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