Allen's Return Lifts Terps Over Tulsa

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Maryland survived Tulsa Dec. 29 at the Comcast Center, 85-74.

Turgeon after win over Tulsa from Terrapin Times on Vimeo.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Technically, Maryland played better.

At least with the happy return of Seth Allen, who put his best foot forward in his first game of the season and after an infusion of hustle and grit from Jonathan Graham, the duo coming off the bench to help the Terrapins to an 85-74 win over Tulsa in a game much more hard-fought than that score might indicate.

The big sequence probably came midway through the second half when two quick technical fouls on Tulsa coach Danny Manning allowed Maryland (8-5) to get four consecutive free throws from Jake Layman during a game-changing 7-0, all-at-the-free-throw-line spree.

"That gave us a cushion," said Maryland coach Mark Turgeon, who picked up his 300th career victory with the win over his former teammate.

Of course, after Maryland dug a 15-point first half hole, it was Allen and Graham, who is rapidly becoming indispensable as a defender and energy power source, who helped turn the tide. To that point, the Terrapins looked a lot like the same team that had dropped three of their last five games, including the 83-77 upset to Boston University eight days ago.

Meanwhile, Tulsa (4-9) looked like the teams that Turgeon and Manning had played together on at Kansas until the Terrapins got rolling.

"It was very exciting to get back on the floor," said Allen, who had 15 points, three assists and just one turnover in 21 minutes. "I was anxious to play with my team again. I just wanted to play and see how my foot felt and keep on going."

Allen, just back from a fractured foot suffered in the preseason, played more than expected and contributed a lot more. The Terrapins were steadier on offense with him in there and their 10 turnovers were 4.5 below their season average, even with Tulsa forced to play a lot of man-to-man and pressing Maryland.

Seth Allen's Season Debut Impact from Terrapin Times on Vimeo.

"He got me going and I had no idea the impact he had on me as a player with his presence on the court," said Dez Wells, who had a team-high 18 points and went over 1,000 points in his career in the game. "He got everybody going and we pulled out the win."

Graham, meanwhile, came in when the Terps were down and started making Tulsa shots a lot tougher. He had three blocked shots, all in the first half and finished with three points, seven rebounds and an assist in 20 minutes on a night when freshman Damonte Dodd started in the post for the first time.

"We played harder tonight and I think that was John's (second) most minutes," said Turgeon, extrapolating a connection between the two.

"Experience, energy, passion and toughness," said Wells of what Graham brings to the Terrapins. Graham's insertion in the proceedings seemed to coincide with the run that got Maryland back in the game and inspired Wells, who had a double-double with his 18 points and 10 blocks, also chipping in two spectacular blocked shots. The Terrapins had seven blocks, a number they've reached in each of the last three games.

"I thought our defense was tremendous except for about two minutes in the second half after Danny got his technicals," said Turgeon.

Golden Hurricane guard James Woodard hit a three at 7:52 as Tulsa started to battle back after the technically unfriendly sequence had put Maryland up by 11. His three made it 62-55, and Tulsa sagged back into a 2-3 zone that had worked well much of the first half. But Evan Smotrycz and then Wells both drained threes, and Tulsa was back to man-to-man with the Terps up 68-57.

Smotrycz had another solid game with 13 points and five rebounds, hitting 3-of-6 from three-point range, part of 10-of-25 (40 percent) shooting behind the arc after the Terps missed their first seven attempts.

So Woodard, on his way to 25 points, then hit another three and followed with a layup in transition at 5:24, making it 68-62, the Golden Hurricane not quite a tropical depression yet after trailing by double digit just moments earlier.

But that improved Maryland defense would make Tulsa miss the next six shots and hold the Hurricane scoreless for three minutes and fifty-six seconds before Woodard hit another three at 1:28.

In between, Wells hit a tough baseline drive at 3:05 to put the Terps up eight, and then Graham got an improbable tip-in of a Layman miss to make it 72-62. When Smotrycz snuck inside on a stickback at 2:02, it pushed the lead to 12, and matters were pretty much decided except for a storm of Hurricane threes, including two more by Woodard, who hit 5-of-9 behind the arc.

His last one at 41.4 seconds cut the deficit back to 78-71. After Layman missed three of four free throws, Pat Swilling threw in a three to make it 79-74 at 30.5. Nick Faust, on his way to a timely 13 points, hit two free throws, and even added a three-point play with 12 seconds left on a steal and lay-in to put the final margin on the board.

Faust was 5-of-5 at the line, part of a 23-of-35 night (65.7 percent) for Maryland. He also hit two threes and had two steals and just one turnover in 20 minutes.

"We try to come off the bench and just do whatever we can to help the team, being a good defender and doing all those little things to help us win," said Faust. "(Graham) plays really hard and he really defends and he does whatever he can to win. He's one of those blue collar guys."

Turgeon, who is now 300-192 (.609) in 15 years at Jacksonville State, Wichita State, Texas A&M and Maryland, was a little hot under the collar earlier in the game.

"Tulsa really came out playing well, making shots and we were a little flat offensively," he said. "Seth Allen did what did what Seth Allen does, really got us going. More importantly, (his return) gives us depth."

