Terrapins likely to turn to Faust at point guard
In Sunday's horrific loss at Miami, Maryland scored 47 points and shot 31.8 percent from the floor and 44.4 percent from the free throw line, all season lows. But the most telling number that emerged was four. That's how many assists the Terrapins accumulated in the Miami meltdown.
For a team that trumpeted its chemistry during a 13-game winning streak and still has assisted on 63.5 percent of its baskets, ranking 20th in the nation, Sunday was an alarming indication that the offense has suddenly gone sideways.
"Because it's not going well, we're not playing as together as much as we were. We're being a little more selfish," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "Guys are trying to do it themselves as opposed to doing it as a team."
|No. 14 N.C. State at Maryland|
|When » Wednesday, 7 p.m.|
|Where » Comcast Center|
|TV » ESPN2|
With No. 14 N.C. State (14-2, 3-0) next up Wednesday night at sold out Comcast Center, Maryland (13-3, 1-2) needs to figure it out quickly. The Wolfpack are coming off an upset of then-No. 1 Duke on Saturday, their 10th straight win, and lead the nation in field goal shooting (52.8 percent).
With the offense failing to produce quality shots, the focus has fallen on junior point guard Pe'Shon Howard, who has missed his last 13 shots and has just two assists in 41 minutes in the two losses. According to Turgeon, Howard's moody disposition has contributed to his slide.
"I said, 'Quit feeling sorry for yourself because no one else is. Maybe your dad is, but no one else,'?" Turgeon said. "?'Get your head out and start playing the way you're supposed to play.'?"
Freshman Seth Allen started at the point against Miami but wasn't the answer. He scored four points and failed to get an assist in 29 minutes. On Tuesday, Turgeon said he was more comfortable with Allen playing the wing.
That leaves 6-foot-6 sophomore Nick Faust, a wing guard who is likely to get plenty of playing time at the point against N.C. State.
"He had a great practice at the point. He wasn't trying to shoot the ball. He was trying to run our team," Turgeon said of Tuesday's workout. "Hopefully this kind of gets him going. We gotta try something. We need Seth to score. Seth off the ball I think is gonna help him score a little more."
With Howard injured and out of the lineup for 18 games last year, Faust got significant time at the point. He said he is excited about the opportunity to spark the offense.
"We definitely need to have more patience on offense and get the right shot," Faust said. "I can get to the paint a lot, so me driving and kicking, just do what I can to help us get an easy shot."
Faust also will look to push the ball up the court. With their speed and athletic ability at all positions, the Terps have been strong in transition. A few breakaway dunks on the run would be the best way to energize Wednesday's crowd.
"Tomorrow can be a big, signature win for us," Faust said. "Guys are hyped, ready to play."