Af­ter 2 tight games, Terps rout D-III ’Hawks

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - By Don Markus

COL­LEGE PARK — Mary­land men’s bas­ket­ball coach Mark Tur­geon gave his play­ers the day off af­ter the team’s emo­tional come-from-be­hind win over Ge­orge­town on Tues­day night at Ver­i­zon Cen­ter, a rar­ity when there’s only a two-day turn­around be­tween games.

That was the lux­ury af­forded by fac­ing Di­vi­sion III St. Mary’s on Thurs­day night at Xfin­ity Cen­ter.

“What was nice is that we only had to put a lit­tle prep into it,” Tur­geon said. “We showed them a lit­tle film and had shootaround to­day and walked through a cou­ple of Sun­day, 2 p.m. Video: ESPN3 Ra­dio: 105.7 FM, 980 AM, 1300 AM things. That’s re­ally the grind of the sea­son, is just the prep. We put so much into American and Ge­orge­town, and it was so nice just to show up and play a game.”

Af­ter play­ing two tight games — the Terps also had to come from be­hind to beat American at home in the sea­son opener — Mary­land scored on seven of its first eight pos­ses­sions against the much smaller Sea­hawks, built a dou­ble-digit lead be­fore the first tele­vi­sion time­out and cruised to a 93-45 vic­tory.

With none of his 10 ro­ta­tional play­ers on the court for more than 22 min­utes and all of them get­ting at least 15, Tur­geon ro­tated five-man line­ups for the first half, mixed and matched for the sec­ond half, and even found time to get two walk-ons into the game at the end.

“We jumped out [13-2] and I wanted to play ev­ery­one equally,” Tur­geon said. “The play­ers hate that. I do, too. I hated it as a player and I told the guys that at half­time. It’s just what we did tonight. It’s not what we’ll do in the fu­ture. But the great thing is, we have great depth and it showed Tues­day St. Mary’s Lavonte San­ders at­tempts to shoot be­tween Mary­land for­wards Ivan Ben­der, left, and L.G. Gill, right.

night and it showed again tonight.”

Grad­u­ate trans­fer L.G. Gill fin­ished with a team-high 15 points off the bench. Se­nior cen­ter Da­monte Dodd scored 13 points, ty­ing his ca­reer high, to go with 10 re­bounds. The Terps had 18 as­sists on 27 bas­kets, in­clud­ing seven by fresh­man An­thony Cowan.

“The good thing for me is that we have so many new play­ers — you’ve got the young guys, you’ve got L.G., you’ve got Ivan [Ben­der] who didn’t play a lot last year, Dion [Wi­ley] who didn’t play last year — they’re just ex­cited to play,” Tur­geon said.

Af­ter start­ing Cowan and fel­low fresh­man Kevin Huerter in Mary­land’s first two games, Tur­geon added an­other fresh­man, for­ward Justin Jack­son, to the start­ing lineup af­ter he scored 17 points and pulled down seven re­bounds in the 76-75 win over Ge­orge­town.

“I wanted to start Justin in the Ge­orge­town game, but I thought the mo­ment might have been a lit­tle too big, and we kind of agreed to wait,” Tur­geon said of Jack­son, who had 10 re­bounds and three as­sists Thurs­day.

While many of his team­mates seemed a bit over­whelmed through­out the first half, St. Mary’s fresh­man Tre Mou­ton ap­peared to be at home. Con­sid­er­ing that he had spent much of his child­hood go­ing to Mary­land games to see his un­cle Byron Mou­ton, it was a home­com­ing of sorts for the 6-foot-3 guard from Wal­dorf.

Asked whether he felt a lit­tle deja vu, Tre Mou­ton said: “Ab­so­lutely. I think what re­ally res­onated with me was hear­ing the Mary­land fight song com­ing out. I never re­ally thought about be­ing on the op­po­site side. It was fun. I wanted to give it ev­ery­thing I had.”

Mou­ton, whowears the same No. 1jer­sey his un­cle wore as a Terp on the back-to­back Fi­nal Four teams and 2002 cham­pi­onship team, fin­ished with a team-high 16 points, in­clud­ing a back-to-back se­quence to close the first half, with a three-point play over the 6-9 Ben­der and a 3-pointer at horn. That cut Mary­land’s lead to 54-22.

The game had the feel of an ex­hi­bi­tion, which strangely enough it was for St. Mary’s but not for Mary­land (3-0). Tur­geon was happy his team didn’t turn it into a pickup game, as ev­i­denced by the fact that the Terps com­mit­ted just five turnovers in the sec­ond half and only one in the last 12 min­utes.

“I think we have to con­cen­trate even harder just to tell our­selves that it doesn’t mat­ter who we come out and play,” Gill said. “We have to have the same mind­set whether we’re play­ing Ge­orge­town or we’re play­ing In­di­ana or we’re play­ing St. Mary’s. We have to be con­sis­tent and stay true to our goals.”

The one pos­i­tive as­pect of play­ing a Di­vi­sion III team for the Terps is that it won’t count against their RPI, which might have taken an in­ad­ver­tent hit when Arkansas State beat Ge­orge­town on Thurs­day in Wash­ing­ton. Hear­ing that news might have been the only thing to take a smile off Tur­geon’s face all night.

NOTES: Though he suited up for the first time this sea­son and went through pregame warmups, ju­nior cen­ter Michal Cekovsky sat out his third straight game with a foot in­jury. … The only other Terps not to get in were fresh­men Joshua To­maic and Micah Thomas, and Tur­geon said he is “con­tem­plat­ing” red­shirt­ing them.

PA­TRICK SEMANSKY/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

PA­TRICK SEMANSKY/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

St. Mary’s guard Dono­van Robin­son drives against Mary­land guard An­thony Cowan, sec­ond from left, Sea­hawks for­ward Marsalis Hur­ley and Terps for­ward L.G. Gill, right, in the sec­ond half. Gill led Mary­land with 15 points off the bench.

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