Tag Archive | "Gary Williams"

Turgeon Says Maryland Improving After Duke Loss…Trouble Is He’s Right

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Turgeon Says Maryland Improving After Duke Loss…Trouble Is He’s Right

Posted on 26 January 2012 by Glenn Clark

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — It was a fitting night for the Comcast Center floor to be dedicated as Gary Williams Court Wednesday.

Fitting because the atmosphere on campus at the University of Maryland was reminiscent to many nights during the 22 years Williams patrolled the sidelines for the Terrapins before retiring. The stands at the school’s nearly ten year old arena were absolutely rocking with Maryland students and no seats to be had. Students began chanting before the game and remained a factor almost until the game was over.

Unfortunately for the team inherited by Mark Turgeon, the performance on the newly dedicated floor was also fitting for a team that hasn’t really been good enough since Williams left.

The Terps hung in against the eighth ranked Duke University Blue Devils for much of the game, even leading 47-46 midway through the second half. But the Devils (17-3, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) would double up the Terps (12-7, 2-3 ACC) the rest of the way en route to a 74-61 victory. Sophomore guard Terrell Stoglin would again lead the Terps in scoring (16 points), but the Terps would again fail to offer significant help on the offensive end (guard Pe’Shon Howard was next with just ten points). Struggles from beyond the arc (4-13) and the free throw line (11-21) continued to doom a team that lacks enough ability elsewhere to overcome such struggles.

A third straight overall loss for the Terps, it was eerily similar to the defeats suffered at both Florida State University at Temple University last week. They played well enough for a good stretch of the game but their problems ultimately caught up to them against an opponent of either similar or superior ability. They’re pretty good…just not quite good enough.

Mired in a funk after back to back conference wins, Turgeon attempted to put a positive spin on the loss postgame.

“I thought our team battled well and think we had a game plan and we stuck to it and it kept us around” Turgeon said. “We’re getting better. If you could have been in Puerto Rico (for the 5-Hour Energy Puerto Rico Tip-Off), you would have never thought that we could play like we’re playing right now. So, we’re getting there.”

It sounds a lot like coach speak, but it’s actually quite honest. Of course, that’s really the biggest problem facing this Maryland team as constructed.

The difficulty with judging Turgeon’s first season in College Park is that struggles were to be expected. Even after getting Howard back from a foot injury that cost him the first nine games of the season and adding freshman C Alex Len after serving a ten game suspension for eligibility issues, this Maryland team remains uncomfortably thin. Their big bodies aren’t big enough to neutralize talented frontcourts (23 points and 12 rebounds for Mason Plumlee Wednesday night a glaring example) and none of their players in the backcourt have a dangerous enough inside-outside game to truly open things up for anyone else.

They’re trying to win without really having the horses to win. Perhaps that’s where Turgeon deserves the most credit.

The new coach has done everything he can to get players to stick to a game plan, improve defensively and get after the basketball. In losses to Alabama and Iona in San Juan, Maryland did very little of what they needed to do in order to win and were on the wrong end of blowouts.

Over the course of the last nine days, the Terrapins have shown in stretches that they can do all of the little things they need to do to win. But in the stretches where those good habits have disappeared, better teams have been able to walk away with victories in three games.

Turgeon attempted to sum it up after the loss.

“There are still four-minute stretches where we aren’t making a field goal, and that is not going to beat good teams. That happens, when we’re good offensively, we’re good. But we have stretches where we don’t make free throws too. It wears you out and you can’t keep up. In the end, our defense wasn’t quite good enough and rebounding wasn’t quite good enough, neither was our free throw shooting. But our effort was tremendous and I’m really proud of the guys.”

This is the issue. Maryland isn’t a “bad” team. They’re just a team that isn’t quite good enough to be able to win games against good teams. Five such games (two against North Carolina, two against Virginia and the trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium) remain on the schedule, and the other six conference games aren’t cupcakes.

They ARE better. It’s just that there’s not enough time left in this season for that progress to truly equal results. Maryland fans hope to have something to hang their hat on about this team this season, but it’s not likely to come.

