Yesterday, Terrell Stoglin had arguably the worst game of his career, a 0-9 clunker in Maryland's painful loss to Alabama. Today, he responded with the best game of his career: he went certifiable Greivis Mode, scoring a career-high 32 points (25 of them coming in the second half) and leading the Terrapins back from a eleven-point second-half deficit to defeat Colorado 78-71 in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
As one of our good Twitter friends said: "Live by the Stoglin, die by the Stoglin."
As you might've ascertained, tonight's win was just about the exact opposite of last night's loss in every way. Against Alabama's suffocating defense, Maryland could hardly run a set, let alone sink a shot. Tonight? They shot nearly 50% from the field and 52% from three, knocking down 11 treys. Four of those three-pointers, by the way, came from Sean Mosley. Really. Oh, and Nick Faust added 15 points. And, for good measure, they outrebounded Colorado 38-30.
(For the stat gurus out there: eFG% was 59.1% to last night's 28.6%, and OReb% was 42% to last night's 22%. (Jake) Layman's interpretation: much, much better.)
Interestingly, for awhile there it looked like none of that would be the case. After jumping out to a quick lead, Maryland quickly stagnated, and entered the half trailing by eight. Colorado's lead rose as high as eleven, after Carlon Brown made a layup four minutes into the second half. Mark Turgeon's team held true to his word, though, and refused to quit, riding Stoglin back to an important out-of-conference win.
And it is important, to some degree. Colorado is a Big 6 team with a decent amount of talent, but more importantly it's a building block for Maryland. They beat a team that isn't a cupcake, and even though it was often ugly, it was a win that had multiple bright spots. This squad is a work-in-progress; anything like this, at this point, is gravy. And seeing them execute as well as they did in the second half has to warm anyone's heart.
For the reality check, Colorado isn't great. They're missing four starters from last year's team. They're 122 in KenPom and were picked to finish 10th in the Pac-12. So let's not get overboard. And, on top of that, it's highly doubtful that Maryland will shoot as well as they did tonight. I doubt they'll have a night as bad as the one they had last night, or a night as good as the one they had tonight. (These things can even out quick, I guess.) Stoglin is assured to have his bad days. Mosley, as well, isn't like to knock down four straight three-pointers again anytime soon.
But it's still early and we're in the honeymoon phase, so a win is a win. Be happy. For the next round, you'll get to see the Terrapins take on Iona, who is better than you might think: Scott Machado is one of the best point guards in the country, and next to him is Momo Jones (formerly of Arizona fame). That has the potential to be entertaining, and the Stoglin-Momo-Machado triangle will be worth the price of admission.
As for some of the more analytical stuff, Maryland was much, much better offensively today. Stoglin had a part to play there, as did the quality of the opposition and Maryland's ability to run plays and find open looks. It was one thing they struggled with against Alabama, but there was much more motion today, and of course that creates shots that tend to be easier to convert. Then, once the offense started to find a bit of confidence and rhythm, things loosened up and points started to flow.
There still seems to be some occasional lapses in concentration across the board: all too often Maryland would follow up a great play with a terrible one. For instance, when they pulled within one in the second half, they promptly gave up an open three and then turned the ball over with a lazy pass. That might be the mark of an inexperienced and tired team, but it's a pretty big problem area.
Individually, of course Stoglin's performance stood out, but a few other players warrant some pub, too. For one, I think we saw Nick Faust come out of his shell a bit today. (Get it?) He needed a banked-in three to do it, but after he hit that shot he started to look a bit more aggressive. He finished 3-6 from deep, which is something Maryland really needs from him this year, and nicely attacked the rim for his fourth bucket. He needs to calm down on his free throws, but if his offensive game is like what he showed today, things will get a lot easier for Maryland down the road.
Mosley also sort of broke out, with his best offensive performance since he dropped 16 on Georgia Tech in January. I don't expect him to knock down four three-pointers a game from here on out, but Maryland needed those points tonight, and he gave them. (He also had a crafty move, where he pump-faked, got the defender to bite, and went up for the foul to get three free-throws; oh, and he possessed a loose ball with his feet.)
Mychal Parker was also a pleasant surprise. He started and played 30 minutes, going 4-7 with 8 points and - gasp - no TOs. He displayed some of his lauded athleticism and offensive arsenal, and was able to create points off the dribble when no one else was. That needs to show up later in the year consistently.
Last note: Mark Turgeon is a timeout wizard. He called a timeout about a nanosecond before a Colorado player stole the ball out of Faust's hands, and another time had the presence of mind to save a possession late in the game. You might like to see that coming from the floor, but I really don't care. Good TO management is always a plus.
More coming later, as always. For now, discuss.