Mitchell leads Maryland past Delaware State 79-50

Mitchell leads Maryland past Delaware State 79-50

By Chris Knoche

CSNWashington.com Contributor

It would be impossible to blame Maryland coach Mark Turgeon for being excited about what he’s seeing right now.

His team just finished off their eleventh consecutive win by drilling Delaware State 79-50 before 12,389 at Comcast Center. He had just witnessed season best performances from two key reserves as well as a solid showing from start to finish by the rest of his club.

That the Terps had just spanked Delaware State was not surprising. The Hornets entered the game at 5-7 and a rout was predictable. The way it unfolded was both methodical and precise and represented the best outing–from start to finish–of the Terps this season.

Midway through the first half Delaware had slowed the game to a crawl with a laudable offensive patience and owned a 16-15 lead after a pair of made free throws. Turgeon and his troops were clearly frustrated with the pace and flow of the game.

Enter Charles Mitchell.

The 6’8” freshman has been a man-child for much of the season, to be certain, but he played this game like the newest present under the Terp Nation Christmas tree.

With his team trailing by one at that point, Mitchell scored the first six points of a 17-0 Maryland run that didn’t just put the Terps in command, it effectively ended the contest. The Terps had started the game 3-8 from the field and missed some easy shots in the paint. When you don’t score it completely takes any pressure defense- the easiest way to speed up the tempo of the game- out of the equation. From the time Mitchell caught fire to the end of the first half, the Terps shot 16-18 from the field and led 40-22 at intermission.

While Mitchell had a big hand in changing the course of the game in that first half he had plenty of help. Fellow freshmen Seth Allen and Jake Layman each had six points and shot a combined 5-6 from the field. Allen has proven himself to be up to the task of basketball at this level. Layman has offered tantalizing size and talent but not the production. In terms of style and substance, this was his best half of the season.

The second half would end up being a mirror image of the first with Delaware State starting quickly before succumbing to Maryland’s size and depth. Turgeon continued to coach like it was hockey and kept sending wave after wave of fresh Terps over the boards for regular line changes.

Mitchell ended the game with gargantuan numbers–season high 19 points and 14 rebounds. Allen and sophomore Dez Wells each chipped in ten points but the team numbers dwarfed the individual ones.

Maryland continued a new-found offensive efficiency and shot 33-58 (57%). Their selflessness was on display once again as they totaled 19 assists versus just 10 turnovers. They harassed the Hornets into horrid shooting (18-56, 32%) and forced 19 turnovers.

Perhaps the only thing that Turgeon could find to complain about after the game came in the most unlikely statistical category. The Terps have been in the top five nationally in rebounding all year long and Delaware State didn’t have a starter over 6’7” yet the battle on the backboards was pretty much even all day long. Were it not for Mitchell’s efforts the Terps may have actually found themselves out-rebounded for the first time this season. The final Maryland advantage of 36-30 felt deceptive given the fact that the Hornets tallied 16 rebounds on their offensive end.

Maryland has one more opportunity for a “tune-up” prior to the beginning of ACC play one week from today. They will host IUPUI at home on New Year’s Day as they ramp up to their league home opener against Virginia Tech.

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Center depth issues not new for Redskins - even with attempts to improve

Center depth issues not new for Redskins - even with attempts to improve

With Kory Lichtensteiger battling calf and back injuries, the Redskins have serious issues with depth at center. This is nothing new. 

When the Redskins got to the NFL Draft in May, some thought had Washington targeting Alabama center Ryan Kelly. A beast at 'Bama, 'Skins broadcaster Chris Cooley called Kelly the best prospect at his position in the draft by a wider margin than any other player at any other position. Drafting Kelly would have solved many of Washington's offensive line problems, but that plan went awry when the Colts picked Kelly with the 18th pick. Washington did not draft until 21, and eventually would trade down a spot and take receiver Josh Doctson. 

With Kelly off the board, the Redskins returned to Richmond for training camp with Kory Lichtensteiger as their starting center. Though often a target of fan criticism, Lichtensteiger provides good leadership along the offensive line and expertly identifies defensive fronts, making calls quickly for his fellow linemates.

Despite that, Lichtensteiger has struggled at times playing center. Knowing that, Scot McCloughan attempted to make a trade for former Patriots center Bryan Stork in late August. The whole move for Stork was bizarre, as the player contemplated retirement and eventually failed his physical, nullifying the trade.

Beyond Stork, the Redskins worked to develop another center in Austin Reiter. A 7th-round pick in 2015, Reiter spent last season on the Washington practice squad and opened the 2016 year in the same spot. The Browns came in and poached Reiter to their 53-man roster, and this weekend, he will likley hit the field at FedEx though wearing a different uniform. 

What makes Reiter's name so interesting is that injuries to not just Lichtensteiger but also left guard Shawn Lauvao mean that backup center/guard Spencer Long must play center as there is nobody else capable on the roster. Jay Gruden said Monday that the team will be forced to bring in a "center-type" player this week as there are no other healthy options outside of Long.

With Long at center and if Lauvao is out as many suspect, the Redskins must turn to second-year man Arie Kouandjio at guard, or move veteran Pro Bowler Trent Williams inside and play Ty Nsekhe at tackle. Neither option is ideal. 

Injuries to Lichtensteiger and Lauvao are causing the musical chairs on the Redskins offensive line, but it's not like the Washington brass didn't know they had little depth in the middle. Despite their efforts - Kelly has now started three games for the Colts as a rookie, Stork failed his physical, and Reiter is in Cleveland - they just could not fix it in time.

 

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Veteran Terrell Suggs making his snaps count, helps Ravens to 3-0 start

Veteran Terrell Suggs making his snaps count, helps Ravens to 3-0 start

The Ravens are monitoring Terrell Suggs’ snap count, coming off a season-ending Achilles injury in 2015 and playing his 14th NFL season. However, Suggs made key plays for the Ravens in Week 3, and his best could be yet to come.

Suggs had two sacks against the Jaguars, including one on their final drive that helped seal the Ravens’ 19-17 victory. The veteran outside linebacker played 37 snaps against the Jaguars, and he hasn’t played more than 39 snaps in any of the first three games. But when the Ravens needed big plays down the stretch in Jacksonville, Suggs was fresh enough and good enough to deliver.

“For Terrell Suggs – I think he is a great example – to pull off the big plays that he pulled off with the sacks and the run stop at the end of that game, to be in that kind of shape that you have to be in to do something like that in that kind of heat says it all,” said Ravens coach John Harbaugh.

Suggs admitted he was drained by the heat and humidity in Jacksonville.

“I kept using the hose on the sideline, drinking water,” Suggs said after the game. “Anytime you get a sack and I can’t celebrate afterward, that shows you. I was in shape, I thought I hydrated enough, but apparently not. This Florida sun got me again.”

Suggs knows that some people aren’t sold on the Ravens’ 3-0 start, but he doesn’t care. He expects the Ravens to be at their best late in the season, when the stakes are highest. And Suggs expects the same for himself.

"A win's a win's, they all count," Suggs said. "What's more important, they're three AFC wins...This is the NFL man, you can't take no wins for granted, as we all learned last year. Three-and-O is 3-0, no matter what y'all say about it."

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