Turgeon was going to need time to fully show progress and he still will. A stunning upset of Duke might have been enough to garner favor for until the 2012-2013 season tipped off. Similarly a stunning upset of UNC would do the same.

Unfortunately for Maryland fans, those achievements aren’t likely to be realized. It doesn’t mean Turgeon hasn’t done a nice job in his first season.

They’re better. They’re just not quite good enough.

-G

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Maryland-Duke Postgame Notes

Posted on 26 January 2012 by WNST Staff

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Postgame notes following Maryland’s 74-61 loss to Duke Wednesday at Comcast Center.

Tipping Off: Maryland lost its third straight to fall to 12-7 and 2-3 in the ACC, while Duke improved to 17-3 and 5-1 in the conference … Duke has won four straight and leads the all-time series 111-61 … the loss also snapped an eight-game home winning streak for the Terps.

`Gary Williams Court’ Dedicated: Former head coach Gary Williams was on hand prior to the game for the dedication of Gary Williams Court. Williams’ signature is now on the Comcast Center floor in front of the visiting bench, and across the court from the home bench. A few highlights from Williams’ 22-year career at Maryland:

  • Williams retired as the winningest coach in school history with a 461-252 record.
  • He took Maryland to two Final Fours, including the NCAA national championship in 2002.
  • Maryland made 14 NCAA Tournament appearances, reaching the Sweet Sixteen seven times. The Terps made 11 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances from 1994-2004.
  • Williams was national coach of the year in 2002, and ACC coach of the year in 2002 and 2010.
  • At the time he retired, Williams was fifth among active coaches at the times with a 668-330 (.637) overall record in 33 seasons.3PT FG% Defense: Duke came into the game ranked first in the ACC and seventh nationally in 3-point field goal percentage at .409. Maryland held the Blue Devils to 3-of-16 shooting (.188), a season low. Though Maryland’s two previous opponents shot better than 40 percent from 3PT, six of the seven before that had been held under 30 percent.

    Balanced Attack: Maryland had a balanced scoring attack in the first half, as eight of nine players who saw the floor scored. Sean Mosley and Ashton Pankey were the high scorers with six apiece. Alex Len was the lone Terp not to score in the half but had a bucket in the second half.

    Pankey Gets Start: Ashton Pankey drew his first start since the Radford game (12/23/11) and delivered a solid performance. The redshirt freshman had eight points on eight rebounds in 23 minutes of action. His five offensive rebounds were one shy of a season high.

    Stoglin Strong In Second Half: Despite scoring just four points in the first half, Terrell Stoglin tallied 12 in the second to finish with 16. Stoglin had multiple assists for the fourth straight game, finishing with three. He also had two rebounds and didn’t commit a turnover in 33 minutes.

    First-Half Notes: The teams were near even on the boards, with Maryland holding a slight edge, 18-17 … Duke held a 22-16 edge on points in the paint and a 12-8 edge in bench points … the Terps committed just four turnovers and Duke committed just three … Duke assisted on nine of its 14 field goals, while Maryland had four assists on 11 field goals.

    Second-Half Notes: Duke held a 19-13 edge on the boards and an 18-10 advantage in the paint … the Terps had 10 2nd-chance points to seven for the Blue Devils.

    Tidbits: Maryland used a starting lineup of Pe’Shon Howard, Terrell Stoglin, Sean Mosley, James Padgett and Ashton Pankey for the first time this season … the Terps had their first sellout of the season, with 17,950 in attendance … afterAlex Len’s jumper put Maryland ahead 45-42, Duke used an 11-2 run over 3:57 to take a lead it didn’t relinquish …Pe’Shon Howard had a season-high two 3-pointers … Maryland’s largest lead was 8 (1st half, 13:16), while Duke’s was 13 (2nd half, 00:34).

