COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — There was no overstating the excitement and gratification Maryland derived from its rousing comeback victory over Miami.
That didn’t stop Terrapins coach Mark Turgeon from taking his enthusiasm over the top.
“It doesn’t count as three wins, but man, it sure feels like it,” Turgeon said after the Terrapins notched their biggest victory of the season, a 75-70 decision Tuesday night.
James Padgett scored 16 points, including a pivotal three-point play with 44 seconds left, and Maryland held Miami without a basket for nearly nine minutes down the stretch.
The Terrapins (16-11, 6-7 Atlantic Coast Conference) trailed 66-61 before rallying with a 10-0 run during the final two minutes.
A 3-point shot by Sean Mosley and a three-point play by Padgett preceded two three throws by Mosley and two more by Terrell Stoglin.
Stoglin finished with 20 points on 6-for-17 shooting and Mosley contributed 15 points to help Maryland bounce back from a humbling 71-44 defeat at Virginia on Saturday.
“That’s the kind of win right there that will carry over hopefully for the rest of the year and into the future, because we’re a young team and we’ve got to learn how to win,” Turgeon said. “I’m so proud of them. We weren’t perfect, but we beat a really good team tonight.”
Kenny Kadji scored 16 for the Hurricanes (16-10, 7-6). Miami began the night locked in a fourth-place tie in the ACC with two other teams.
“It hurts,” coach Jim Larranaga said. “We were right there.”
After Durand Scott connected for Miami with 9:07 remaining, the Hurricanes didn’t make another field goal until Shane Larkin canned a layup with 16.9 seconds left.
Despite the drought, Miami kept finding its way to the foul line and held a five-point lead with 2:04 remaining.
A 3-pointer by Mosley cut the Hurricanes’ lead to 66-64 with 1:37 to go. After Miami missed twice, Padgett was fouled on a follow-shot and made the free throw for a 67-66 lead with 44 seconds to play.
Scott then lost the handle on the basketball and fouled out trying to get it back from Mosley, who sank two free throws for a three-point cushion.
Another Miami turnover followed, and Stoglin made two at the line to clinch it.
“We had two turnovers that you can’t really explain,” Larranaga said. “Guys tend to think too much toward the end of close games. They think you need to do something special; the fact of the matter is you have to do something simple.”
Like put the ball in the basket, something that proved very difficult for the Hurricanes in the closing minutes.
“At the end, they were the ones making the plays,” Scott said. “That’s why they came out with the victory.”
Maryland trailed 56-49 with 9:07 remaining before Alex Len made successive dunks and Ashton Pankey hit a jumper off the glass to cut the gap to one point. Seconds later, a tip-in by Len tied it at 57, setting the stage for another thrilling finish between these two teams.
Earlier this month, Miami beat the Terps at home in double overtime. In this one, Maryland took over at the finish.
“It feels real good to get a good win at home,” Stoglin said. “The Virginia game was real embarrassing, so this helped out a lot.”
Asked if he’d ever seen Turgeon appear more excited about a win, Stoglin responded, “No, I haven’t. I think he’s cherishing this win a lot.”
To say the least.
“I’m so proud of them,” Turgeon said. “It’s a great turnaround. That shows a little bit about this group.”
The Hurricanes overcame an early 10-point deficit to take a 35-31 halftime lead, in part because of a 21-14 rebounding advantage that included seven on the offensive end.
Minutes after Maryland honored former guard Johnny Rhodes by hanging his No. 15 from the rafters at Comcast Center, the Terrapins got off to a raise-the-roof start.
Padgett made three baskets, Mosley had two, and Maryland connected on six of its first seven attempts from the floor in bolting to a 13-3 lead. The 13 points — scored in 4 1/2 minutes — equaled the Terps’ output for the entire second half at Virginia.
But the Hurricanes battled back behind Malcolm Grant, who made a pair of 3-pointers and two foul shots during a 10-0 run that put Miami up 28-23.
After its torrid start, Maryland made only four of its next 16 shots from the floor. Stoglin broke the dry spell with a 3-pointer to spark a 7-0 spurt that got the Terrapins to 32-31.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)