Terps Squeeze By In Opener

The Terps used 22 points from sophomore Terrell Stoglin to top UNC-Wilmington 71-62.

Terrell Stoglin led the team with 22 points and Ashton Pankey added 13 as Mark Turgeon was triumphant in his first regular season game as Maryland head coach Sunday night, knocking off UNC-Wilmington by a score of 71-62.

After announcing on Saturday that freshman Nick Faust would get the nod at point guard, moving sophomore Terrell Stoglin to the two guard, Turgeon left many confused when sophomore Mychal Parker was announced in Stoglin's starting slot.

“Guys gotta do things a certain way and it's nothing big,” said Turgeon concerning the decision to bring Stoglin off the bench. “Terrell played his tail off tonight … I think the things that happened that transpired for him not to be in the starting lineup today allowed him to play the way he did.”

“It's just between me and coach,” said Stoglin concerning the reason behind his absence in the starting lineup. “We're gonna work on it together.”

Stoglin, who came off the bench nearly three minutes into the game, provided an instant spark, netting 14 points while still logging a team-high 16 minutes in the first half.

The guard from Tucson thrived at the shooting guard position Sunday, as the shots seemed to come to him. As a result, Stoglin was able to provide an consistent scoring threat without having to force shots like he had in the past.

Freshman Nick Faust looked particularly strong on the defensive side of the ball in the first half, slipping at least three screens for clean steals that resulted in fast break opportunities.

Midway through the first half, Faust, who logged a team-high three steals on the evening, drew the task of defending freshman guard Adam Smith who went off for 16 points in the first half on six of ten shooting. Faust got the best of Smith in the second half though, limiting the streaky shooter to only seven points.

The freshman from Baltimore struggled to find his own shot however, notching only seven points on one of four shooting.

“I thought Nick was just okay tonight,” said Turgeon. “I thought he was pressing … he's gotta figure out a different way to score other than shooting jumpshots over a hand. I thought defensively in the second half he was tremendous. He did a great job on that kid, number five.”

After the game, Turgeon didn't seem too surprised with how the two young guards balanced each other out. “Nick wasn't very good offensively, but Terrell was. So that helped,” said the head coach. “It's kinda been that way in practice … Nick will be fine.”

In terms of the frontcourt, Sunday was a career night for a pair of largely inexperienced forwards, as junior forward James Padgett and sophomore Ashton Pankey both posted career highs in points.

Padgett, who had struggled with his confidence in the past, was a presence in the paint on Sunday, going for 12 points and grabbing seven rebounds to go along with two assists.

“Well he's playing with confidence,” said Turgeon. “James can score. He went to the offensive boards … James is comin'.”

When asked where he has improved most in his game, Padgett was quick to agree with his coach. “Confidence,” stated the junior forward. “Coach said if you're playing hard, he'll accept mistakes. If you're playing hard he can't get mad at you, so that's the approach I take.”

Pankey, who was getting his first real taste of game action after an injury plagued freshman campaign, netted 13 points and hauled in eight rebounds in 32 minutes of play.

Things got a little hairy towards the end for the Terps, who were never able to put the nail in the coffin in the second half, allowing the Seahawks to hang around throughout.

With just under two minutes remaining, Stoglin drove through multiple defenders and was stripped of the ball, leading to a Seahawks fast break. Luckily for the Terps, Sean Mosley was there to bail out his teammate on the other end, as the senior guard sent an Adam Smith layup attempt sailing into the first row. A sloppy Seahawks' turnover off the inbound sealed the deal for the home team.

“I didn't feel like we were gonna lose ever,” said Turgeon. “Just because our guys have worked so hard in the past ten days and we've gotten so much better … I expected to win.”

After committing nine turnovers in the first half, the Terps were able to take care of the ball for the remainder of the game, giving the ball away only four times in the second half.

“We ran a lot of sprints this week,” said Turgeon. “Our offensive emphasis of the day was second loss of ball. So anytime someone turned it over a second time, the team ran. That adds up pretty quickly.”

“Coach got on us at halftime,” said Stoglin. “He talked to us about it and told us that in order to win the game we were gonna have to cut it down and we did.”

With the win, Maryland (1-0, 0-0 ACC) has now won 35 consecutive home openers, and 10 consecutive season openers, with their last opening game loss coming in 2001 to Arizona in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

Next up for the Terps: a Thursday night showdown with No. 19 Alabama in the first round of the 5-Hour Energy Puerto Rico Tip-Off. Turgeon has made his team well aware of the challenge ahead.

“It's gonna be a test to see how good we really are,” said Stoglin about the upcoming trip. “That was a great team that we just played right now but they're most definitely not Alabama.”

“With three games in four days, I expect us to improve a tremendous amount down in Puerto Rico,” said Turgeon. “I can't promise any results but we're gonna get a lot better.”

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