Morning Shootaround: Analyzing the Terps' 65-62 loss to Florida State

Don Markus takes a look at the end of Maryland's 13-game winning streak with the defeat at Comcast Center

January 10, 2013|By Don Markus | The Baltimore Sun

Welcome back to Morning Shootaround, a regular feature this season the day after Maryland basketball games. While we can't bring you into the Terps' locker room after games -- reporters haven't been allowed in there since the last couple of years under Gary Williams -- we will recap what was said in the news conference afterward by Maryland coach Mark Turgeon and his players. We will give some of our own insight into what transpired on the court during the previous day's game and what the Terps will be working on at practice looking ahead to their next game.

FINAL SCORE: Florida State 65, Maryland 62 at Comcast Center on Wednesday night

The legacy of Bosey Berger and the 1931-32 Terrapins is safe, their 14-game winning streak standing alone in the school's record books. I know that Maryland didn't expect to go unbeaten in the ACC this season -- or even at home. But this was one of those that fall into the category of bad losses.

Maryland should not have given up its big lead -- 13 points in the first half, nine at halftime -- with Florida State star Michael Snaer on the bench in foul trouble for more than 6 minutes toward the end of the first half and for a large chunk of the second half.


Turgeon takes the blame -- and he should

This might be the first loss since Turgeon came to College Park for which he rightly shouldered the blame. He kept subbing players in and out -- at one point going from a lineup consisting of four freshmen and Nick Faust to one that had his most experienced team, with senior reserves Logan Aronhalt and James Padgett.

Initially after saying, "We panicked as players and as a coaching staff a little bit. We couldn't figure it out," Turgeon took the hit for the way he tried to find the right combination.

"We have so many options, we just kept trying different options," he said. "'Let's try this guy, oh, let's try this guy, somebody's got to make a shot.' Nobody could get into a rhythm. Sometimes you've got to stick with your rotation and maybe that's what I learned. It just kept getting worse the more we tried."

I think this is where Turgeon's lack of a rotation -- his coaching "by feel" philosophy -- came back to bite him a little bit.

It's only one loss, but it also seemed to expose some of Maryland's weaknesses: its youth, making careless turnovers (especially in the first half when the Terps could have pushed their lead close to 20 points) and cleaning up on defensive boards (FSU had 10 offensive rebounds in the second half). Those things were all apparent during the 13-game winning streak, but cost Maryland for the first time this season.

I also think that Maryland's soft non-conference schedule -- and a lack of close games -- played into the defeat. The tighter the game became in the second half, the tighter the Terps got.

Turgeon said that he knew after the first possession of the second half -- a turnover -- that it was "going to be a grinder." I understand why Turgeon put the schedule together the way he did -- not knowing Dez Wells and Aronhalt were going to be in College Park -- but not being tested since the opener didn't help Maryland against the Seminoles.

To his credit, Faust admitted as much.

"We definitely had a stretch when we didn't score a lot," Faust said. "Not having tight games earlier in the season I would say definitely affected us, but you take a game like this and you just learn from it."

Not sharing the ball

It's certainly interesting to see how a team acts when it is faced with a challenge. Maryland reverted to how it played in situations last season -- as if the ghost of Terrell Stoglin came back to haunt the Terps and make them take ill-advised shots.

A team that has been near the top of the country in assists (as well as turnovers) had only 11. That might have something to do with the fact that Maryland made only 22 of 60 shots, but it also had to do with more players trying to go one-on-one or just heaving up jumpers instead of going inside to Alex Len.

You could tell Len was a bit frustrated, and the fact that he was wide open underneath when Allen took a desperation 3-pointer that was blocked cleanly by Snaer only added to his -- and Turgeon's -- frustration.

"I think we were trying to settle for jump shots and some of our guys were overdriving, making some not really smart mistakes," Len said.

I asked Len about whether there was too much one-on-one, especially in the second half.

"Exactly," he said. "We were a little bit selfish today."

The biggest culprits were probably Allen and Dez Wells, both of whom finished with five turnovers. Though Allen countered his carelessness with 13 points and helped fuel Maryland's last-minute comeback along with Faust (14 points), Wells played his worst game as a Terp in that regard.

A good question

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