Terrell Stoglin was chafing. Nick Faust's foul trouble forced the sophomore to handle Maryland's point guard chores for nearly the entire second half Sunday. In turn, few plays were being called for Stoglin to do what he loves so much, and he pointed it out to coach Mark Turgeon.
"I said 'I got you Terrell,'" Turgeon said. "'You'll have plenty of chances to score for us.'"
Turgeon wasn't kidding.
Stoglin scored 31 points, including the clinching basket in the closing moments, as the Terrapins outlasted Notre Dame 78-71 before 10,714 at Verizon Center in the BB&T Classic.
Sean Mosley added 17 points for Maryland (4-3), which twice turned back rallies in the second half to get back above .500.
Stoglin was at the center of both replies, especially at the end. His free throws secured a 73-63 advantage with 1:42 left, but the Irish closed within 74-71 less than a minute later thanks to the Terps' missed free throws and defensive breakdowns.
"Where we are right with our program, we're always going to make it interesting," Turgeon said.
Stoglin is more capable than anyone on Maryland's roster of infusing excitement — whether good or bad — into any sequence. And with Notre Dame hoping to get a stop rather than extend the game with foul shots, Stoglin was in position to dictate the outcome for the Terps.
After a timeout, Stoglin secured possession and began a drive into the lane as the shot clock wound down, only to draw contact and toss up a wild shot that fell.
"I was going to go to the basket, but when I pulled up I felt he fouled me on the elbow, so I just wanted to get the ref to call a foul," Stoglin said. "He didn't, but I thank God I made the shot."
It brought Stoglin within a point of his career-high, established last month in the Terps' defeat of Colorado in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. And it also clinched a victory certain to provide evidence of progress for the undermanned team.
Maryland still has only seven recruited scholarship players at its disposal, and it has a long history of stumbling in the BB&T. The Terps were a meager 1-5 in the event since it switched to a single-day format in 2005, including a loss to Notre Dame in 2006.
But the current Irish (5-3) are not too unlike the Terps. Down senior Tim Abromaitis, who played only two games before suffering a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury, Notre Dame is still sorting out how it will function as it presses forward in the season.
Jerian Grant scored 20 points for the Irish, who nonetheless don't yet have a scorer at quite Stoglin's level.
Stoglin scored 11 points in the first eight minutes when the rest of the Terps were struggling. And he provided seven points in a 9-0 spurt after the Irish closed within 57-56 with less than eight minutes left. And, of course, there was the clincher.
"He's like World B. Free, man," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "He's like the microwave of College Park. He makes tough shots. We wanted to play that last possession out and see if we could get it back and we went zone and he hit a tough shot."
In turn, it gave Maryland a win it craved entering a six-game homestand over the next month, one during which the Terps hope to build a more imposing record if not a superb postseason resume. Improvement means more, of course, and Maryland could eventually look back on its BB&T adventure as a significant step forward for perhaps an unexpected reason.
"I was kind of glad it was close for these guys — that they made a run at us, that they made us a little bit nervous and we had to make plays," Turgeon said. "I think that did more for us than winning by 10 or 12."
NOTE: Forward Ashton Pankey played only one minute, the first time all season one of Maryland's available recruited scholarship players logged less than 10 minutes. "That was a coach's decision," Turgeon said tersely.
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Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at email@example.com.
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