Maryland men’s basketball coach Mark Turgeon said Monday that he wasn’t sure about his starting lineup, partly because one player he thought would be in it had gone through the motions at practice and partly because of the depth his No. 7 Terps brought into season.

It still isn’t clear who Turgeon was talking about.


One thing is apparent after Tuesday night’s 95-71 season-opening win over Holy Cross at Xfinity Center: Junior guard Darryl Morsell and the rest of the bench showed how many options Turgeon has at his disposal.

“I [saw] the starters needed like a spark,” said Morsell, who scored 12 of his 15 points in the first half, including eight points in a span of less than four minutes that helped the Terps turn a small, early deficit into a 51-39 halftime lead. “They needed something to get us going and I just tried to provide that.”

A starter for most of his first two seasons, the former Mount Saint Joseph star was part of a four-player substitution that joined senior point guard Anthony Cowan Jr. on the floor a little less than six minutes into the game with the scored tied at 16.

After the Crusaders took leads of 19-16, 21-19 and 22-21, Morsell started a 10-2 run with a steal in the backcourt and a two-handed dunk. He continued it by hitting a short pull-up jumper and later drew a foul driving to the basket, making both free throws.

“They came out playing fast, and the pace they [were] playing at, I don’t think we [were] ready for. It took a little time to get adjusted to,” Morsell said. “Once we got adjusted to it and started switching screens, we [were] able to get stops and get out and run and stuff like it, so it was good.”

Asked what it was like to come off the bench for the first time since early last season, Morsell said: “Every day we talk about being selfless as a team. This team is deep. Only five people can start. As a competitor, you want to start. But regardless, I’m a basketball player. I’m going to do whatever I got to do to win.”

While Morsell didn’t lead the Terps in scoring — his former high school teammate, sophomore forward Jalen Smith did, finishing with 16 points, to go along with 11 rebounds and three blocked shots — he was certainly the catalyst. He also had five rebounds, four assists, three steals and no turnovers in 23 minutes.

“He definitely came out aggressive, especially on the defensive end, something that he always does,” said Cowan, who made his 100th straight career start and finished with 12 points, to go along with five assists in a team-high 30 minutes. "He definitely gave us that run that we had as soon as he came off the bench.”

Said Turgeon: “Darryl was terrific. He really got us going. ... Just everything. His leadership, his poise. He didn’t pout because he didn’t start. Went out there and he knew he was going to play starter minutes. That was good to see. ... I thought he passed the ball well, too.”

Cold start from 3

Turgeon said last week that his Terps had been shooting 3′s at a high rate in practice after going 6-for-19 in last Friday’s exhibition victory over Division II Fayetteville State. Maryland shot even worse against the Crusaders, going 5-for-27.

Sophomore wing Aaron Wiggins, who led the Terps in 3-point shooting last season at 41.3%, went 0-for-6. Sophomore guard Eric Ayala, who hit a shade over 40% as a freshman, went 1-for-6. Cowan rimmed out his first and wound up 0-for-3, as did Smith.

After Wiggins missed two straight 3′s in a matter of seconds from the same spot in the left corner, his frustrating night continued when Smith got in his way as he was about to take a lob pass from Cowan. He then fumbled another lob on his way to the rim. Wiggins finished 4-for-13 overall and also went just 1-for-3 from the free-throw line, scoring nine points.

“I do not worry about Aaron Wiggins making shots,” Turgeon said. “I did worry when he fumbled the lob because it was getting into his head a little bit, and I couldn’t get him out [of his funk]. I didn’t like the one he shot in the corner. He missed the first one and he kind of short-armed [the second]. He’s too good a shooter. He’s got to have a short memory and try to make the next one."

Instant analysis

If the Terps want to stop smaller teams from double-teaming Smith, as they did a year ago with Bruno Fernando, they had better start hitting their 3′s. When Maryland broke the game open in the first half, the Terps were getting everything inside. Along with Smith, Maryland took advantage with its size as freshman forward Donta Scott bullied his way to nine points and six rebounds in 17½ minutes and freshman center Makhi Mitchell scored six points, with three boards and a steal in a little under eight minutes. As a team, the Terps scored 62 points in the paint.


Rhode Island@No. 7 Maryland

Saturday, 9 p.m.

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