The Maryland Terrapins returned to the court Friday night after a nine-day layoff for finals week. They seemed energized and focused on their way to a 76-69 victory over the Stony Brook Seawolves. This was the Terps 10th straight win.
It was a tale of two halves for the Terrapins, who shot a season-best 64.3% from the field in the first half, including 58.3% from 3-point range. In the second half, however, Maryland was held to just 40% from the field.
I didn't know what I was going to get. I don't try to read players anymore. We looked fresh, Maryland Coach Mark Turgeon said. We really looked fresh. I thought at about the 16-minute mark of the second half we didn't look fresh. You could tell they had played in a lot more games and they had a rotation that was in a little better shape than ours.
The Terps lead Stony Brook by 20 points with 17:54 remaining in the game, but the Seawolves kept chipping away down the stretch. Stony Brook's Anthony Jackson hit a 3-pointer with 34 seconds left in the game to cut the Terrapins lead down to two.
For us to be up 20 on that team shows you that we did a lot of things right to get there. Then I thought the game got physical and we didn't handle it very well, said Turgeon. But they're good. There's a reason they were picked to win their league.
They were tougher. They played tough in the first half, we kind of expected it, said Junior Point Guard Pe'Shon Howard, who finished with 8 points and 7 assists. In the second half they just came out and stepped up the aggression. We didn't really meet it, we kind of backed off.
The Terps 7-point win was only their second single-digit win this season. Mark Turgeon says that good can come from a tightly contested game.
I think we needed a close game to see how we handled it, said Turgeon. We haven't been in that situation. There are some things I need to work on with the lead to make us better that I haven't added but I will add going forward. With a young team it's hard to add things. It was good because we're going to have a lot of close games.
It's always good to be challenged, especially when you're playing a competitive sport like this, said Sophomore Dez Wells, who finished with 19 points. We haven't been challenged as we would have like to have been in the past couple games.
I think it's good for us because the first game against Kentucky was kind of like this, a close game, added Center Alex Len. I think it's good for us down the stretch.
Len played another great game for the Terps. He finished with 19 points and 9 rebounds. Other than Len, no other post player really stepped up for Maryland. Starter James Padgett finished with just 4 points and 3 rebounds.
James just didn't play well, to be honest with you. He made one shot, wasn't very good defensively and didn't rebound. He's got to play better, said Turgeon. Someone has got to step up. Our four man, which tonight was Padgett and Charles (Mitchell), they weren't very good.
Coach Turgeon was not pleased with his team's defense. Stony Brook shot 42.2% from the field in the game. Though Turgeon did acknowledge that Stony Brook did do a great job of making contested shots. After outscoring Stony Brook by 13 in the first half, the Terrapins were outscored 37-31 in the second half.
The Terps were able hold off Stony Brook's second half charge and move to 10-1 on the season, something Coach Turgeon is extremely happy about going into Christmas break.
There are a lot of positives. Sitting around last summer if you told me that we would be 10-1 at Christmas break I wouldn't believe you, Turgeon said after the game. We are 10-1, we are getting better, we are learning while we continue to win. I think we need a break. I have been at them pretty hard. This break will be great for us.
Nick Faust had 7 points to go a long with 7 rebounds and Seth Allen provided 9 points off the bench. The Terps were outscored by Stony Brook, 32-28 in the paint. They were also outscored, 12-6 on second-chance points.
Maryland plays two more non-conference home games before their first conference game at home against Virginia Tech. Maryland doesn't play again until December 29th, when they host Delaware State.
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