Raise your hand if you’re surprised that the Terps have dropped two in a row after reeling off 13 straight wins.
Remember that Mark Turgeon had suggested that the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule would be a whole different sort of affair – sort of a season within a season.
I’m not sure we all believed him. His team was so dominant against mid-majors -- displaying a potent offense and a knack for offensive rebounds.
But when the coach says his team needs to grow up, I guess we should believe him.
Maryland’s inexperience was in marked contrast to the Hurricanes, who started four seniors in their 54-47 victory at BankUnited Center. The arena, by the way, was louder and fuller (5,809) than I’ve heard it. Miami coach Jim Larranaga said he was gratified that the students had returned from winter break.
Maryland never looked more lost than during a first half in which its lineup shuffling couldn’t solve its shooting woes. The Terps made six field goals and scored 14 points in the half. At one point, Maryland had no starters on the floor and an unusual lineup of Spencer Barks, Pe’Shon Howard (who is 0-for-13 from the floor over his past three games), Jake Layman, Logan Aronhalt and Shaquille Cleare. That lineup totaled six points in the contest.
It’s not just Maryland players who are growing up. This season is also about Turgeon determining what combinations work and who will play the hardest for him. I’ll admit that I probably underestimated how long and trying that process might be. “It’s a guessing game,” Turgeon said.
After Dez Wells (18 points) and Alex Len (16 points), the rest of the team made just five field goals. Consider that Wells and Len are among the players that have the benefit of a season of college ball.
Turgeon is a former point guard, and his most difficult moments come when his team makes poor decisions with the ball. He loves to run not only on fast breaks, but on “secondary breaks” when there is no man advantage.
But Turgeon hinted after Sunday night’s game that he may need to have Maryland walk the ball up more often if his team can’t make the correct passes on the fly. He hopes it won’t come to that.
He hasn’t lost faith in this team. Rather, he says his young players are in a natural maturation process. It would be nice, he said, if the Terps can win some games while they’re still maturing.
A final note:
On press row, we were wondering why it took so long for forward Charles Mitchell to assume his regular spot in the rotation. He played only 12 minutes.
We got our answer – at least partially -- in the interview room after the game.
“That’s in-house,” Turgeon said. “(I) probably shouldn’t have done (limited Mitchell’s playing time) because I’m going to punish him tomorrow. But it was nothing major. We’ve just got to grow up. Charles wasn’t the only one. We had a few issues between the last two games – just minor stuff, immaturity stuff. There’s a couple other guys that are going to be punished tomorrow, too.”Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times