After a second-half surge led the Maryland Terrapins to a much-needed victory over Notre Dame last Wednesday night, there was a sense of renewed optimism surrounding the basketball team. Coach Mark Turgeon told yours truly and Glenn Younes this past Friday that he wanted his team to have fun and they went out and played their best half of hoops against the Irish.
With that win in hand, it was time for the Terps to test their newfound enthusiasm against the struggling N.C. State Wolfpack in Raleigh. An N.C. State team that would be playing without their best player T.J. Warren.
Even without Warren, the ACC’s leading scorer, the Wolfpack spanked Maryland in the second half on their way to a 65-56 win. State outscored the Terps 45-27 in the final 20 minutes as they handed Turgeon and his team another demoralizing road defeat. The loss stings even more because the Turtles blew an 11-point advantage during the collapse.
Ralston Turner started for the injured Warren and matched his career-high with 23 points. Turner dropped five 3-pointers on Maryland’s beleaguered defense.
After leading by nine at the half, it was more of the same old, same old for Turgeon’s crew in the final stanza. Bad defense, clueless offense, lack of energy and a lack of a go-to guy when they needed a hoop. Shaq Cleare continues to be a non-factor and Jake Layman continues to disappear in conference road games.
Dez Wells and Evan Smotrycz were the only Maryland players to score in double figures as they each finished with 10 points.
Monday night’s game was one that the Terps needed to get and the couldn’t finish the job.
Where do they go from here? I don’t think anyone really knows.
Turgeon admitted to Glenn and myself that his team is hard to coach. I would assume that he will have his work cut out for him this week and he tries to restore some sense of order.
20th-ranked Pitt visits the Comcast Center on Saturday night and they will be extremely hard to beat. Pitt has already drubbed Maryland once and is capable of doing it again.
The Maryland Terrapins are getting into must-win territory.
I’m beginning to think that they are not up to the challenge.