Maryland hopes a week off helps as Saint Peter’s visits

The aftermath of Saint Peter’s run to the Elite Eight last spring was jolting. Coach Shaheen Holloway bolted for Seton Hall and the Peacocks’ top six scorers transferred out.

Considering the exodus, Saint Peter’s (6-5) has picked up the pieces nicely heading into a challenging game Thursday at Maryland (8-3).

With an odds-and-ends collection of players, the Peacocks have developed an identity built around defensive toughness and bench play. Coach Bashir Mason doesn’t use a set rotation as 11 players have started at least two games.

“This is something I did at Wagner,” Mason said of his previous stop. “Everybody in uniform is going to have an opportunity to play. When guys fully commit, buy into their roles, it’s tough for the other teams to deal with.”

On Sunday, that was the case for MAAC foe Quinnipiac, which lost for just the third time this season, 63-56. Senior Isiah Dasher scored a career-high 29 points and Latrell Reid added 13 points and nine rebounds for the Peacocks. Dasher has become the team’s key scorer, topping double-digits in eight consecutive games.

Reid, a 6-3 guard who was the last man off the bench last season, epitomizes the Peacocks’ lunch-pail ethic, leading the team in rebounds (6.8), assists (4.5) and steals (1.6) per game.

Under its own first-year coach Kevin Willard, Maryland finds itself in a different mindset, as the Terps try to regain the edge that has slipped away from them.

After they reeled off eight straight wins and reached No. 13 in the AP Top 25, the Terps have lost three in a row and are suddenly unranked.

Last week’s humbling 87-60 loss to UCLA, now ranked No. 13, was Maryland’s most decisive defeat at home since its arena opened 20 years ago.

Lots of things went haywire for the Terps as they committed 16 turnovers and forced only four. The Bruins pushed their lead all the way to 38 points before easing up late.

“This is the first time all season that we really just didn’t have a lot of energy on the defensive end,” Willard said. “They took advantage of it.”

The loss came after taxing defeats at Wisconsin and Tennessee, who are now ranked Nos. 17 and 8.

One positive against UCLA was reserve Ian Martinez, who scored 16 points on 6 of 9 shooting with 4 of 5 from 3-point range. Point guard Jahmir Young, who excelled during the Terps fast start, went 0-for-8, with five turnovers and one assist.

They like to think that an eight-day layoff will help them regain some of that energy.

–Field Level Media