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Maryland Hosts Duke Wednesday After Gary Williams Court Dedication

Posted on 25 January 2012 by WNST Staff

#8/6 Duke (16-3, 4-1) at Maryland (12-6, 2-2)
Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012 | 9 p.m. | Comcast Center
ESPN / ESPN3 | Terrapin Sports Radio Network

Maryland puts an eight-game home winning streak on the line in a battle with 6th-ranked Duke at Comcast Center. The Terrapins are tied for fifth place in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 2-2 record, having won both games at home and lost both games on the road. The Blue Devils are ranked sixth in the coaches’ poll, eighth in the AP poll and are in a three-way tie with NC State and Florida State atop the league with a 4-1 mark. Both the Wolfpack and Seminoles have beaten the Terps this season.

Tonight’s game marks the public ceremony for the dedication of the Comcast Center court for longtime men’s head coach Gary Williams. Pregame ceremonies are scheduled to begin around 8:45 p.m. Tipoff is scheduled for 9:06 p.m.

Maryland will be attempting to snap a three-game losing streak to Duke, having dropped all three games with the Blue Devils last season (including the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament). The Terrapins’ last win over the Blue Devils was a 79-72 triumph on 3/3/2010 in Comcast Center. Duke has also won nine of the last 10 in the series.

Senior guard Sean Mosley is closing on a number of milestones in his Maryland career. Long noted for his all-around versatility, Mosley could become one of only eight Terps in school history to record 1,000 points (now with 960), 500 rebounds (now with 513), 200 assists (now with 232) and 120 steals (now with 132). A full chart of the previous seven players to have this combination is on page 3.

Sophomore guard Terrell Stoglin continues to lead the ACC in scoring with a 21.2 points-per-game average. Stoglin now has a league-best 13 games with at least 20 points, with the Terrapins going 9-4 in those games. He ranked fifth in the nation in scoring through Sunday’s games.

Scouting the Blue Devils

Duke, the sixth-ranked team in the country, is 16-3 overall and 4-1 in the ACC… The Blue Devils are coming off their first conference loss, a 76-73 home defeat to Florida State that snapped a 45-game home winning streak.

Freshman Austin Rivers earned his fourth ACC Rookie of the Week honor last week and leads the team in scoring at 14.4 ppg… Rivers is one of three Blue Devils shooting at least 40 percent from 3-point range – Rivers is hitting at a .400 mark, junior guard Andre Dawkins is shooting .419 and junior forward Ryan Kelly is shooting .460.

Duke leads the ACC and in field-goal percentage (.492) and 3-point field-goal percentage (.409), marks that respectively rank 13th and seventh nationally… The Blue Devils are also first in the ACC with 8.2 3-point FGs per game – in addition to Rivers, Dawkins and Kelly, junior guard Seth Curry has made 32 of 83 (.386) 3-pointers this season.

Those four, along with junior forward Mason Plumlee, are all averaging double figures in scoring… Plumlee is shooting 61 percent from the field, averaging 11.2 ppg and 9.3 rebounds per game, which ranks third in the conference.

Upcoming

The Terrapins returns home for two games, playing host to Duke on Wednesday, 1/25 on the night when Gary Williams Court is dedicated and Virginia Tech on Saturday, 1/28…

Following a trip to Miami on 2/1, the Terps then return home to face nationally ranked North Carolina on 2/4…

The Terps will then play five of their next seven on the road… Maryland has only three home games and six road contests in February.

Gary Williams Court

University President Wallace Loh announced in September 2011 the floor at Comcast Center would be dedicated in Gary Williams’ name. The unveiling occurred at a private event on Monday, with the public unveiling coming in pregame ceremonies on Wednesday.

