Welcome to our first edition of "The Five," where, after every Terps game, Rachel Klein identifies five trends she picked up on. First up, it's the Maryland-Boston College game last night in Boston, an 88-80 UMD victory.
Graham Brings Toughness
Jon Graham has given the Terps a toughness they have been desperately searching for down in the paint all season. Last Sunday against George Washington, Graham came off the bench and infused the team with an intensity they had clearly lacked for the majority of the first half. His numbers won't "wow" you either. He had five points, five rebounds and three blocked shots against GW and just two points, four rebounds and a blocked shot against BC, but his willingness to be physical and his aggressiveness in the paint is a welcome change. It doesn't always look pretty, but Graham gives the team a boost inside (and hey, when has Maryland basketball ever prided itself on being pretty?)
Smotrycz Needs to Revert to Form
Evan Smotrycz has gotten away from what made him so successful in the Virgin Islands (and no it's not the weather). During the Paradise Jam, he missed several of his outside shots and rather than settle for fade-away jumpers, Smotrycz attacked the rim off the dribble and even posted his man up a few times on the blocks. However, last night he seemed to be lacking the "4" part of his "stretch 4" game, settling for 3s rather than embracing contact. Seven of his eight shot attempts were 3-pointers, and his only other shot? It was one dribble inside the arc. Smotrycz has to have a physical side of his game; even if he doesn't make the shot he can get to the line and put point on the board.
And About Smotrycz' defense...
I am starting to feel kind of bad. This isn't rag on Evan Smotrycz day, or.... OK, maybe it is. But deservedly so if you watched him closely on the defensive end. I might have to chalk this one up to a bad night for the Massachusetts native. Maybe he was nervous in front of his home crowd? But Smotrycz played especially poor defense last night. He was biting on shot fakes, getting beat off the dribble, not boxing out and just looked flat out lost at times on the defensive end. At one point after getting beat of the dribble, he just stood in the paint while his teammate (who had helped stop ball) had to recover from the other side of the lane only to see his man drain a 3. Meanwhile, Smotrycz was busy boxing out the Holy Ghost inside.
Wells Goes Off, But...
Yes, Dez Wells had a fantastic game last night and score a career-high 33 points, but Boston College's defense isn't exactly the cream of the crop. He won't be able to weave his way through the lane against better teams. It is a good sign that Dez is back on track, but is his success sustainable?
Peters Proves Himself
Roddy Peters is getting better, and although he still has his freshman moments, he has been proving that he is learning and improving. I thought Peters showed tremendous mental toughness against George Washington after a poor (I'm being kind) showing in Columbus. He furthered that notion last night against BC with a career-high 14 points. Although I just mentioned his scoring, it's his ability to find his teammates when they are in a good position to score that impresses me most. Peters has a "Wells-like" ability to knife through opposing defenses, but rather than always taking it himself he will often dish it off to one of the big men for an easy layup. Peters leads the team with 33 assists, while Wells has 23 despite averaging 13 more minutes than his freshman counterpart. #operationpatience
The Five: What I Learned After Boston College
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