Terps finish off ACU with 29-0 run
COLLEGE PARK--After four minutes you could chalk it up to a slow start. After 12 minutes it was probably just a struggling offense. After a half of trailing newly-named Division I member Abilene Christian, it appeared something was wrong.
“I’ll take the blame for that,” head coach Mark Turgeon said after his team’s come-from-behind 67-44 win on Wednesday night in College Park. “I don’t know what I did wrong, but I didn’t have us ready. Home opener, to play that way is not good.”
That first half included 12 team turnovers and just 29 points to a team that started three players who were six feet tall or shorter.
Maryland would turn it around in the second half, finishing the final 14:12 on a 29-0 run to close the game and secure its first win of the year. But Turgeon willingly shouldered the weight of the team’s slow start.
“Just mentally as the season goes on I want our guys to be fresh,” Turgeon said. “Maybe our guys thought that I didn’t think Abilene Christian was any good by doing that. Obviously I didn’t get them prepared to play.”
Turgeon did a noticeable amount of lineup shuffling in the first half. Eleven players saw time in the first 20 minutes, including Division III transfer Varun Ram getting much of the time at the lead guard spot when Dez Wells was benched.
“It was our energy. It was just terrible when we started off,” sophomore forward Jake Layman said. “There wasn’t concern. There was kind of frustration in the first half because we know we can play a lot better than that.”
Layman was the fuel to the second half fire for Maryland, finishing with 19 points, 14 of which came during the team’s 29-0 run.
“The start of the game was so bad that we just kind of didn’t really know what to do when we were down,” said Layman. “We just needed to pick it up.”
Layman's scoring was key, but Wells' reentry to the lineup was also a catalyst. By playing him off the ball, unlike Turgeon did against Connecticut, the floor opened up because of Wells' ability to dribble drive and kick to Layman on the perimeter.
Maryland also used more pressure defense and forced 16 total Abilene Christian turnovers. The three-point shot that had been keeping the Wildcats afloat was absent--along with any other scoring--over the course of the final 14 minutes.
And that's how a 29-0 run is made.
Maryland now faces an Oregon State team on Sunday that lost to Coppin State in its opener. But another slow start could sink the Terrapins against a Pac-12 opponent.
“Hopefully I’ll do a better job between now and Sunday,” Turgeon said. “Have us ready to go at six o’clock on Sunday.”