Maryland basketball hasn’t had much of anything go right in the last two days. One day after the Terps’ name came up in the newest wave of FBI documents regarding college basketball corruption, they lost their regular-season finale by 24 points, their worst margin of defeat in College Park in 31 years.
So when Mark Turgeon stepped to the podium for Saturday’s postgame press conference, he knew he’d face his toughest questions of the season.
Mark Turgeon addresses the media after Maryland's largest home loss in his tenure. https://t.co/6E8bUVENqv— Testudo Times (@testudotimes) February 24, 2018
Turgeon opened his presser by virtually repeating the statement he released Friday regarding Diamond Stone reportedly receiving payment from an agent while at Maryland. The coach stressed his absence of a relationship with Andy Miller, the agent at the center of the report featuring Stone, saying he “wouldn’t know him if he walked in the room today.” Turgeon never referenced Miller or his agency by name.
When asked if the lack of connections extended to members of his staff, Turgeon doubled down. “There’s no involvement with us or our staff,” he said. “None. Zero.”
Basketball questions weren’t easy either, as Maryland self-destructed in the first half and watched its 12-11 lead turn into a 54-24 halftime deficit amid a barrage of three-pointers by the No. 17 Wolverines. Turgeon opened by taking full blame for the lackluster outing, although he maintained Friday’s report wasn’t a distraction.
“I just didn’t have us ready,” he said. “Michigan was terrific, made every shot, we couldn’t guard them. Our offense wasn’t good enough, we let our offense affect our defense. ... Since the Ohio State game, we’d been pretty good in 11 straight games. Today we weren’t.”
The loss brings Maryland’s final regular-season record to 19-12, which feels significantly different from the 20-11 mark that would have come with a win Saturday. The Terps entered this game locked into the No. 8 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, and they’ll get another chance to earn that 20th win against No. 9-seed Wisconsin on Thursday.
“I said we’re gonna take tomorrow off and we’re gonna come Monday, and if I see any quit in anybody, I’m gonna run the crap out of you,” Turgeon said. “So we’re gonna come Monday, we’re gonna work on us for two days, try to get better, stay confident ... hopefully by noon on Thursday, we’re ready to go.”