Maryland 76, Stony Brook 69 on Friday night at Comcast Center
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In a season where the Terps have faced the defending national champion (Kentucky) and a team ranked one spot off the bottom of Jeff Sagarin's Division I rankings (UMES), the game against Stony Brook was situated perfectly in the schedule -- coming off a nine-day break and going into what Turgeon said afterward was a welcomed eight-day break.
It was easy to tell how much Maryland worked in getting ready for Stony Brook. The offensive execution for most of the first half and parts of the second was the best Turgeon's team showed all season. Maryland not only hit 11 of its first 13 shots and 17 of 29 in the first half, but was successful on a corresponding number of possessions.
The second half gave Turgeon material to work on after his team comes back from a few days off for Christmas -- how to protect a big lead against an efficient team, the need to get a little tougher inside and the importance for Maryland's freshman class to get back to the level it was playing at earlier in the season -- in particular power forward Charles Mitchell and center Shaquille Cleare.
"For us to be up 20 on that team shows you that we did a lot of things right to get there," Turgeon said. "Then I thought the game got physical. We couldn't score around the basket. They got a lot of second-chance points. Give them credit, they never quit. I thought their experience really showed when the game got on the line. ... I was shocked at how well we were playing [in the first half]."
Turgeon singled out Stony Brook forward Tommy Brenton, who played at River Hill.
"The local kid, Brenton's really good. We knew he was good -- eight rebounds, nine assists, nine points -- that's pretty good numbers," Turgeon said. "He was really kind of the difference out there."
ON FURTHER REVIEW
I recently wrote in Terps Trio that Maryland's outside shooting could be its downfall this season. The Terps came into Friday night shooting a little over 32 percent on 3-pointers, including 11 of 41 in the previous two games.
So what did they do Friday night? Pe'Shon Howard (4 of 14 on 3-pointers coming in) started what turned out to be 9 of 18 on 3-pointers by sticking his first 3, with Nick Faust (9 of 34) and Dez Wells (3 of 17) following suit. I think Howard taking and hitting a 3 early in the game set the tone offensively in the first half.
"I think Pe'Shon just wants to win, he got good looks, he stepped into them, our offense flowed better in the first half, they did a much better job of guarding us in the second half," Turgeon said. "We've really been on Pe'Shon about shooting the same way every time, stepping into his shot, taking his shooting seriously, we need him to make open shots."
Howard said he has heard from many people on and off campus about not shooting enough.
"I just go with the flow," Howard said. "Coach told me if I'm open, shoot it. The media has been yelling, fans have been yelling, people I've never seen before have been yelling, I think my teachers told me a few times to shoot it if I'm open. The real goal is to make sure I shoot it when I'm open, to be aggressive, it helps my teammates, it help keep people off the bigs. Scoring kind of gets guys open. I made a few shot early and it got guys open on the wing because people were watching me."
Howard took just five shots and scored eight points, to go along with seven assists, but it seemed like he was much more aggressive than in most games this season.
FAUST'S NEW ROLE
Turgeon said earlier this week that he has told Faust that he will only play point if Howard and freshman Seth Allen get into foul trouble in order to help the sophomore from Baltimore "really lock into the wing position."
Faust scored only seven points Friday, but he played a terrific all-around game with seven rebounds and five assists, including a neat three-quarter court pass that Wells timed perfectly and turned into a one-bounce layup to give Maryland that 20-point lead Turgeon was talking about.