Terrell Stoglin led Maryland with 23 points in its 89-84 exhibition… (Baltimore Sun photo by Gene…)
COLLEGE PARK — New Maryland basketball coach Mark Turgeon said this week that he tried getting out of his team's exhibition game with NAIA power Northwood. He called Rollie Massimino, the former Villanova and UNLV coach who came out of retirement a few years back to build the program at the south Florida school.
"I told Rollie I didn't want to lose my first game," Turgeon said during a session with the media on Thursday.
It was a combination of Turgeon being afraid of what Northwood might show, as well as what his Terps might not. Turgeon's worst fears were nearly realized, as Maryland watched its 13-point halftime lead almost disappear before holding on for an 89-84 victory at Comcast Center.
Sophomore guard Terrell Stoglin, who missed his first six shots and twice got pulled by Turgeon for taking bad shots, saved the Terps and their new coach from embarrassment. He finished with 23 points -- including 18 in the second half -- and helped give Maryland some breathing room after the Seahawks had cut their deficit to 69-66 with 7:15 to go. After building their lead back to 11, 83-72, the Terps watched Northwood make Turgeon nervous by cutting the deficit back to five.
Senior guard Jonathan Dunn led Northwood's comeback, scoring 29 of his game-high 34 in the second half.
"It was a good win for us. Believe it not we got a lot better this week," Turgeon said after the game. "I don't like giving up this many points. When the game was on the line, Terrell made some tough shots and we got some stops when we had to."
Stoglin finished the game shooting 7-for-18 from the field. He had the same number of turnovers -- five -- as assists.
"I was trying to get myself going instead of my teammates," Stoglin said afterward. "[Turgeon] just reminded me that I've got to get my teammates going first and my game will come along."
Senior guard Sean Mosley (St. Frances) scored 20 points and had six rebounds for Maryland, while freshman guard Nick Faust (City) finished with 14 points and six rebounds.
Faust showed his range, going 4-for-8 on 3s, and had the highlight shot of the night -- a 60-footer that swished in right before the halftime buzzer to give Maryland a 44-31 lead. He also fought nerves (airballing his first shot over the rim by a good two feet) and cramps most of the night before sitting out much of the second half.
"Up until that point, he was our best player and our best defender," Turgeon said of Faust. "They kind of got Dunn going [after Faust went out]. That kid was phenomenal in the second half."
As for Faust's physical problems that limited him to only nine minutes in the second half, Turgeon said, "Nick's got stomach problems twice and he's got cramps twice. He's got to take better care of himself. He's too important. We just don't have enough bodies. Quite frankly, he wasn't very good until he hit a desperation 3 and then he hit the long one right before the half. Either a kid has it or he doesn't, and Nick's got it."
The debut of Maryland center Alex Len, the 7-foot-1 Ukrainian, was exactly what Turgeon thought it would be. Some good moments, but clearly he is not going to be "the savior" this season for Maryland. More impressive up front were redshirt freshman forward Ashton Pankey, who finished with 12 points and five rebounds, and junior forward James Padgett, who had 10 points and nine rebounds.
Clearly the Terps have a lot of work to do before their season opener a week from Sunday against UNC-Wilmington.
Already thin in numbers with the news that sophomore guard Pe'Shon Howard will miss up to 12 weeks with a broken foot -- and possibly be redshirted -- Faust's cramping did not help things. Turgeon tried to substitute freely, but that led to some less-than-cohesive moments and enabled Northwood -- Dunn in particular -- to make a game of it,
"We were gassed, even with all those substitutions," Turgeon said.
Maryland committed 23 turnovers -- and forced just 11 -- to give Turgeon plenty to work on in practice.
"We're not very good with the basketball, guys aren't very good, the decision-making's not very good," Turgeon said. "Our shot selection was better tonight, it wasn't great, but it was better. Our turnovers were just ridiculous. At some point, I said, 'I can't dribble for you, I can't catch for you.' This is not the quickest learning team. I'm just going to overload them this week. We've got to move forward. We have to play for keeps here in nine days."