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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Will the Shattenkirk trade force the Caps into another deadline deal?

Will the Shattenkirk trade force the Caps into another deadline deal?

With the NHL trade deadline on Wednesday, the question surrounding the Capitals was whether the team would make a move or stand pat. On Monday we got our answer as the team acquired defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and prospect goalie Pheonix Copley from the St. Louis Blue in exchange for forwards Zach Sanford, Brad Malone and a first and a conditional draft pick(s).

But by addressing the only real weaknesses on the roster, the Caps may have exposed another flaw they could potentially try to address before Wednesday's trade deadline.

With only two right-shooting defensemen in Matt Niskanen and John Carlson, this was a clear area of need for the team. Because of the struggles of the team's two netminders in the AHL, Washington was also in need of a third goalie in case of an injury to Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer. You can read more on the team's needs heading into the trade deadline here.

RELATED: Capitals land defenseman Kevn Shattenkirk

The team addressed both of those needs Monday with Shattenkirk and Copley, but it came at a price. Losing draft picks will have future implications, but the loss of Sanford weakens the team in the present.

Heading into the postseason, if healthy, it's not hard to guess what the Caps' forward lines would be:

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Justin Williams
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Daniel Winnik - Jay Beagle - Tom Wilson

But what if there was an injury? Prior to the hand injury suffered by Andre Burakovsky, the Caps were using the minimum number of forwards and cycling through players from Hershey for road games. That's not an ideal setup for the playoffs.

The plan was thought to be for the team to carry Sanford and Jakub Vrana as the two depth forwards for the postseason. Pinning your hopes on two rookies to step into a playoff situation when called upon is not without risk. Now, however, the Caps don't even have that.

There's a difference between plugging a player in the lineup in the regular season and in the playoffs. The regular season offers an opportunity to give players like Riley Barber and Chandler Stephenson valuable experience. The team can feel comfortable plugging in Zach Sill or Liam O'Brien for a few games. But when it comes to the playoffs in which every game counts, every win brings you one step closer to the Stanley Cup and every loss brings the season closer to an end, the team needs more options than a handful of green prospects and veteran AHLers.

Vrana is projected to be a top-six talent and is starting to hit his NHL potential. He also, however, is prone to turnovers and needs to work on how he plays without the puck. He is a good option for Washington in the playoffs, but for him to be the only option is an enormous risk.

The Shattenkirk deal shows the Caps are all-in this year, but there's one more move they may need to make. With Sanford now gone, the Caps will need to act fast to bring in more forward depth because, besides Vrana, there's not a whole lot of options within the organization.

MORE CAPITALS: Trotz admits Ovechkin was "off" during Saturday's game

Behind Ty Outlaws eight three pointers, the Hokies knock off No. 25 Miami

Behind Ty Outlaws eight three pointers, the Hokies knock off No. 25 Miami

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Ty Outlaw scored a career-high 24 points to lead Virginia Tech to a 66-61 victory over No. 25 Miami on Monday night.

Outlaw, who was averaging 5.0 points per game, set a school record with eight 3-pointers for the Hokies (21-8, 10-7 Atlantic Coast Conference), who won their third straight game and fifth in the last six. Virginia Tech also moved to 15-1 at home this season.

Miami (20-9, 10-7), which moved into The Associated Press top-25 for the first time this season earlier in the day, led 50-48 with just under seven minutes to go.

However, the Hokies went on a 12-4 run to take the lead for good. Virginia Tech scored on five straight possessions, with the final five points coming on a 3-pointer by Outlaw and a dunk by Zach LeDay for a 60-54 lead with 2:11 remaining.

Anthony Lawrence led Miami with 18 points.