COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Maryland made two field goals over the final nine minutes and had to scramble down to the final seconds to pull out a narrow home win over struggling Florida International.
After the final buzzer sounded, the Terrapins and coach Mark Turgeon didn’t apologize for the performance.
In fact, they couldn’t have been happier.
Terrell Stoglin fought through foul trouble to score 20 points, and Maryland needed a late rally to pull out a 65-61 victory Wednesday night.
The Terrapins (6-3) trailed by 11 late in the first half and by 52-50 with 7:12 left before FIU (3-7) went cold. The Panthers went nearly six minutes without a point, and although Maryland was almost as inept offensively, its efficiency at the foul line made up the difference.
“The difference in the game was we really defended down the stretch,” Turgeon said. “We won another close game. That’s the key.”
Maryland has a three-game winning streak, defeating Notre Dame, Mount St. Mary’s and FIU by a combined 14 points.
“This is going to give us confidence,” Stoglin said.
After a free throw by Stoglin made it 57-52, Jeremy Allen scored off the glass for the Panthers with 1:18 left. The Terrapins then threw the ball away, but FIU couldn’t score and freshman Ashton Pankey sank two free throws for Maryland to make it 59-54 with 38 seconds to go.
Phil Taylor drilled a 3-pointer for the Panthers, but Nick Faust and Stoglin each made two foul shots over the final 27.8 seconds to keep the Terrapins in front.
Coached by former NBA great Isiah Thomas, FIU had already lost this season to Georgia State by 26 and to Texas Wesleyan, an NAIA school. But the Panthers gave Maryland everything it could handle in this one, a tight affair that was nothing like the only other meeting between the schools — a 117-70 rout by the Terrapins in 1997.
Thomas said Stoglin’s ability to score 20 points despite going 4 for 13 from the field was a huge factor.
“He was 11 for 13 from the line,” Thomas noted. “He’s a great scorer, and (the Terps) have a way of manufacturing points when things aren’t going well for them.”
Taylor had 20 points and seven assists and Allen scored 18.
Maryland trailed 36-27 early in the second half before Stoglin scored five points in a 9-2 spree that cut the gap to two points.
But the Panthers wouldn’t wilt, and after Stoglin picked up his fourth foul with 13:08 left, Taylor made a free throw to make it 46-40.
The Terrapins went up 49-48 on a three-point play by Sean Mosley with 9:10 remaining. Maryland wouldn’t make another basket until Stoglin scored on a drive with 2:23 left, part of a 7-0 run that made it 57-52.
Maryland’s only other basket over the final nine minutes was a layup by Faust with two seconds to go.
“We stuck together as a team and got the win. It felt good,” Mosely said. “A win is a win.”
FIU limited Maryland to 36 percent shooting in the first half, forced nine turnovers and got 14 points from Allen in going up 34-27 at the break.
There were seven lead changes before Allen hit a 3-pointer to begin a 13-1 run that put FIU ahead 34-23. Allen connected twice from beyond the arc during the surge, sandwiching the long-range shots around seven straight points by Taylor.
Stoglin cut into the deficit with four straight free throws, the first two following a technical foul on Allen for protesting the call that sent Stoglin to the line.
“Those four points were big points,” Thomas said. “At the end of the game, those plays end up costing you.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)