Terps suffer biggest loss of season vs. Virginia

Terps suffer biggest loss of season vs. Virginia
Maryland's Ashton Pankey, center, gets his shot blocked by Virginia's Mike Scott, left, and Darion Atkins in the first half. The Terps and host Cavaliers were tied at 31 at halftime, but Maryland scored just 13 points in the second half on its way to a 71-44 loss, the Terps' biggest margin of defeat this season. (US Presswire photo)

Watching Maryland implode Saturday, coach Mark Turgeon couldn't help but think back to the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, when the season was young and he was trying desperately to remain patient with a team groping to find its way.

Turgeon may have found that experience maddening, but at least the weather was balmy and the team had an excuse during that November tournament — it was still learning.

On Saturday, the Terps seemed to regress by committing many of the old sins in a 71-44 loss to No. 22 Virginia in which Maryland made just five field goals and scored 13 points in the second half — none by leading scorer Terrell Stoglin.

Maryland's turnovers and rushed shots came at a time — there are just four regular-season games remaining — when Turgeon hoped the Terps would have known better.

It was Maryland's lowest point total since scoring 42 in losing to Alabama in Puerto Rico and its largest margin of defeat of the season.

It was a road trip that began with the team bus getting stuck in Washington beltway traffic and then got worse. Maryland had little more than a 36-hour turnaround after its previous game Thursday night, but Turgeon said: "I'm not going to make any excuses."

With Maryland (15-11, 5-7 Atlantic Coast Conference) trailing by 20, Turgeon pulled his regulars in the final four minutes and inserted walk-ons.

"I just had enough of selfishness, not boxing out, not defending. I wanted to do it earlier," said Turgeon, who appeared worn down afterward. "You can go down our whole list, and if you can tell me one guy that played well today, I'll argue that you're wrong."

Maryland played 14 players, and Turgeon said: "We were 0-for-14. Yeah, this reminded me of Puerto Rico today."

Virginia was led by senior forward Mike Scott, an ACC Player of the Year candidate who entered Saturday averaging 16.9 points and shooting 59.6 percent. His 25 points topped his career high for a conference game.

Virginia (20-6, 7-5) entered the game 12-1 at home but had lost three of its past four games overall. Sophomore guard Joe Harris, a key contributor this season, played with padding to protect his broken left hand. Center Assane Sene was out with a broken ankle.

But the Cavaliers were dangerous because of their defense. They entered allowing just 52.2 points per game, second in the nation, and had held 10 opponents under 50 points.

Virginia is now 16-0 when scoring at least 60 points.

The Cavaliers concentrated on stopping Stoglin (14 points). The sophomore made four 3-pointers in the first half, which ended in a tie at 31. But Stoglin shot 0-for-7 from the field after halftime and finished 4-for-17.

Stoglin leads the ACC in scoring but has struggled against the best defensive teams the Terps have played — Virginia and Alabama.

"He can score in bunches really quickly, but we wanted to make him earn it," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. "With great scorers, you have to make them earn it. You can't give them easy ones, and I don't think he had any easy ones tonight."

The Terps scored four points in the first 10 minutes of the second half as Virginia — led by Scott — rolled to a 14-point lead that soon became 20, then more. With Virginia leading 53-37, the orange-clad crowd celebrated as if it was over. And — given that the Terps were shooting under 30 percent — it felt as if it was.

"Our crowd was great," said Virginia guard Sammy Zeglinski (11 points). "All [day], they were loud. I thought we kind of used their energy for our defense, especially in the second half, to ratchet it up a little bit."

Maryland seemed to again be feeling the effects of point guard Pe'Shon Howard's absence after a season-ending knee injury. The Terps had more than twice as many turnovers as Virginia —15 to seven.

Senior Sean Mosley (two points) said Maryland took the defeat hard. Earlier in the season, Turgeon had lamented that players were "laughing and joking" in the showers after a loss at Florida State.

"It's quiet [in the locker room]. Trust me. I can tell you that," said Mosley (St. Frances). "A lot of guys are upset. But we've still got a lot of basketball to be played.

"For a guy that won a lot of basketball games at the University of Maryland, I know what it takes to win. It's not easy to win. And once guys start to understand that, I think that'd be the turning point of our season."