With just 59-56 with just under 40 seconds left, Maryland’s Dino Gregory recovered a turnover under Temple’s basket then hurriedly whipped the ball to a Terrapins guard.
But a Terrapin was not the recipient. Instead, Khalif Wyatt entered the picture, picked the ball off and dropped the ball in the hoop, extending Temple’s lead and summarily ending Maryland’s chance of a victory over the tough Owls.
The sequence was emblematic of a Terrapins team that was always in a hurry. Jordan Williams was in a rush to get into his post moves, Terrell Stoglin forced difficult shot after difficult shot and Maryland’s guards hurried the ball into Temple’s waiting hands, time and time again.
The 64-61 loss was disappointing, but the Terps were once down by 15, and certainly showed a scrappy character that will come in handy in February and March. And though the Terps’ box score shows only 15 turnovers, Maryland’s biggest weakness against Temple underscored what will be a season-long struggle: Shoddy point guard play. Even my savior Pe’Shon Howard looked shaky at times, despite his six assists (half the team total).
Other things that jumped out at the Verizon Center’s BB&T Classic (in person!):
-Jordan Williams’s lack of conditioning. He often looked gassed, which led to fouls that he shouldn’t have committed. On the other hand he is glaringly Maryland’s best player, and his post game is developed to a crafty-veteran level. The rebounding is there now, too. Now about that jump shot…
-Pe’Shon is a beast. He is a thick guard, easy to confuse with the bulky Sean Mosley on the floor. He also looked a bit under-conditioned at times. Both him and Stoglin need some Rip Hamilton training.
-Speaking of Mosley: Where the hell was he? The Terps’ best defender and all-around best team player played only 19 minutes, Cliff Tucker, Maryland’s best pure shooter a spare 18 minutes. There is no reason for Adrian Bowie to be playing more minutes than these guys. Bowie had a game of twos: 22 minutes, two points, two assists, two rebounds and two turnovers. Not what you want out of your starting point guard.
-The flex offense is taking a back seat to isolations and dumping the ball down to Jordan Williams and/or Dinames Padgery (James Padgett/Gregory). Or perhaps the flex wasn’t flexing because Tucker and Mosley, who both move well without the ball, were instead replaced by Terrell Stoglin firing bad 3-pointers. The Terps took 10 3s; Stoglin took six of them.
Overall, Maryland is going to take awhile to jell — Gary Williams has found his core players but has not located the correct minute mix for his players. The team showed potential, but as fans, we must hope that Jordan Williams is in it for the long haul. The sophomore is rounding into first-round draft pick form, and with Torrey Smith leaving our football team, I hope he stays for us to build around. Without Williams, this is a team that will struggle to crack 50 points.
Unless this year’s senior class begins taking more time from the freshman/newcomers, a team this inexperienced and wild can only go so far. More from the field next week, when Maryland takes on Boston College at Comcast Center. Hopefully, the story will be different then.
Sidebar: As Maryland fans, we are spoiled. George Washington-Navy was played at a level far below the Temple-Maryland affair, which was plenty ugly in its own right. GW made 18 shots the whole game, Navy tossed in 20 turnovers. The bright side? David Pellum’s circus-show alley-oop dunk. Dino Gregory, pay attention, young man. ABOVE the rim. Stop mimicking Kendrick Perkins. No need to put the ball on the floor when you can jump out of the building.