COLLEGE PARK -- It seems long ago that Maryland coach Mark Turgeon grabbed a microphone at a preseason scrimmage and told fans: “I think we're going to be pretty darned good before it's done.”
That was three-and-a-half months, 10 losses and two Pe’Shon Howard injuries ago.
But, in defeating Boston College 81-65 Thursday night behind Terrell Stoglin’s 24 points and James Padgett’s strong second half, Maryland mostly played as if it can still salvage something special from a difficult season and make its coach look prophetic.
The win came one game after a loss at Duke in which the coach said the Terps were sloppy offensively. That game ended with Stoglin sulking on the bench.
"I don’t like the way we acted at Duke,” said Turgeon, who talked to his team about acting more like a “family.”
Maryland responded with 15 assists against Boston College, and Turgeon said his team "shared the ball better than we’ve shared it all year.”
The Terps (15-10, 5-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) led by as many as 19 in the first half and held on in the second as the Eagles pulled as close as seven points.
Padgett, who did not start for the first time in 13 games, did not score in the first half but had 15 points in the second. Freshman Nick Faust (14 points) scored in double figures for the third time in the last four games and had a resounding, crowd-pleasing dunk in the final minutes.
For one night, the Terps mostly forgot that Howard -- the point guard who had earlier rebounded from a broken foot -- was again hobbling around on crutches following a serious knee injury. They forgot the two losses to Duke, and all the preseason media forecasts depicting this as a transition season.
After bolting to an early double-digit lead, the young Terps – coming off a 17-point loss at Duke – got to celebrate again. They got to have fun.
After a layup by Faust (City) pushed Maryland’s early advantage to 29-12, the Terps leaped up and down during a timeout and did hip bumps.
But Maryland has had a difficult time holdings leads this season, and the Eagles – who have lost eight of their past nine games – made a run.
Two field goals by forward Ryan Anderson (22 points) – one of four freshman starters – pulled Boston College to within 41-33 early in the second half.
The margin was just 63-56 after Lonnie Jackson’s two free throws with about three minutes left. But the Eagles got no closer.
The Eagles (8-18) are just 3-9 in the conference but had upset Florida State two games ago and lost by one at Virginia Tech in their last game.
Boston College entered the night having attempted more 3-pointers than any team in the conference, converting 34.1 percent.
Against the Terps, the Eagles shot 4-for-15 from beyond the arc.
The Eagles bolted to a 10-4 lead before Stoglin scored 14 straight Maryland points, staking the Terps to an 18-10 advantage.
The hot shooting continued. The Terps converted seven of their first nine 3-point attempts in extending the margin to 27-12.
“I think that we lost the game in the first eight minutes,” Boston College coach Steve Donahue said.
Along the way, Stoglin broke the school record for 3-pointers by a sophomore, besting Greivis Vasquez’s mark of 64.
"I was telling myself I didn’t want to miss today because of the Duke game,” said Stoglin, who played just 13 minutes of the second half against the Blue Devils. After that game, Stoglin tweeted about his frustrations at sitting on the bench.
"It was a learning process," said Stoglin, who was in much better mood after shooting 9-for-16 against Boston College. "I don’t like Duke at all."
NOTE: Ernie Graham (Dunbar), who played under coach Lefty Driesell and is the school’s 13th all-time scorer was honored before the game with his No. 25 unveiled on a red banner in the rafters.
“It’s been 31 years,” Graham said. “It still feels good to be home – finally.”
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