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Weight of Maryland’s offense falls on Stoglin
Too often, guard is forced to score
PHILADELPHIA — The sounds of another Maryland loss were amplified more than usual Saturday, a function simply of playing a game in the grand basketball cathedral known as the Palestra. The noise coming from the Terrapins wasn’t any different, just amplified by the building’s ideal acoustics.
The sights, too, were sharpened in a place home to decades of college hoops lore. Well after morning turned into afternoon, one of the Terrapins’ great problems was revealed again in a 73-60 loss to Temple.
Of Maryland’s final 11 possessions, eight ended with sophomore guard Terrell Stoglin either shooting from the floor or the foul line. No one other than Stoglin scored for the Terps (12-6) in the final 8:58. The last field goal Maryland received from a player besides the ACC’s leading scorer came with 9:41 to play.
With one effective option on offense down the stretch, it was little wonder the Terps were doomed to their second straight loss. If a reliable second or third option doesn’t emerge, it won’t be the final time that narrative unfolds.
“It’s been emphasized a lot,” forward James Padgett said. “In tough situations when the game is close, we normally go to Terrell with the ball. Other guys have to step up and provide help for the team.”
As a one-man band, the Terps didn’t stand much of a chance against the smart, capable Owls with impressive backcourt depth and outstanding understanding of the game. Yet when others were involved, Maryland made a serious push to erase a double-digit deficit.
An 11-point hole early in the second half was reduced to one. Maryland, still seeking a breakthrough victory, had one in sight with eight minutes to play.
“When we came back, we were playing as a team,” coach Mark Turgeon said. “We were executing and going to different guys. Different guys were scoring, and James was really helping us during that stretch. We just have to rely on Terrell way too much. Until we become a complete team, we’re not going to beat good teams, especially on the road.”
That reality will face Maryland again and again in its final dozen regular season games. The Terps play North Carolina twice. Same goes for Virginia. And Duke, which pays a visit to Comcast Center on Wednesday.
Stoglin is a catalyst for criticism at times with on-court decisions that don’t always make the most sense. But a handful of vexing shot selections are a part of life to be tolerated with a guy with the ability to keep his team in the game when it otherwise would be buried.
He’s scored 30.8 percent of Maryland’s points this season, and managed to provide 30 percent of the Terps’ scoring in 10 of 18 games. Few others are particularly steady, including in end-game situations.
After a solid start to league play, guard Sean Mosley has six points in his past two games. Center Alex Len struggled the last four games on offense, left Saturday’s game with an ankle injury and it is uncertain if he plays Wednesday.
Inside, Padgett managed 10 points Saturday but didn’t attempt a shot in the final nine minutes.
“Everybody’s just got to step up,” Stoglin said. “We just have to be more of a team. I have to trust my teammates better, and they have to trust me.”
Other issues plagued Maryland, just as they have at times this season. The lack of offensive balance toward the end Saturday just happened to be one of the more notable facets of the setback.
“It’s very significant, but offense doesn’t win games; defense does,” guard Pe’Shon Howard said. “Even if we didn’t score, if we stop them, they don’t score. That’s what coach has been trying to tell us all year. He says the same things over and over — ‘You have to grow up and do the right things on defense.’ We had a few miscues that we can’t have.”
Toss in the absence of help for Stoglin down the stretch, and the Terps find themselves in a new position for this season: trying to end a losing streak.
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About the Author
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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