It was a night of premieres at the Comcast Center as first-year head coach Mark Turgeon took the floor for the first time in front of the Maryland faithful. After weeks of speculation, the Terps' starting rotation rounded out with Stoglin, Faust and Mosley at guard, and Padgett and Pankey at forward. It wasn't long however until Alex Len made his debut, just two days removed from being declared eligible.
Len, who has only practiced a handful of times with the team this season, understandably struggled out on the floor at times with his handling and outlet passes.
The first half also wasn't all that kind to the other freshman in the rotation, as Nick Faust struggled mightily to find his shot, failing to draw rim on his first two attempts from long range. Faust eventually found his range late in the first half, bailing the team out on a desperation three as the shot clock expired and then proceeding to sink a 65-foot bomb as the last seconds of the half ticked away.
In the second half, Faust kept the flame burning as his shot caught on, hitting on two of his first three shots until he limped off of the floor in obvious pain during a timeout at 14:54. Although the trainer worked out the freshman's legs for a solid ten minutes, Faust stiffened up again when he tried to return to the court and left the game for good around the 5:00 mark. Faust played the most of any of the Terps' players in the first half, logging 18 minutes in his first game at Maryland.
He's fine, said Turgeon about his freshman guard. He's just got some cramps. Nick's had stomach problems in practice twice and he's had cramps twice. He's gotta take better care of himself. He's too important.
From what he saw out of Faust offensively though, Turgeon was satisfied. Quite frankly, he wasn't very good offensively until he had the desperation three and then he hit the long one before half, said Turgeon in the post game conference. Then he just got going in the second half. Either a kid has it or he doesn't. Nick's got it.
With the young scorer out of the game, Terrell Stoglin looked to take over. After managing only five points on 2-for-9 shooting in the first half, Stoglin stepped up in the final half going 5-for-9 from the field and ending up with a team-high 23. Yet, as has been a problem in the past, the often out of control guard made some questionable decisions with his passes, tying for the team lead with five turnovers on the game. The sophomore guard seemed overwhelmed at times; making hasty decisions that could have proved quite costly.
He just tries to do too much, said Turgeon. One-on-threes, one-on-fours: whenever he has to take seven or eight dribbles to get a shot, it's probably not a good thing for everybody concerned. We're just trying to get that corrected.
Stoglin was quick to agree with his coach's assessment of his play. I was thinking too much in the beginning of the game, said Stoglin. I was trying to get myself going instead of my teammates. So coach just reminded me that I need to get my teammates going first and then my game will come along.
With senior center Berend Weijs in foul trouble at the end of the game, Turgeon turned to Len to hold down the middle in the crucial final minutes of regulation. Len held his own when it mattered most, ripping down six rebounds on the night and posting four points in his debut. Although it was quite obvious nerves were getting the best of him, his teammates and coaches were optimistic about what they saw.
He's gonna be good, said Sean Mosley. It was his first game playing in front of the fans tonight and I think he did a great job for us blocking some shots and rebounding the basketball. But once he gets in the groove of the offense and learns the offense a little better I think he'll definitely improve a lot.
Mosley's play was a nice surprise for the Terps on Friday as the senior guard was noticeably much more assertive than in the past in looking for his shot, ending the night with 20 points and 6 rebounds. I changed my shot just a little bit over the summer but I'm not thinking, said Mosley. I'm just going out there and playing basketball. This really is my first game, that's how I think about it.
Although Northwood managed to cut the Maryland lead to five with just a few minutes remaining, the clutch play of Stoglin and some timely free throws from Mosley sealed the deal for the home team.
Maryland did a solid job defensively in the first half, holding Northwood to 31 points, and limiting Jonathan Dunn, the reigning NAIA Player of the Year, to just five points on 2-for-9 shooting. Unfortunately for the Terps, Dunn's play was a tale of two halves.
Dunn exploded on the Maryland defense in the second half, going 9-for-19 from the field and tallying 29 points to end the game with a team-high 34. That kid was phenomenal in the second half, and we didn't have an answer, said Turgeon of the Northwood senior guard.
Junior forward Patrick Horstmann chipped in 21 points and 12 rebounds for the game, followed closely by senior guard Noah Keeton who had 19 points on 6-for-10 shooting. The three leading scorers on the night for the Seahawks combined for 74 of the team's 84 points.
As a team, the Terps shot relatively well from the field, going 30-for-59 (50.8%) and from long range going 10-for-20 (50.0%). Yet, as was the story last year, the team was sub-par from the charity strike, going 19-for-32 (59.4%) for the night.
Overall though, Turgeon was simply happy with the win and the progress his team had made over the past few hectic weeks. That was a good win for us, he stated. Believe it or not, we got a lot better this week, from Sunday till today. [Northwood is] a heck of a team. They know how to win and we don't know how to win I don't like giving up this many points, but when the game was on the line, Terrell [Stoglin] made some tough shots and we got some stops when we had to and got away.
When it came to the glaring amount of turnovers however, Turgeon was quite honest about his feelings. We're just not very good with the basketball, said Turgeon. Guys aren't very good; the decision making isn't very good. They get going too quickly Our turnovers were just ridiculous. At some point I was like, 'I can't help you guys. I can't dribble for you. I can't catch it for you.'
With more than a week to go until their regular season kicks off however, the players feel they can make the adjustments necessary to improve on Friday's performance. It's just a matter of us learning from the mistakes we had late in the stretch, said Sean Mosley. A couple turnovers, a couple missed free throws in the second half. It's some of the little things that we need to work on.
It's all about watching game tapes tomorrow and getting better, said junior forward James Padgett. We just have to protect the ball more. Guys are going to make mistakes. That's basketball.
It turns out Padgett isn't the only one thinking about tomorrow. I'm sorry, said Turgeon in the middle of his press conference. I'm just thinking about practice tomorrow.