Given the lack of high-profile wins on their resume, Maryland’s home game against No. 2 Duke is a critical one for Mark Turgeon’s Terrapins.
And if they’re to beat Duke the Terrapins will have to do so without junior guard Pe’Shon Howard, who has been suspended for a violation of team rules. Howard has struggled this season at the point, and Turgeon noted in his meeting with the media on Friday that there’s no guarantee that the suspension will be for just one game.
Turgeon said Howard is “not making very smart decisions. We’ve got team rules you’ve got to follow. We’ll sit him out this game.”
The coach wouldn’t specify what rules may have been violated. He said Howard will be re-evaluated after this weekend, and that his suspension could last just one game, or perhaps several games.
Howard’s productivity has dropped significantly, as he’s playing ten fewer minutes per game (22.0) this season and averaging 3.3 points and 4.2 assists per contest. The assist number is higher than his average last season (3.7 apg) but he’s shooting 28.6% from the field and 26.3% from beyond the arc.
Turgeon has used three different players at the point this season: Howard, freshman Seth Allen and sophomore Nick Faust. With Howard suspended Allen will see more time at the point, with Faust likely getting the start after doing so in Maryland’s 80-69 loss to Virginia on Sunday.
Faust finished with eight points, three assists and two turnovers against Virginia, and Allen contributed 11 points, five assists, five steals and three turnovers off the bench. Howard finished Sunday’s game with five points and two assists in 17 minutes of action, and Turgeon stated on Friday that the junior has played better coming off the bench.
“He’s just got to make better decisions,” Turgeon said of Howard according to J.P. Finlay of CSNWashington. “He’ll miss one game, maybe two, maybe three. I want him to learn from his decisions.”
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.
The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.
They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.
That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.
So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.
Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:
With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.
At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes
“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:
“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”
“It’s all money.”
Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.
Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .
Want to talk about coaching luxuries?
Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.