are contributing immediately.  Howard is averaging 6.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists in his three games back from injury.  Len is averaging 13.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2 blocks a game since he’s debuted.

Both players presence has helped ease the pressure on other players.  Howard’s return has eased the pressure on guards Terrell Stoglin and Nick Faust.  It’s clearly helped Faust who had one of his best games in his young career today.  He finished 3-0f-4 from three.  This is a guy who airballed 3 three’s on Wednesday.  He was able to be off the ball and get open looks all game today.

Len has eased the pressure on all the other big men on the roster.  James Padgett has played well all season, and now with Len on the floor, Padgett has more room to operate around the basket.  Len has cut into Berend Weijs’ minutes, but you can hardly tell.  He looked more energized against Albany.

Overall, Maryland is obviously a much different squad now than it was a month ago.  So heading into the new year, will 2012 be more like November or December?  One thing is for certain, the team no longer needs to lean solely on Stoglin –  the ACC’s leading scorer.  However, his scoring touch will still be counted on night-in and night-out.  Stoglin now has back-to-back games with 6 three-pointers.  I wouldn’t expect that – or half that – most nights, but it will definitely be needed against the Duke’s and North Carolina’s later on the schedule.

The score tonight was much closer than the actual game was.  Maryland was up 20 in the second half and had walk-ons to close out the game with the decision in-hand.  Maryland plays Cornell next in their final game before the ACC schedule begins on Tuesday.

Follow Brendan Darr on twitter: @BrendanDarr1067



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