Yet as Coach Turgeon reminded everyone after the game, this Maryland team likes to keep things interesting. And that they did.
A string of missed free throws and a few defensive letdowns later, and the Irish were within three with 0:22 remaining.
With 11 seconds remaining on the shot clock, the ball found its' way into the hands of sophomore guard Terrell Stoglin. As time ticked away, Stoglin looked to drive but was denied and searching for contact, threw up a wild double-clutch jumper from just inside the 3-point line. His desperation circus attempt somehow managed to find the bottom of the net, just like seemingly every other shot he took on the day.
Those two points were certainly the most important of his team-high 31 on Sunday afternoon, as the Terps held on to knock off Notre Dame by a final of 78-71.
I was gonna go to the basket but when I pulled up, I thought he fouled me on my elbow, said Stoglin. So I just wanted to get it to the rim if he'd call a foul, but he didn't and I thank God I made the shot, he said chuckling.
According to Turgeon, as the Terps' lead dwindled in the closing minutes, Stoglin made it clear he wanted the ball in his hands. Terrell was getting mad at me because I wasn't running any plays for him there during the stretch, said Turgeon But I said, 'I got you Terrell. You'll have plenty of chances to score for us.'
I wanted to stay aggressive but I didn't want to be outside the plays, said Stoglin. I wanted to stay inside the plays, so I just wanted a play for me.
Early on, the only thing keeping the Terps' afloat was the offense of Stoglin, the leading scorer in the ACC. The sophomore scored 11 of his team's first 12 points, going 4-for-4 from the field during the stretch.
He's like World B. Free, joked Notre Dame Coach Mike Brey. He's the microwave of College Park.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Terps struggled early to contain the drive, allowing numerous uncontested slashes to the basket. Yet, as the game wore on, the Terps' defensive effort picked up as the player's began to lock down.
We didn't start the game well at all, defensively, said Turgeon. Terrell kept us in it in the first half.
Turgeon, who said his team was barely holding on at the end, wasn't completely discouraged by the quasi-collapse at the end. I was kinda glad it was close, for these guys, that they made a run at us and made us a little bit nervous, said Turgeon. We had to make plays. I think that did more for us than winning by 10 or 12.
A key to weathering the storm in the final minutes on Sunday was the offensive contributions of senior guard Sean Mosley and junior forward James Padgett.
Padgett turned in his first double-double of his career with 11 points and 10 rebounds and Mosley added 17 points and six rebounds of his own.
I was very impressed with Padgett, said Brey. He wore us down. Scoring, rebounding. He was a tough matchup for us.
Mosley, whose offensive prowess had been questioned in recent weeks, took control of the team when Notre Dame decided to face-guard the explosive Stoglin. While Stoglin's numbers dazzled, the senior guard from Baltimore was largely responsible for the little things that led to a Maryland win.
I love him, said Brey of Mosley. He is a man. He's just a man. He's steady. He doesn't do things he can't He's a great college player, said Brey, who noted that he would use Mosley as an example for the younger players on his team.
Sean's a winner, said Turgeon. Sean won a league championship. He knows what it takes, so that's why he's making those plays Sean knows, and I just hope Sean starts to rub off on everybody.
Turgeon wasn't the only one excited with the offensive contribution from Mosley and Padgett. It helps a lot, said Stoglin of his teammates' double-digit efforts. It puts more pressure on the defense and if you can do that then you can get a win and that's what we did today.
Largely absent from the win was redshirt freshman forward Ashton Pankey, who logged only one minute of play on Sunday. That was a coach's decision, stated Turgeon, offering no more on Pankey's lack of playing time.
The Terps must have heard Turgeon's pleas after their loss to Illinois Tuesday, as they managed to outrebound the Irish 40-30. Maryland also registered season-best nine turnovers on the afternoon.
Shooting, the Terps' were an astounding 7-of-10 (70.0%) from long range, and a solid 25-for-35 (71.4%) from the line.
I'm on these guys about what you have to do to be a winner, said Turgeon. Today helps. We'll have to rest tomorrow and prepare for Wednesday's game on Tuesday. But, I expect the guys to come to practice a lot more enthused after a win. They better.
The win is a much-needed positive for the Terps, who now head into a stretch of six straight home games through January 1. The time, according to Turgeon, will be much needed.
I can't wait for Christmas break because we can correct a lot of things over that time, he said.
Until then however, Mosley is comfortable with how his team is progressing.
We have our ups and downs but we're still trying to stay on that even path, said the senior. But right now we're doing a great job by picking up each and every game our intensity on both ends of the court. Executing plays and doing the right things coach wants us to do on defense. So now, for us, it's just a matter of us getting better each and every day and not falling down.
Maryland will have two days to prepare before Mount St. Mary's (1-6, 0-2 NEC) come to College Park Wednesday night. Tipoff is slated for 8:00 p.m.