COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — As a way of explaining why Maryland struggled so mightily to beat in-state foe Mount St. Mary’s, coach Mark Turgeon made a point of saying the Mountaineers played “fantastic” basketball.
Then, Turgeon ripped the performance of his own team.
Terrell Stoglin scored 23 points, James Padgett had 15 and Maryland blew a 16-point lead before pulling out a 77-74 victory Wednesday night.
“Our ball-screen defense was terrible all night. We never adjusted,” Turgeon said. “I’m not used to (my team) not guarding. This is all new to me. We’ve got to figure out a way to teach these guys how to guard better. Otherwise, it’s not going to be much fun this winter.”
The Terrapins (5-3) trailed 70-69 with 2:53 remaining against a team that lost to Marquette by 54 points and to Minnesota by 29.
Stoglin put Maryland up with a jumper, then added another to make it 73-70 with 1:48 left. After Josh Castellanos sank a layup for the Mountaineers, Stoglin missed a runner in the lane, giving the Mountaineers a chance to take the lead.
Julian Norfleet botched a layup and Danny Thompson was denied a putback before Maryland’s Mychal Parker gained control of the ball and was fouled. He made both free throws with 14 seconds left.
Thompson dunked with 2.3 seconds left for the Mountaineers (1-7), but Sean Mosley clinched it for the Terps by making two foul shots with 1 second remaining.
The Mountaineers went 11 for 21 (52 percent) beyond the arc and shot 46 percent overall. They came in averaging 32 percent on 3-pointers and 40 percent from the field.
“We’ve got to get it figured out because I’m not used to this,” Turgeon said. “If you guard, then the game isn’t close.”
Maryland’s next game isn’t for another week, so it’s evident what the Terrapins will be doing in practice over the next several days.
“Coach emphasizes defense,” forward Ashton Pankey said. “He wants that to be our identity. So we’re going to practice rebounding, guarding, ball-screens, things like that.”
It was the first of six straight non-league home games for the Terrapins, who have been decidedly inconsistent in Turgeon’s first season.
That’s how it was in this game.
Maryland led 45-29 shortly before halftime and 59-52 with 9:55 left before the Mountaineers went on a 9-0 run to go in front for the first time.
Norfleet scored 18 for the Mountaineers, who have lost six straight. The Mountaineers are 1-21 against Atlantic Coast Conference teams, including 0-7 against the Terps.
In the first six games between the teams, the Mount had not lost by fewer than 28 points. This one was decidedly different.
“We’re starting to play better. We’re executing better,” said coach Robert Burke, who used only seven players.
Earlier in the day, Mountaineers coach Robert Burke dismissed senior guard Lamar Trice for violating team rules. Trice totaled 20 points in Mount St. Mary’s previous two games after serving a five-game suspension at the outset of the season. He finished his career with 508 points in 83 games.
Stoglin scored 13 points in the first half, going 3-for-3 from the floor and making 7 of 8 foul shots to help the Terrapins go up 45-32 at the break.
Maryland committed only two turnovers and outscored Mount St. Mary’s 14-2 at the foul line, but the Mountaineers went 6-for-9 from 3-point range to stay within striking distance.
Mount St. Mary’s clicked on three of its first five attempts from beyond the arc and trailed 15-13 before Stoglin made four free throws and Mosley popped a 3-pointer to make it 22-13.
It was 27-20 before Nick Faust, Padgett and Mosley scored successive baskets to provide the Terrapins with a 13-point cushion.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)