COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland went into Tuesday night’s matchup vs. Bowie State with a simple set of goals and accomplished them in a 93-62 victory.
Here they are, along with how they took care of each.
1) Get the win in dominating fashion
Maryland has had to turn it on down the stretch to beat lesser teams in the past. The risk with playing a team like Bowie State this late in the season is not really about losing, but allowing them to stick around to the point that you have to run your starters deep into the game and then have the outcome reflect poorly on your resume even in a victory.
The Terrapins left no doubt after a rocky start to the game, winning by 31. The biggest key to shifting into another gear, Mark Turgeon said after the game, was adjusting to Bowie State’s defensive pressure. They were not ready for it early, but got onto solid ground later on.
2) Get the backcourt on a pitch count
Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon have been the two most heavily taxed players on the roster in terms of minutes. Without full trust in a third ball handler, the two have often had to play 35 or more minutes per game.
Tuesday night, Turgeon was able to set his team up for a game situation, but then pull back and keep minutes low. Trimble played 17. Sulaimon played 20.
3) Stay in a rhythm
Having a Big Ten bye -- meaning there is no scheduled conference game during the workweek -- can get a team out of rhythm. Turgeon wanted to maintain that and he did.
Trimble and others got some run, faced a press, and faced a zone, then avoided injury and got back to the bench to hand the keys over to the reserves. The hope is that all rust is shaken off for when Maryland welcomes Wisconsin to College Park.
4) See what you can get from your bench
The guard rotation becomes so much less stressed when you can have three ball handlers to work with instead of just two. That is where junior college transfer Jaylen Brantley comes into play.
He did what he is most needed for. He took minutes pressure off of Trimble and Sulaimon, eating up 21 minutes -- and he played well. He scored 10 points during that time. If he can play with a continued confidence, that changes how Maryland can approach certain matchups from a depth standpoint.
Michal Cekovsky was equally as big. He had a career high of 14 points and is taking steps toward proving that if Maryland runs into foul trouble, he can be another strong post option off the bench. With six regular-season games left, plus the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments, it’s almost inevitable that some matchup will present that need.