You would expect Gary Williams to play it safe in his teams final game before traveling to Cameron Indoor Stadium Sunday night, allowing his team to continue to mesh just two games into the PeShon Howard era at point guard.
Looking for trigger to invigorate his team after a myriad of slow starts, Williams inserted another rookie, this time Terrell Stoglin, into the starting point guard slot. Stoglin had been among the Terps top scorers this season with nearly 11 points per game, and over 13 in the last six.
[Terrell Stoglin] creates a lot of energy early on. Certainly hes not perfect with what he does, but he does bring some energy to the table, Williams said after the game, adding he though Stoglin handled the situation well.
The electrifying rookie from the desert responded to being a starter for the first in a Terrapins uniform. His affinity for pushing the ball and boosting them tempo led the team to 19 points in transition. On the night, Stoglin finished shooting 4-8 FG with 12 points, nine of which coming from the three-point stripe.
His start propelled Maryland to a 22-2 lead early on, far and away the best start to a game all season long for the team. His aggressiveness, ability to shoot from long-range and put his teammates in opportune positions to score, says his teammates, is what distinguishes Stoglin from the rest.
Its not easy as a freshman, especially to be starting a game 14 games into the season, center Jordan Williams said. He stepped up to the challenge tonight.
But Stoglins chance to flourish in his first career start did not last for long. Marylands pervasive defense stole the show. And everybody played their parts – whether it was Sean Mosley stuffing the Raiders center Nick Pascale at the rim, or Jordan Williams with a tenacious block on a Chad Johnson jumper, or simply aggressive rebounding and scrambling for loose balls.
Colgate shot a dismal 20.6 percent in the opening half with just seven made-shots. Two points stood adjacent to their name on the scoreboard for nearly 10 minutes before sharp-shooting Yaw Gyawau broke the trend. The Raiders 17 first half points was the second worst performance on the season when the team shot 3-28 from the field against Syracuse. In that game, they scored just 43 points, three more than they did on this night when they scored a season low 40 points.
We came out of t he gates playing really hard on the defensive end. Its something that we need to carry on in the ACC season, forward Dino Gregory said. For the last three weeks weve been trying to emphasize ourselves on the defensive end. Were a pretty good offensive team right now, but our defense was kind of lacking.
Gregory added that the superb defense helped to translate into offense, evident by the 18 points scored off of Colgates turnovers. He noted that this was exactly the kind of effort the team needed in order to elevate their confidence heading into conference play.
The Terps travel to Durham, N.C. this weekend to face off with the nations No. 1-ranked team, the Duke Blue Devils. Last season, these two teams shared the ACC regular season championship.