On the day before Maryland’s Monday-night matchup against NC State, Mark Turgeon spoke to the media about the importance of his team’s comeback win against Notre Dame which, at the time, felt like a much-needed second wind in the Terrapins’ sails.
“I don’t know what it’s going to do for the rest of the season, but I know what it did for the short term,” he said. “If we would have lost the game or played the same way in the second half as we did the first half, you know, we’d be searching.”
Now two days removed from a bad loss to an NC State team that was without the conference’s leading scorer, lit up for 23 points by a guard who had been averaging less than half of that up to that point in the season, is it true that the inevitable was only delayed?
Did the impressive, come-from-behind effort in the second half against Notre Dame essentially just stave off the “searching” that Turgeon alluded to?
That has been a common theme so far this season. Turgeon said he would be searching after his team lost to Boston University before the Christmas holiday. They appeared to have found something, winning three straight games before the current stretch of losing three of their last four games.
Don’t surprised if the searching continues. Defense on the perimeter is still a problem. Maryland played well in that regard in the first half against NC State, but allowed Ralston Turner to shoot 5-of-9 from deep in the second, including a wide-open three in the final minutes on a bad defensive switch that was emblematic of the team’s luck keeping him in check.
Searching is the buzzword, but there still hasn’t been much that has been found. A regular rotation is still elusive. Regularity in minutes distribution is not there. Offensive consistency lacks, as well.
The Terrapins face a tough rematch at home against a Pittsburgh team that roughed them up in the Steel City two weeks ago, but the three-game stretch that follows--against Miami, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina--provides Maryland the best opportunity that remains to make a run at the postseason, whatever tournament that would be.
“Searching” begins again with a 6 p.m. tip-off at Comcast Center on Saturday.