Near the end of Maryland’s basketball exhibition with Division II Indiana (Pa.), the freshmen provided an exciting glimpse into the program’s future.
Guard Seth Allen blew by a defender, drew another as he reached the lane, and slipped a pass to Jake Layman cutting down the baseline. The 6-foot-8 guard rose and slammed a two-hander through the iron, drawing a foul. Layman’s 3-point-play put an exclamation on a strong second-half against the Crimson Hawks in a 73-61 victory at Comcast Center on Friday night.
On a night when Maryland was listless in the first half, Allen and freshman Charles Mitchell were the most impressive players. While the 6-1 Allen (16 points, five steals, five assists) led the defense and operated effectively in 27 minutes at point guard, the 6-8 Mitchell (eight points, 15 rebounds) was an active force in 18 minutes in the frontcourt.
“I was disappointed in our physicality. I thought we played weak in the first half,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “We were really soft the whole game rebounding the ball – too nice, too friendly, except for Charles Mitchell.”
While sophomore guard Nick Faust (13 points) steadied Maryland in the first half, junior guard Pe’Shon Howard (nine points, five assists) did all his scoring in the second half, often sharing the floor with Allen, a surprise to some who figured they would vie for minutes at the point.
“We do that a lot in practice. Me and Pe’Shon go in together,” Allen said. “Tonight I was mostly the one and Pe’Shon played the two.Pe’Shon’s a little taller and wider, so he was guarding the two.”
Also contributing for Maryland were senior guard Logan Aronhalt (eight points), sophomore center Alex Len (eight points, six rebounds, four blocks), and Layman (seven points, four rebounds) as Turgeon substituted freely with nine players working at least 15 minutes.
“We have a five-guard rotation that I feel good about,” Turgeon said. “I think all five guards had pretty nice games. It’s nice to have so much depth.”
The Terp who struggled most was freshman Shaquille Cleare (four rebounds). He failed to score on four shots from the floor and two from the free-throw line, appearing uncomfortable with the ball in his hands.
“He missed his first dunk. He put his head down and never recovered,” Turgeon said. “Shaq’s always positive. That’s the first time I’ve seen him hang his head since he’s been here. He’ll play better.”
Indiana, a perennial power in Division II, has five transfers from Division I schools. Four of them combined for 42 points and 23 rebounds, including former Gonzaga guard Mathis Keita (16 points, seven assists, five rebounds) and former Cleveland State guard Anthony Wells (14 points, four rebounds).
Indiana led early in the second half 36-33 before Maryland took the lead for good with a 12-0 run that included 3-pointers by Allen and Faust.
“They pretty much wore us down,” Indiana coach Joe Lombardi said. “I think that [run] got them out of the web a little bit. They played looser after that and weren’t fighting themselves as much.”
Mitchell on his 15 rebounds in 18 minutes — “I was always taught, use you time wisely. Give it all you’ve got on your time on the court. Just go after it, give your all. If you get tired, we’ll get a sub in.”
Allen — “I felt I played good. I’m glad about the no turnovers.”
Allen on his defense — “Coach always says you play more if you play defense. He wants me to anticipate. That’s why I’m in the middle of the press — read the defense, read their eyes.”