Sometimes as a Terps fan, you just want to fast-forward, right?
You want to move past the turnovers (14 in Saturday's Duke game compared to the Blue Devils' four), the regularly changing starting lineups (eight so far this season), the disciplinary issues (Seth Allen benched for a half Saturday for being late to a meeting), the youth (two freshmen and three sophomore starters against Duke).
You want to move to a place where Maryland isn’t so unsettled – where the other team isn’t always the one with the experience and the poise.
But take a deep breath, Maryland backers. That’s not who the Terps are. They’re the guys still finding their way.
“We don’t have a (senior) Mason Plumlee for our young kids to rely on,” coach Mark Turgeon said after the 84-64 loss to the Blue Devils. “Or a (senior) Seth Curry. Sometimes we have to learn the hard way.”
Turgeon has no choice but to be patient. That can’t be easy. Colleges coaches aren’t usually patient types. It’s not in their DNA. The way things are going, Turgeon will need yoga or meditation. Maybe he can watch a sunset, pet a puppy, pick a flower.
At the least, he needs to see incremental progress from his team..
“We grew up a little,” he said after the Duke game, in which the Terps were within single digits until about the 13-minute mark. “We couldn’t sustain it. It seemed like every time we’d kind of get close they would drain a 3. The one thing we do is guard, and we didn’t guard today but give them credit.”
Here’s a positive for the Terps: the inside game. Remember all those Cameron Indoor contests in which big men such as Brian Zoubek and Miles Plumlee (Mason’s older brother) would collect ridiculous amounts of points or rebounds because Maryland had no size? That’s not the case anymore.
The Terps outrebounded Duke 43-34 and had 17 offensive rebounds. They outscored the Devils 21-11 on second-chance points despite missing some chip shots.
Maryland might have better contained Mason Plumlee (19 points, including 15 in the second half) if it could have steered clear of foul trouble. Shaquille Cleare had three fouls by halftime.
“Shaq’s third foul was a big one,” Turgeon said. “We had three guys with two fouls. It hurt. Shaq never really got back into a flow.”
And then there was this: Duke simply has too many shooters. Maryland couldn’t count on getting another game – like Duke-Miami – in which Curry and Quinn Cook combine for one basket in 22 attempts.
After that embarrassing Miami game, we probably all sensed that Duke was due.