Terps Dismantle Wake, 82-60

The Terps used 25 points from sophomore Terrell Stoglin to top the Demon Deacons 82-60.

Maryland was a slumping team entering their first round ACC Tournament matchup against Wake Forest on Thursday. The Terps were 2-4 in their last six games of the regular season, dropping winnable contests at Georgia Tech on Feb. 25 and at home against Virginia on Sunday.

Maybe it was the new setting; maybe it was the postseason atmosphere. One thing is clear, however. The Terps were firing on all cylinders on Thursday, at one point leading by a season-high 29 points as they thoroughly destroyed the No. 9 seeded Demon Deacons in every facet of the game.

“You can even say that the new floor got us excited,” said Mark Turgeon. “We were the first ones on the floor yesterday.”

After the rocky final weeks of the regular season, a convincing win like this was just what the doctor ordered, according to Turgeon.

“Just to get a taste like this is good,” said Turgeon, who called the performance the, “most complete game we played all year.”

“Guys were dialed in,” he said.

Thursday's win was thanks in large part to a stellar performance by the Maryland backcourt. Terrell Stoglin (25 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists) and freshman Nick Faust (19 points and 5 assists) netted over half of the team's points. The two were a combined 58.3 percent (14-of-24) from the field in the win.

“We went small against their small lineup and it worked for us,” said Turgeon. “It hasn't worked a lot this year but it worked today.”

After a rough streak to round out the regular season, Stoglin rebounded with an impressive and efficient performance in his 30 minutes of play Thursday. The sophomore shot 57.1 percent from the floor (8-of-14) and posted a career-high seven rebounds while tying a season-high with four assists.

“I just wanted to do anything I could do to help us win,” said Stoglin. “Coach was talking to me on the plane about being a better teammate and about getting my teammates involved, and I wanted to do that today. It just worked out.”

As for Faust, the freshman continued his streak of impressive showings, posting a career-high in points while only turning the ball over once in 31 minutes of play. Over the last seven games, Faust had been averaging 4.1 turnovers per contest.

“Nick's really been playing well for about three weeks and took it to another level today,” said Turgeon. “He's getting opportunities to be a player now and he's taking advantage of them.”

Faust's recent hike in his numbers comes after guard Pe'Shon Howard's second injury, this one season ending. Yet, the freshman's recent output has been of a much higher quality than it was during Howard's first absence; something Faust attributes to a new mindset.

“Beginning of the season I would say I was a more passive person. I didn't know where I was gonna fit in,” said Faust. “I've started to mature. I have the mindset that I had no choice. I have to play and do well for the team and do whatever I can to help us win.”

Though a significant portion of the win was thanks to the backcourt, Thursday's victory was a total team effort. Alex Len had a strong showing with seven points, six rebounds and three blocks in 22 minutes. James Padgett chipped in with 10 points and five rebounds of his own. As a team, Maryland out-rebounded Wake, 39-24.

“It's fun when we're playing together as a team,” said senior Sean Mosley, who had six points and six rebounds in the win. “Today we came out with the energy and we knew what our goal was.”

The win is Maryland's most lopsided ACC Tournament victory since an 85-59 defeat of Florida State in the 2002 quarterfinals in Charlotte, N.C.

With the victory, the Terps advance to take on No. 1 seed North Carolina tomorrow at noon. In the two teams' last meeting, Feb. 29 in Chapel Hill, the regular season ACC champs buried the Terps by a final of 88-64.

Yet, Maryland players expect the confidence stemming from their blowout win over Wake Forest to propel them to another strong performance on Friday.

“I think it builds up a lot of people's confidence in the locker room,” said Mosley of the win. “I think it will help to come into the game with that swag … it's a new season right now. We're 1-0.”

“I think it'll be a lot different on a neutral site,” said Stoglin.

Notes

o As a team, Maryland shot 54.4 percent from the floor (31-of-57) including 33.3 percent from long range (5-of-15)

o The Terps were 75 percent from the line (15-of-20)

o Recruiting: three-star forward Charles Mitchell, from Marietta, Ga., gave a verbal commitment to the Terps before the game on Thursday. Mitchell is a 6-foot-7, 250-pound center. More to come.


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