DURHAM, N.C. — Maryland survived life without guard Pe’Shon Howard in November and December.
Doing so again in the final month of the season won’t be quite so simple — or as easy to figure out.
Howard was lost for the rest of the season Thursday when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Maryland received the results of medical tests on the sophomore Friday, then lost 73-55 at Duke just 24 hours later.
The upshot of it all: The Terrapins (14-10, 4-6 ACC) find themselves searching for a point guard, never an ideal situation with just three weeks left in the regular season.
It’s also a familiar one, since Howard missed the first nine games with a stress fracture in his left foot.
“It hurts a lot not having Pe’Shon there, but we’ve been there before in the early part of the season, and we managed to win games without him,” guard Sean Mosley said.”It’s hard not to have him, but we have to move forward.”
This time, though, it will be more difficult on several levels after Howard injured his right knee after spinning off a dribble in a non-contact drill.
Maryland enjoyed the luxury of three weeks between Howard’s broken foot and the start of the regular season. It provided time for coach Mark Turgeon to increase sophomore guard Terrell Stoglin’s on-ball work and allowed some time for freshman guard Nick Faust to take a crash course in a position he was unfamiliar with.
While Howard wasn’t a perfect point guard (he averaged 6.5 points, 3.7 assists and 3.2 turnovers in 14 games), he was the one player capable of functioning as an extension of Turgeon on the court. Of equal significance was how much better off Faust and Stoglin were in the roles originally intended for them.
The short-handed Terps, who do not play until Thursday when Boston College visits Comcast Center, will need to use one or both at the point over the final half-dozen games of the regular season.
“I don’t know how we’re going to do point guard, to be honest with you,” Turgeon said. “We’re going to try Terrell, and hopefully he can do a better job. I don’t want to play Nick there, but Nick was pretty good tonight.”
Faust enjoyed one of his best games Saturday, matching career highs in points (15) and minutes (37) in his first game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
His minutes are certain to increase with Howard shelved, though some might be devoted to running the team. There’s also the defensive void Howard leaves, with Faust a likely candidate to pick up some of those responsibilities; he did Saturday, opening the game guarding Duke freshman Austin Rivers.
“It definitely impacts us a lot,” Faust said. “Having Pe’Shon on the team, he was a great leader. He guided us on the right path. Him missing out, I think we’re going to move at a little faster pace but we also have to slow it down at times so we don’t burn our legs out.”