Coming into today’s game against Georgia Tech, Maryland knew they would need a strong defensive effort in order to control the game. Maryland held Georgia Tech to just 33.9% shooting on the game en route to a 61-50 win over the Yellow Jackets. It was the lowest point total Maryland had held an opponent to all season.
Maryland struggled in the first half as they couldn’t get going offensively. The Terps still led at the half, after shutting down the Yellow Jackets, allowing them to shoot just 24.1% from the field, 20% from 3. The suffocating defense was highlighted on the final possession of the half as Georgia Tech was winding down the shot clock, only to have Nick Faust steal the ball and rush down the court for a highlight dunk as the clock was running out.
Faust had a strong day off the bench, finishing with 8 points, 3 steals, 2 rebounds and an assist. His play on defense was critical to Coach Mark Turgeon saying “He grew up today.” Faust did have a few turnovers, and did shoot a ball completely over the basket, but at the end of the day, he sparked the Terrapins heading into the half.
The second half was more of the same suffocating defense by the Terps. Georgia Tech shot better in the second half, but the Terps forced 9 turnovers in the second half. Maryland had the benefit of having Sean Mosley on their roster in the second half as he scored 16 points in the second half, and finished with 18 for the game. Mosley hit a clutch three to put the Terps back up 7 with time running down in the shot clock after Georgia Tech had cut the lead to 4. He also connected on all ten of his free throw attempts. Mosley also was on Glen Rice, Jr. for most of the day and shut him down.
Turgeon talked about how everyone listens to Mosley during practice and follows his lead. Mosley, when asked about his role as a leader said “I want to show my leadership and maturity in practice. I have played with some great players here. Greivis (Vasquez), Landon (Milbourne) and Eric Hayes all talked the entire practice and I learned from them.”
It’s amazing how Mosley has grown over the last four years. After a great start his freshman season, Mosley seemed to regress the last two years before breaking out again this season. Mosley has done everything this season for the Terps. Whether he is counted on to be the scorer or second fiddle, he has done so. He also competes on defense, and seems like he takes at least one charge a game – generally against bigger players.
Other players on the team were raving about Mosley, after the game Terrell Stoglin said “Sean [Mosley] is the leader of the team. he understood that we needed points at the end of the game. He took us to another level.” Stoglin didn’t have a bad day, but was held to just 14 points. Stoglin did have an assist for the first time since the Cornell game though.
This all came today without Alex Len scoring a point. Len was held in check, as any time he got the ball Georgia Tech swarmed him and made getting a shot off quite difficult. Len was able to grab 9 rebounds, all defensive, and blocked three shots. “We let 11 rebounds for them, which is a little too much, but our post defense, at times, was good. Alex [Len] was just so tall that he really affected their shots” said Turgeon after the game.
While Len struggled to get going offensively, James Padgett picked up the slack. Padgett did a lot of his work off of offensive rebounds, as he had 7 for the game, 9 rebounds in total. Padgett also finished with 14 points, but shot juts 4-for-10 from the floor. When asked about his ability to grab offensive rebounds Padgett joked “I miss a lot of lay-ups. I just go get it.” He also added that “I don’t get a lot of plays (called for me) so I feel like the only way I am going to score is by getting offensive rebounds. If I miss, I go get it and try again.”
The Terps (12-4, 2-1 in ACC) head back on the road to face Florida State, fresh off a win over #3 UNC yesterday. Florida State has been the ACC’s version of Jekyll and Hyde this season. We’ll have to see what team shows up on Wednesday.