The morning after Maryland’s second lowest-scoring game in his two years in College Park, Mark Turgeon was uncharacteristically upbeat about his team.
Despite a two-game losing streak that followed a 13-1 start, Turgeon said that he was pleased with his team’s effort in Sunday’s 54-47 loss to Miami.
“I thought we played hard last night – really hard,” Turgeon said on Monday’s ACC coaches’ teleconference. “We never quit. We rebounded pretty well. I thought we competed on the road against a good team, [but] we came up short.”
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Turgeon knew that his young team would have its share of growing pains this season, particularly during a stretch of games that began last week with a 65-62 home loss to Florida State and, after returning from Coral Gables, continues Wednesday night at Comcast Center against North Carolina State.
The 14-2 Wolfpack are unbeaten in the ACC (3-0) and coming off a win over top-ranked Duke Saturday in Raleigh, N.C. Maryland (13-3, 1-2) also plays at North Carolina on Saturday; the Tar Heels, who were 0-2 in the ACC before last Saturday’s win at Florida State, will be well-rested.
“Our guys know how to play,” Turgeon said. “We shouldn’t have to make excuses. It’s just a really tough part of our schedule. We let one get away at home [against Florida State last week]. We’ll just take it one game at a time.”
Despite the woeful offensive display – the Terps trailed 19-14 at halftime Sunday night – Turgeon said that his team’s performance in an ACC road game was “a step in the right direction.” The only time Maryland scored fewer points since Turgeon took over last year was a 71-44 road loss last season at Virginia, a game in which the Terps collapsed badly in the second half.
Asked if his team’s collective confidence is as shaken as it appears, Turgeon said, “Obviously we’re not as confident as we were getting into the league or after the Virginia Tech game [a 94-71 win on Jan. 5] or at halftime of the Florida State game [when the Terps led by nine].
“I don’t think it’s as bad as it may look the way we’re shooting the basketball. There are a few guys who are not shooting the ball well and are not playing with confidence. We’ve got to get it figured out. Some of it is shot selection, some of it execution, decision-making. We’ll be fine. Kids bounce back.”
Turgeon said it can happen suddenly.
“Kids can lose confidence going into timeouts and get it back after the timeout,” he said.