COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Mark Turgeon decided to shuffle his starting lineup, an unusual course of action for the coach of a team riding a lengthy winning streak.
Turgeon cited Maryland’s deep bench and unselfish demeanor of his players as the reason behind the switch. He didn’t mention that it wasn’t much of a risk, given the opponent on Wednesday night.
Logan Aronhalt scored 15 of his 17 points from beyond the arc, and the Terrapins breezed past winless Maryland-Eastern Shore 100-68 for their seventh straight victory.
Charles Mitchell had 10 points and 11 rebounds for Maryland (7-1), which had five players score in double figures. Alex Len contributed nine points, nine rebounds and two blocks in only 17 minutes.
Turgeon opened with a lineup that did not include usual starters Len, Pe’Shon Howard and Nick Faust. Instead, freshmen Shaquille Cleare, Jake Layman and Seth Allen received their first college starts.
“No one was in trouble, I just did it because you never know what lies ahead,” Turgeon said. “I want everybody to know what it feels like to start in a game. So we did that. I’ve never done that before, but I’ve never had a team like this that really likes each other as much as this team does and has the depth this team has. I know there’s no bruised egos because I did that.”
To the contrary, the players loved it.
“I thought it was a great experience, knowing we have great depth on our team, knowing that everybody can play,” Mitchell said. “It was good just having different faces out there starting and knowing they can fill the roles of our regular starters.”
Turgeon informed the team that he’s going to do the same thing in Maryland’s next game, against South Carolina State.
“I told them we’re going start a different lineup Saturday and then we’ll get back to back to business,” he said.
Playing the first of eight straight home games, Maryland improved 16-0 in this lopsided in-state series. The Terrapins shot 64 percent from the floor in building a 49-28 halftime lead.
“I think Maryland’s transition game really did us in,” UMES coach Frankie Allen said. “Maryland’s overall strength, talent, and ability to score in transition — and our inability to score in transition — kind of sealed our fate early.”
With Cleare, Allen and Layman leading the way, the Terrapins hit their first four shots and raced to an 11-3 lead. Cleare had two baskets in the surge and scored 10 of his 12 points before halftime.
Kyree Jones led Maryland-Eastern Shore (0-8) with 24 points, including 18 in the first half, and Troy Snyder had 19. With 14 minutes left, Jones had 21 of his team’s 38 points.
“We kind of put the ball in his hands,” coach Allen said. “He was able to get some open looks to really score for us.”
Jones scored the Hawks’ first 11 points, and a follow-shot by Travis Trim cut the deficit to 20-13. Aronhalt then drilled a pair of 3-pointers in a 10-point spurt that put Maryland up 30-13.
Aronhalt finished 5 for 7 from 3-point range and is 15 for 23 (65 percent) beyond the arc for the season.
“Logan can shoot it,” Turgeon said. “When he misses, it’s a shock.”
The margin swelled to 20 points for the first time when Allen scored from beyond the arc to make it 41-21 with 2:38 left in the half.
Jones was 7 for 12 from the field in the first half and his teammates were 2 for 27.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)