Like Maryland football, Maryland basketball seems to have a story you can tell over and over again. Unlike football, that story seems to usually end in a victory.
Tonight was no different, as the Terps jumped out to a huge first half lead against Wake Forest, only to see it dwindle at the beginning of the second half before hanging on for the 70-64 win. It was Mark Turgeon’s first ACC victory.
Terrell Stoglin came off the bench, scoring 20 points but only making two of nine three pointers. His benching was foreseeable – Mark Turgeon has talked many times about Stogs’ lack of effort on defense – but the Terps’ shooting guard still led the team with 34 minutes. He made some key shots down the stretch, including six of eight free throws – a recurring problem for Maryland that reared its ugly head again.
The Terps shot 64.9% from the line, led by a 3-7 mark from Alex Len and a good amount of one for twos, but James Padgett was a surprising seven of nine. Padgett still produced his usual two of six line from the floor, missing easy shot after easy shot, but showed great effort on the glass, putting together eight rebounds.
Speaking of Len, he struggled in his first ACC home game. He was fine defensively, holding off Ty Walker and Carson Desrosiers (who aren’t big time scoring threats any way) and blocking three shots, but got shut down on offense. The freshman scored five points on three shots, and had the aforementioned rebound trouble, in addition to two turnovers.
It was Sean Mosley who had the best game of the night, however. The senior scored fifteen points with four rebounds and two assists and consistently provided hustle and leadership on both ends of the court when the Terps needed it most.
Ashton Pankey had a great game as well, bouncing back from a string of poor performances with nine points and nine rebounds. Mychal Parker and Nick Faust showed spurts of their athleticism as a swingmen, but there was one Maryland player (other than Len) who did disappoint – Pe’Shon Howard.
Howard missed all five of his shots, but had five rebounds with three assists and two steals. In addition to missing those shots, however, he turned the ball over twice and didn’t have his usual control of the offense. He wasn’t bad, per se, it just wasn’t the usual MVPe’ performance we’ve been accustomed to.
For Wake, they were led by Travis McKie, the 6’7″ forward who looked unstoppable at times. The sophomore was 8-14 from the floor (4-6 from three) and scored 25 points with seven rebounds. Maryland seemed to have the most success when sticking Mosley on him, but with McKie’s size and shot-making ability, it was obvious he was going to be a tough matchup no matter what.
The Terps did do a great job of shutting down C.J. Harris, the Deacons’ leading scorer. Harris finished the game with ten points, most of them scored in garbage time, and missed all three of his three-point attempts.
Wake Forest got in foul trouble early, and Maryland was very successful when cutting to the hoop. Desrosiers fouled out, and four other Wake players finished with four fouls. Terps fans can be happy that Walker is a senior, however – although he only scored eight points, he completely shut down Len and looked like a force defensively inside.
Once again, Maryland had a great first half, and looked better than their opponent throughout. They had some lapses at the beginning of the second half, but held on for another win. The Terps now stand at 11-4, 1-1 in the ACC. Maryland’s next game is at home against Georgia Tech this Sunday, at 4:00 p.m.