The BB&T Classic has been a constant on Maryland's schedule since its inception. After listening to Mark Turgeon the last couple days, it sounds like Maryland may have played its last game in the showcase. If this was the last game that Maryland played in the classic, they went out on top with a 69-62 win over George Mason Sunday
Maryland's early season struggles continued against the Patriots. The Terps continued to struggle to hold on to the ball as they had more turnovers than assists. Maryland also continued their poor shooting from behind the arc and at the charity stripe. Obviously, Maryland has a lot of time to turn these problem areas around. Perhaps more importantly, despite the struggles, they are finding ways to win.
Wells had his best game as a collegiate player, scoring a team and career-high 25 points against George Mason. For long stretches of the game, Wells was the only player scoring for Maryland. The Terps opened up the game with an 8-4 advantage, which was all done by Wells. He then went over 14 minutes without a basket, and not shockingly, Maryland struggled on offense.
It's becoming clear that Wells is going to be the most important player on this team. With the Maryland guards unable to consistently get the ball to Alex Len, Wells has to step-up and be the leader on offense. Wells just has a different gear that the other players don't seem to have. His elite athleticism and ability to knock down jump shots make him an incredibly versatile and unique weapon.
Holloway came off the bench and immediately made an immediate impact for the Patriots. In the first half, Holloway was on fire and single-handily kept George Mason in the game. Holloway did struggle in the second half. As Maryland took the lead back after a slow start, Holloway was counted on to take -- and make -- many big shots, but couldn't. Either way, Holloway was George Mason's best player, and a big reason they played as well as they did for the first 25 minutes.
Maryland's Interior Defense
Maryland's big men again won the rebounding battle. It looks impressive, a plus-15 margin, but it was much closer until late in the game when George Mason started bombing away from deep. Regardless, the big men made life miserable down low for George Mason, and it could have been worse if Alex Len hadn't picked up early fouls.
Maryland's Free Throw Shooting
It is early in the season, yes. Forwards got to the free throw line more often than the guards, yes. Still, shooting under 60% from the free throw line? That's bad. Very bad. I don't quite know how Maryland fixes this issue -- other than shooting thousands of free throws per day -- but Maryland will struggle against better opponents if the free throw issues persist.
George Mason's Shot Selection
Mason actually had a lead in this game despite shooting 31% from the game. It's not often a team can say that. It wasn't all the Patriots who took bad shots, just the ones not named Sherrod Wright or Patrick Holloway. That duo combined for 34 of George Mason's 62 points.
George Mason had four players take more than three shots and not make a basket, including Byron Allen who was 0-for-8 from the floor.
As I mentioned, Maryland finished with more turnovers (19) than assists (14). Somehow, despite high turnover numbers Maryland is finding ways to win. Dez Wells had a team-high five turnovers, and while he was great on offense, Turgeon did joke with Wells about his turnovers.
Turgeon joked that he told Wells that the player was going to set the new Maryland record for turnovers if he kept playing the way he was. Wells said "I needed to calm down" and he did.
I understand why Mark Turgeon was upset on Saturday and again after the game about the BB&T Classic. He said he wants to do what is best for Maryland, and that may or may not include the classic in the future. The crowd was announced at just over 10,000 people, but looked much more empty than that. Then there was the issue with the Maryland students being stuck in the upper-level where it looked like George Mason's "student section" was sprinkled throughout the lower levels.
It doesn't help that Maryland can no longer get a marquee game out of this "tournament" and seems to be the only thing keeping it intact. The crowd was supposedly a deciding factor for Turgeon, and I can't imagine Sunday's crowd will convince the coach to bring his team back.