COLLEGE PARK ——Maryland coach Mark Turgeon has plenty to be concerned about. Road games, for one.
The Terps (12-5, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) are winless in their first two Atlantic Coast Conference away games, surrendering an average of 81.5 points — far too many to suit the defensive-minded coach.
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But what chafes Turgeon most — what he can't abide — is when his team doesn't forcefully respond when opponents assert themselves in critical stretches. In its two road games, Maryland seemed not to push back when North Carolina State and Florida State made second-half runs.
"It's easy to be bad. It's hard to be really good," Turgeon said as the Terps prepared for Saturday's game against Temple at Philadelphia's Palestra. "Right now, we don't have the guts or the toughness to get through those bad times."
Turgeon seems to not understand players who don't "compete."
Consider Turgeon's backround. He was an undersized guard for Larry Brown at Kansas. He ended up starting as a freshman. He was a scrapper.
Turgeon said Friday that he has just one player, senior Sean Mosley, who never seems to take a game — or even a half — off. The coach said that Stoglin always plays hard on the offensive end.
Turgeon suggested the Terps were pushed around by Florida State on Tuesday night in an 84-70 loss. The Seminoles had 42 points in the paint compared with Maryland's 32.
"I was disappointed in our competitive spirit the other night out of our post guys," the coach said.
Maryland center Alex Len went scoreless against Georgia Tech two games ago, and had three points on 1-for-2 shooting against Florida State.
Len "is more of a finesse guy that we're trying to make into a finesse and a power guy," Turgeon said.
He said Len, in his first season since arriving from Ukraine, has had to become accustomed to the "pounding" he takes in games. He's also adjusting to a new language and his academic workload.
"I think the kid has been remarkably good for what he's been through and what he's had to go through," Turgeon said.
Len missed the first 10 games as a sanction for having previously signed a deal with an overseas club.
"Most freshmen go through a slump," junior forward James Padgett said. "And he had missed 10 games, so his slump came early."
Maryland will try to assert itself inside against a Temple team missing 6-foot-11 forward Michael Eric, who's out with a knee injury.
"They're going to have a small lineup," Turgeon said. "They're going to try to space and drive it, and we're going to try to pound it."