Terps Tame Tigers

Timothy Earl February 28, 2013 Comments Off on Terps Tame Tigers

Clemson_Maryland_Basketball_027e3-7435The Maryland Terrapins, ignited by a season-high 18 points from guard Nick Faust, bounced back from a poor performance at Boston College and beat the Clemson Tigers 72-59 at Comcast Center.

Faust, a sophomore from Baltimore, propelled the Terrapin team with his fantastic all-around play. He buried key three pointers in the second half which allowed the Terrapins to keep a double-digit lead in a game where they played more in control and smarter on offense than they had on the road at Chestnut Hill.

Faust took his turn at point guard and did not disappoint. He was also instrumental, along with freshman Jake Layman, in leading a full court press, which jump-started a lethargic Terrapin offense and helped build a 10-point first half lead.

The lead was down to 35-32 at the half but the press was also effective in the second half and wore down the Tigers who committed seven turnovers. Layman had two of the thefts.

Faust shot a blistering 7-for-10 from the field including 4-for-7 on three pointers. He also had three steals and three assists with, impressively, no turnovers. All orchestrated before a man who knew a thing or two about good point guards, former Terrapin coaching legend Charles “Lefty” Driesell, who was honored at half time.

The Terrapins, after suffering a humbling 69-58 loss to 12-15 Boston College in their previous game, were more careful with the ball and played with added maturity. They only had eight turnovers when they usually have nearly twice that number.

The offense was led by a well-balanced and determined scoring attack. Layman contributed 12 points for the Terps, and Shaquille Cleare added 10 points and six rebounds. Center Alex Len had nine points and eight rebounds and Charles Mitchell tallied eight points to go along with seven rebounds.

Thanks to the efforts of their big men, the Terrapins scored 42 points in the paint compared to 28 for Clemson. The Terps also out-rebounded the Tigers 39-29.

Maryland shot nearly 50 percent from the field and had 19 assists, both hallmarks of their 13-game winning streak earlier in the year, which allowed them to control the game for the entire second half. Their only black eye was their foul shooting as they only connected on 6 of 16 for a poor 37.5 percent success rate.

The Terps began the second half with a three point lead which methodically ballooned to nine at 44-35 following a Faust three-pointer with 15:54 to play in a second half where the Terrapins never trailed. The lead hit double-digits at 51-40 after a layup by Cleare with 12:29 remaining in the game.

A Len three-point-play after a feed from Pe’Shon Howard, who was back after a one game suspension, allowed the Terps to post their largest lead of the game at 56-40 with 11:20 left to play. The Terrapins, with a 10-man rotation, kept the pressure on Clemson and the tired Tigers scratched and clawed, but would get no closer than 10 points the rest of the way at 59-49 with 6:16 remaining in the second half.

Another Faust three pointer stopped that Tiger threat and gave the Terrapins all the breathing room they would need, winning 62-49 a quick 23 seconds later. Fittingly, Faust scored the Terrapins final bucket of the game.

Maryland improved to 19-8, 7-7 in ACC play, good for sixth place with four regular-season ACC games left to play.

Clemson was led by Devin Booker, who scored 16 points. Freshman Jordan Roper chipped in 13 points and Milton Jennings added 10 points and nine rebounds in a losing effort. The Tigers are now an even 13-13, and at 5-9 are tied with Wake Forrest for eighth place in league play.