Turgeon Era Begins With A Win

11/13/2011 8:41:29 PM The Terps held off a pesky UNC Wilmington squad tonight.  The final tally shows a 9 point win for the Terps but the reality is that the outcome was never in doubt.  After halftime, the Terps took control and pushed the lead to double digits.

Unfortunately, they weren't able to extend the lead to 20+ points like we are used to seeing.  Still, we are talking about a team that plays 7 scholarship players and none of them are true point guards. 

With my fan's eye; I'll humbly present the good and bad from tonight's game.

The Good

- The Frontcourt.  The duo of Padgett and Pankey could be the most pleasant surprise of the early season.  Both seem to have a knack for the glass (15 boards combined) and Padgett is clearly benefiting from not having to look over his shoulder.  James knows his playing time is guaranteed and he's playing with much more confidence.  He scored his career high in points tonight.  Of course, so did Mr. Pankey.  Ashton is a good athlete and he possesses some nice low post moves.  At 6'9", he's going to be tough to handle.  I can't say enough about these two.  By midseason, I'm confident the Terps will be holding their own down low.

- Turnovers. The first half was ugly.  The Terps had 9 giveaways.  They ended the game with only 13 turnovers.  That's a great sign.  The young Terps improved as the game went on.  In fact, they had 7 TOs in the first 10 minutes, so only incurring 6 TOs in the final 30 minutes is something any coach would take.  Faust did a great job running point in first collegiate game.  An impressive feat considering he hasn't run point since middle school.

The Bad

-  Assists.  The Terps only dished out 7 assists.  Greivis Vasquez could do that in a half.  The offense flowed nicely but it is a concern that the guys are setting each other up for easy baskets.  I imagine it will get better.

- Free Throw Shooting.  Faust looked shaky from the line, but he hit the big ones when the counted (a great sign).  Padgett looked lost from the line again.  He's just not a good free throw shooter and it could hurt us at points in the season.

- Three Point Shooting.  The Terps didn't hit one all game.  That's hard to believe and I will chalk it up to a combination of nerves, the coaches demand for good shot selection, and just getting a feel for a live game again. 

Bottom Line

It's impossible to tell from tonight's contest whether or not the Terps will be good this year.  However, I feel pretty good.  They appear to be well-coached and the Team is athletic enough to compete in the ACC.  If the guard play becomes more consistent and Turgeon continue to get production from the guys up front, the Terps can very good. 

We are going to learn a lot about this team on Thursday.  Alabama is a quality team and the Terps will have to play nearly perfect to win.  I can't wait.
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