Maryland and head coach Mark Turgeon received some encouraging news over the weekend as it was reported by CSN Baltimore’s Daniel Martin that point guard Seth Allen has been cleared to play by doctors and has returned to practice on Friday and Saturday as the Terrapins prepare for a Sunday contest against Tulsa.
Allen had surgery last month to repair a broken bone in his left foot and was expected to miss anywhere between eight and ten weeks. As Martin noted in his story, Thursday marked eight weeks for Allen and now the Terrapins hope that the return of their sophomore floor general can help stabilize the position.
In Allen’s absence, Maryland has experimented at point guard with freshman Roddy Peters, as well as guys like Dez Wells and Nick Faust playing out of position to mixed results. Maryland is 218th in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio as they’ve struggled to a 7-5 start.
“The whole thing is the doctor said, ‘It’s healed, he’s free to go,’” Turgeon said to the media on Saturday. “To me it’s either broke or it’s not broke. Well, it’s not broke anymore.”
“He’s favoring it a little bit, but didn’t have any pain, which is good. We’re just taking it one day at a time to see what we can get out of him … We’ll see how he reacts.”
Maryland will likely bring Allen along slowly, as he gets back into shape and adjusts to game speed.
“It’ll be a process,” Turgeon said. “I don’t think we can expect [Allen] to play a lot of minutes tomorrow night and be fantastic. If he’s not sore and everything goes good, we’ll try to give him a few minutes each half and then just go from there.”
Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.
After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.
Video credit: Wyoming Athletics
Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.
Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.
Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.
Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.
Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.
But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.