Three hours elapsed Saturday as Maryland’s team bus wound over the hills on Route 29 while hurtling back to College Park.
The ride wasn’t quite as long as the rush hour-addled trip to Charlottesville. It just felt that way.
Much like the locker room, there was almost total silence, though coach Mark Turgeon interrupted it from time to time as he spat out frustration while venting to his assistants. Finally, the Terrapins arrived at Comcast Center following their 71-44 humbling at Virginia.
Turgeon could have opted to tear into his team again before parting ways. He might have been tempted to do so, too.
Instead, it was time to think about the next one.
“OK guys, that’s a long time since we played not very well,” Turgeon told the 14 players who, to a man, played poorly in Charlottesville. “We’ll let it go and come back Monday and try to be better.”
And really, what choice did he have?
The Terps (15-11, 5-7 ACC) didn’t practice Sunday, then had a session Monday in preparation for Tuesday’s date with Miami (16-9, 7-5) at Comcast Center. There was not much time to dwell on a single feeble effort.
“The good thing about it is we don’t have four or five days before we have another game …,” guard Sean Mosley said. “We probably played the worst basketball we could have played the whole year.”
While little went right Saturday, the greatest concern was the absence of solid post play from anyone. The combination of Alex Len, James Padgett, Ashton Pankey and Berend Weijs usually yields at least one solid performance and sometimes two or three.
The Terps weren’t so fortunate against Virginia, managing 10 points and 13 rebounds in a combined 67 minutes from their bigs.
“Our post play, it’s minute by minute, timeout by timeout,” Turgeon said. “Two of the last three games, they haven’t been very good — all of them. … I think Padgett’s played the best of all of them, so he’ll start tomorrow night. After that, I don’t know. I’ll pull it out of a hat, maybe. They’re all going to play. They have to. They have to play better.”
Neither Mosley nor Weijs seemed inclined to dwell on the latest loss, and understandably so. There was plenty of time to stew about scoring just 13 points in Maryland’s most lopsided setback of the season.
When Maryland was overrun in the second half last month at Florida State, Turgeon was irate about players laughing in the locker room afterward. There was no such frivolity Saturday, a hint of growth from a day that provided few other reasons for optimism.
“That’s a good sign,” Turgeon said. “We were all not very happy with how we performed. I expect us to bounce back and hopefully play better. I don’t know what the results will be, but hopefully we’ll play better.”
Notes: Turgeon said he plans to play at least one of his walk-on guards in the first half against the Hurricanes in an attempt to create some depth. Arnold Richmond and Jonathan Thomas are the possibilities for at least a cameo.
Maryland will honor the jersey of former guard Johnny Rhodes before Tuesday’s game. Rhodes, who played for the Terps from 1992 to 1996, ranks first in school history in steals (344), 10th in points (1,743) and 10th in assists (437).
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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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