Terps not seeing as many 'positive' signs after second straight blowout

January 13, 2014|By Don Markus | The Baltimore Sun

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Mark Turgeon was trying to keep things positive after Maryland's 24-point loss to Florida State on Sunday night, but it was pretty difficult.

Coming on the heels of a 20-point defeat at Pitt last Monday, Turgeon and the Terps are in new territory. It is a place that neither expected to be this season.

The back-to-back defeats represent the first time in Turgeon's 16-year career as a Division I coach that one of his teams has lost by 20 points or more in two straight games.

It is also the first time it has happened at Maryland in ACC competition since the 1992-93 season, Gary Williams' only losing season (12-17) in his 22 years in College Park.

After the loss at Pitt, Turgeon said he thought there were some encouraging signs.

Asked after the loss here is those signs were still there, Turgeon said, “I’ve just try to keep trying to figure it out. Got to stay positive. We turn around Wednesday. We need a game soon, I think it’s great that we have a game soon.”

The Terps will only have two days to prepare for Wednesday’s home game against Notre Dame.

“Our defense is just not very good, and tonight our offense wasn’t very good but I think Florida State had a lot to do with that,” Turgeon said. “It’s no fun, it’s no fun never being in it type thing.

"I thought in the second half we’d make a run but we continued to miss shots. It seemed like they made every three and we missed every three and we had pretty good shooters shooting them.”

Turgeon said the game plan of forcing Florida State to take 3-pointers rather than dunks and layups was solid, except that the Seminoles came out what has been a season-long funk.

Coming into the game ranked 13th in the ACC at a little over 31 percent from 3-point range, Florida State hit 10 of 15 3-pointers in the first half, including six straight in one stretch, and 16 of 25 for the game.

When it was suggested that the Terps were daring the Seminoles to take 3-pointers, Turgeon said, “I wouldn’t say dare, but to make jump shots over our hand was definitely the game plan. Keep ‘em out of the lane, most of their points come in the lane.

“I thought we competed on the boards for the most part. They just made a lot of shots, and they made some guarded shots….I think any coach in our league will tell you ‘We want Florida State shooting jump shots over our hand. They made them tonight. They didn’t make them at home against Virginia. They didn’t make them at Clemson either.”

Junior guard Dez Wells, who led the Terps with 15 points, said that of Florida State’s made 3-pointers, all but two were contested “and five of them we fouled them on.”

Wells said he trusted the game plan Turgeon devised.

“Coach Turgeon’s game plan would work in any game, it just didn’t work tonight,” Wells said. “They got really hot. They could have beaten any time in the country tonight regardless of who they play.”   

It’s not just at the defensive end, either. The lack of a big man and inconsistent play at point guard – sophomore guard Seth Allen had his worst game (0 for 8 shooting) since coming back after missing the first 12 games with a broken foot – is also hurting Maryland’s progress under Turgeon.

“Our offense has to get a lot better, our decision-making, our shot selection,” Turgeon said. “Just a lot of things.”

Wells came out of the team’s lockerroom at the Donald L. Tucker Center wearing a T shirt with the likeness of “The Terminator” etched on it.

“I’m back,” it read.

Asked if he just happened to randomly choose the T-shirt, Wells smiled.

“It’s ironic that I have this shirt,” Wells said. “This is a great shirt. We’ll be back strong.”

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