Allen's three on a kick-out from Graham put Maryland up 38-37 at 18:22 of the second half, the Terps first lead since 4-3 at 18:32 of the first half. It was short-lived, though as Rashad Smith, who had 12 points, dunked on a lob to put the Golden Hurricane right back in front.

Layman tied the game back up 41-41 on a driving dunk, and the game see-sawed back and forth until Layman hit his first three of the day – he had missed his first five attempts – and gave Maryland a 48-45 lead at 12:32. It was the Terrapins' largest lead until Faust followed with a threebie to make it a six-point margin.

Layman was 2-of-10 overall, 1-of-7 from deep, but hit 7-of-11 free throws and finished with 12 points, five rebounds and three assists in 30 minutes.

Tulsa got a jumper from D'Andre Wright to get back to 51-47, but that's about the time the game turned a little foul. Roddy Peters hit one of two at the line and then after a Maryland defensive stop, Manning was whistled for two technical fouls by referee Karl Hess and Turgeon's old teammate hit the showers early.

Layman hit all four free throws, Allen was fouled and hit two more, and suddenly Maryland which had trailed by 15 in the first half, had a 58-47 lead with 10:15 to play.

Lew Evans hit a three to cut the deficit back to single digits but Graham got fouled on an offensive rebound and hit one of two at the line to make it 59-50 at 9:48. Manning may have had a point. At that juncture, Tulsa had eight team fouls in the second half, and Maryland had been whistled for just one.

Manning's only comment after the game on the technical fouls was, "Unbelievable."

"I was trying to get Danny to stop because of who he was talking to as a referee," said Turgeon. "I was hoping one of his assistants would grab him. I didn't want him to get thrown. That was my only thing. I thought we were starting to play well and get control of the game. We were up five when that happened and on the break when he got his technical."

Maryland had overcome a 15-point deficit, outscoring Tulsa 25-10 over the final 8:44 of the first half, to knot the game up at 35-35 at the half.

The Terrapins had fallen into a 25-10 hole at 9:02, but quickly set about getting back up. A 15-2 run brought them back to 27-25, when Wells got a three-point play on a drive at 5:47. Allen had helped spark the run with a lay-up and a three-pointer on successive possessions, his first field goals of the year. Smotrycz had a big three, too, and then another one to cut the lead back to 29-28 at 4:42. He missed twice though with a chance to put Maryland in the lead.

A Faust three made it 33-32 two minutes and three seconds before the half, but Layman got a technical foul for grabbing the ball as it went through the net. Woodard, on his way to nine first half points, hit both free throws. His four free throws were Tulsa's only points in the last 3:29 after Tim Peete hit a jumper at the top of the key.

Allen hit a three at 49.7 seconds to tie the score at 35. Wells had a spectacular blocked shot to get the Terps the ball back but Maryland couldn't convert after a scramble when Faust missed a three. Wells and Graham gave the Terrapins a defensive boost with their hustle, and after a 4-of-14 start from the field, the Terps hit nine of their last 18 shots, including five threes.

Earlier, Maryland had closed to 11-8 on a Charles Mitchell hook shot but the Golden Hurricane scored six of the next seven points to lead 17-9 at 12:24 when D'Andre Wright hit a baseline jumper. Maryland's only point during that stretch was from Allen, who made his 2013-14 debut with 15:45 to play in the first half, back from his fractured foot suffered in the preseason.

After three straight Maryland turnovers, Wright got a stickback for a 10-point lead. Smotrycz battled inside and got the Terrapins first point in four minutes and 10 seconds, hitting one of two free throws at 9:55.

The Terrapins had gone six minutes and 44 seconds between made field goals when Wells got loose inside the Tulsa 2-3 zone and hit a short jumper. Wells followed with a lay-up in transition to cut the Golden Hurricane lead from 15 points down to 25-14 at 8:32. He and Allen each had nine first half points.

The Golden Hurricane literally shot out to an 11-4 lead, hitting their first three-point attempts and Smith getting a stickback in traffic after Dodd blocked a shot. Dodd had a dunk on his first touch and when Wells scored down low, Maryland had led 4-3 before Tulsa rattled off the next eight points.

Turgeon said he got more from Dodd than he expected (2 points, 2 rebounds, good defense in 15 minutes) and it helped with Mitchell (2 points, 2 rebounds) getting two early fouls and playing just eight minutes. Shaquille Cleare only got one rebound in five minutes but Turgeon praised Cleare's attitude.

"The good thing is I've got four guys now that I've got a lot of faith in," said the coach of his big men. "Shaq was tremendous on the bench, coaching and never stopped talking, and that's a good sign."

Graham started the second half for Dodd. Allen started the second half for Peters, who had seven points, two rebounds and an assist in 15 minutes but lost minutes to Allen, who hit 4-of-10 from the field, 3-of-6 behind the arc, and 4-of-6 at the line.

A Wells stickback made it 11-6 at 16:09 in the first half, and put him at 1,000 points for his career. He finished the game with 2,014 career points, including his first year at Xavier.

"We haven't conquered anything," said Turgeon, who wrote 1-0 on the chalkboard in the locker room after the game. "We played well tonight. We gained confidence. We have another tough game Tuesday."

That Tuesday contest is against NC Central, coached by Wells' uncle, LaVelle Moton. Game time is 2:30. "We've bought into it, that's been the message since we've got back that this is a new season," said Wells.

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