It's the best win of the year if you ask me, said Turgeon. It doesn't count as three wins, but man it sure feels like it.
While Tuesday's ending wasn't perhaps as dramatic as the Terps' double-overtime 90-86 loss in Coral Gables on Feb. 1, Turgeon would rather this outcome any day.
I'd call a play and they'd actually run it, he said. We played as a team and the crowd got into it late and we made all the plays.
Trailing 66-61 out of a timeout at the 1:47 mark, the Terps offense came out stagnant, failing to run the play drawn up for guard Terrell Stoglin. That's when senior Sean Mosley took things into his own hands. Mosley's 3-pointer with 1:37 left cut the Canes lead to 66-64 and set off a furious 14-2 Maryland run that sealed the signature win for the Terps.
That's kinda like the shot he made against Notre Dame, said Turgeon of his senior leader's key bucket. We had nothing going. That's what seniors do.
I just got the switch and I had confidence in my shot, said Mosley, who ended the game with 15 points, five rebounds and six assists. Once I seen the room to shoot the ball, I had confidence in myself.
As big as Mosley's shot was for the Terps, no play seemed bigger in Tuesday's win than the one that put them in the lead for good. And it came from a player who has wildly surpassed expectations this season.
After a defensive stop on the other end, the Terps looked to knot things up, trailing 66-64 with just under a minute remaining. A slashing Nick Faust found forward Ashton Pankey on the block, who put up an off-balance attempt in traffic. A crowd of Miami players swarmed to the rim for a rebound, but forgot to account for James Padgett, one of the premier rebounding players in the ACC.
Padgett snatched the ball out of the air, collected himself and exploded up through the contact to lay the ball in. As the 6-foot-8 junior landed to the sound of a whistle, the Comcast Center crowd of 12,871 erupted.
I thought James played with great toughness, said Turgeon, noting Padgett's improvement at the line, where he was 4-of-5 on Tuesday. Padgett tied a career-high with 16 points and grabbed six rebounds in 25 minutes of play.
After Padgett's 3-point play gave Maryland the lead with 44 seconds remaining, a series of key defensive plays sealed the deal. A Faust strip of Durand Scott led to a pair of Mosley free throws, widening the lead to 69-66. A Shane Larkin turnover on the subsequent possession all but ended things for the Canes.
Defense was the name of the game Tuesday, as Turgeon's squad held a team he feels is capable of a Sweet 16 run to only three field goals in the final 9:05 (two coming in the final 17 seconds.
During that stretch we really guarded, said Turgeon. We made adjustments, defensively, tonight that didn't take three possessions. It happened the first time we tried to make the adjustment. And that's just a young team growing up.
Durand Scott, who notched a season-high 24 points in the Feb. 1 meeting, was held to only 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting Tuesday. Miami's leading scorer eventually fouled out after having the ball stripped by Faust in the closing minute.
Surprisingly, Stoglin, who led all scorers with 20 points, was not instrumental in the Terps' late surge. Yet, the leading scorer in the ACC was all smiles postgame as he chuckled at the mention of a candid Mark Turgeon sprinting off the court and giving high-fives. I think he's cherishing this win, a lot, laughed Stoglin.
While the win may not count three times, Turgeon looks at the victory as a building block for his team going forward. That's the kind of win, right there, that'll carry over, said Turgeon. We're a young team and we gotta learn how to win and when you win a game like that you're learning how to win.
o Maryland shot 45.6 percent from the field (26-of-57) and 26.7 percent from long range (4-of-15)
o The Terps were excellent at the line, shooting 86.4 percent (19-of-22)
o Nick Faust added eight points, eight rebounds and four assists in a solid showing
o Maryland out-rebounded Miami, 22-10 in the second half
Maryland (16-11, 6-7 ACC) heads to Georgia Tech on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 2:30 and the game will be televised on the ACC Network.