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Maryland shows off its depth in win over Morehead State

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Sports,College,Kevin Dunleavy

Turgeon goes to bench early, often in victory

Just 2:09 into the game against Morehead State, Maryland coach Mark Turgeon sent out his first set of reserves. In came Seth Allen and Charles Mitchell. Out went Dez Wells and James Padgett.

And so it went Monday night as Turgeon substituted often and freely as the Terrapins rolled to a 67-45 victory before 8,724 at Comcast Center.

It was the kind of factory-produced win -- cold, workmanlike, routine -- typical of a powerful team facing an inferior opponent. The Terps milked their edge in depth, strength, length, quickness and skill.

"I'm really pleased," Turgeon said. "We wore them down. That was evident."

Maryland (1-1) had few such victories last year in College Park as Turgeon was limited in his substitution pattern. But the second-year coach has quickly transformed the Terps' roster, acquiring quality players in a variety of ways.

"I know it's a good feeling for coach," sophomore guard Nick Faust said. "We have a lot of players this year, guys who can do a lot for the team. We definitely have depth this year. It kind of helps us be honest on the floor."

Among those leading the romp were Faust (12 points), sophomore center Alex Len (11 points, seven rebounds, three blocks) and Padgett (nine points, three rebounds in 13 quality minutes).

In truth, all 10 rotation players contributed in ways big, small and dramatic. There was a high-flying two-handed alley-oop slam by Wells (eight points, three assists) and three show-of-force shot rejections by freshman Shaquille Cleare (eight points, five rebounds).

In more quiet fashion, active freshman forward Charles Mitchell (two points, nine rebounds) helped Maryland to a 40-32 edge on the boards.

But there also was the team defense of Maryland, which limited Morehead State (1-1) to 31.7 percent shooting from the floor and 7.1 percent from beyond the arc and forced 20 turnovers.

"We're nowhere near where we're going to be defensively," Turgeon said. "That's kind of a scary thought."

Maryland set the tone from the start, allowing Morehead State to score on only two of its first 15 possessions. The Terps took advantage later, going on an 11-2 run to take their biggest lead of the half at 33-15. Cleare, a notoriously poor free throw shooter, polished off the run by hitting five of six from the stripe.

In the second half, Morehead State whittled the deficit to 10 points behind the play of Milton Chavis (10 points, five rebounds), but Padgett had the answer, grinding for a pair of buckets. In the final two minutes, Turgeon went to his bench again, this time getting his walk-ons some floor time.

"The only thing we didn't do well was take care of the basketball," Turgeon said of Maryland's 20 turnovers, including a combined seven by point guards Pe'Shon Howard (seven assists) and Seth Allen (six points).

kdunleavy@washingtonexaminer.com

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