  • Williams retired from Maryland with a 461-252 record in 22 seasons, as the winningest coach in school history.
  • He took Maryland to two Final Fours, including the NCAA national championship in 2002.
  • Maryland made 14 NCAA Tournament appearances, reaching the Sweet Sixteen seven times. Eleven of those trips came in consecutive seasons, ranging from 1994 through 2004.
  • Williams was national coach of the year in 2002 and ACC Coach of the Year in 2002 and 2010.
  • When he retired, Williams was fifth among active coaches at the time with a 668-330 (.637) record overall in 33 seasons.
  • Williams has been involved with a number of development initiatives across campus, including serving as co-chair of the scholarship portion of the Great Expectations campaign.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 23 January 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: NBA-Charlotte Bobcats @ Washington Wizards (Wednesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Wizards @ Houston Rockets (Friday 8pm from Houston live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Wizards @ Charlotte Bobcats (Saturday 7pm from Charlotte live on Comcast SportsNet), Chicago Bulls @ Washington Wizards (Monday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet/NBA TV); Women’s College Basketball: Virginia Tech @ Maryland (Thursday 7pm Comcast Center); Golf: PGA Tour Farmers Insurance Open (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel, Saturday & Sunday 3pm live on CBS. All golf from La Jolla, CA); Monster Jam (Friday-Sunday Verizon Center); Boxing: Friday Night Fights-Ruslan Provodnikov vs. David Torres (Friday 9pm from Airway Heights, WA live on ESPN2); High School Basketball: Parkville @ Perry Hall (Wednesday 6:30pm), Perry Hall @ Kenwood (Friday 7pm)

10. Miranda Lambert (Thursday 7:30pm 1st Mariner Arena); Matt Nathanson (Sunday 6:30pm Rams Head Live); Marc Broussard (Monday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Big Head Todd and the Monsters (Friday 8pm 9:30 Club); Ryan Adams/Jason Isbell (Tuesday 7:30pm Strathmore); Widespread Panic (Tuesday/Wednesday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); FUEL (Saturday 1:30pm Sandy Point State Park)

I feel as though I really shouldn’t admit how much I enjoy this song “Faster” by Matt Nathanson. It’s just that I can’t help it…

Ditto for “Rocksteady” by Marc Broussard…

Ryan Adams has made about a million songs in his life. None top this…

I saw FUEL like five times between 2000-2001. Make fun all you want, but you know you’ll be singing along to this…

9. Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge (Friday-Saturday Sandy Point State Park); Baltimore Winter Restaurant Week (Tuesday-Sunday); “Luck” premieres on HBO (Sunday 9pm); 50/50” and “Real Steel” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday)

You know who’s part of Restaurant Week? A spot I can’t name (because they’re not a sponsor) but who makes the best salad in Charm City…

You know who it is. And you know it’s fantastic.

Also, did everyone see 50/50? I thought it was one of the best movies of 2011 (Clip NSFW)…

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Maryland Steps Out of ACC to Visit Temple Saturday

Posted on 20 January 2012 by WNST Staff

Maryland (12-5) at Temple (12-5)
Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012 | 11 a.m. | The Palestra
ESPNU | Terrapin Sports Radio Network

Maryland hits the road for a Saturday-morning test against Temple at the storied Palestra. The Terrapins and Owls come into today’s game with identical 12-5 records. The Terps are attempting to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time this season.

The game is the last non-conference test in the regular season for Maryland. The Terps are 10-3 so far outside the Atlantic Coast Conference, including a 2-2 mark in neutral-site games. Today’s matchup with Temple is Maryland’s first non-conference matchup of the year.

Sophomore guard Terrell Stoglin led Maryland with 27 points and four assists on Tuesday at Florida State. Stoglin remains the leading scorer in the Atlantic Coast Conference at 21.2 points per game and was sixth in the nation in scoring coming into the game at FSU. Stoglin has an ACC-best 12 games with at least 20 points and is the only player in the league thus far with a pair of 30-point games.

Stoglin is third in the ACC in 3-point percentage (.413) and second in 3-pointers per game (2.6). He has made 29 of 61 (.475) in the last seven games for the Terrapins. His 45 this season are already fourth on the list for sophomores at Maryland. Greivis Vasquez had 64 for the Terps as a sophomore in 2008.

Senior Sean Mosley is closing on a number of milestones in his versatile and memorable Maryland career. Against Florida State, he became the 40th Terrapin in history with 500 career rebounds. He is 43 points away from becoming the 50th Terrapin in history with 1,000 career points and is 50 minutes away from becoming the 21st Terrapin to play 3,000 minutes in his career.Scouting the Owls

Temple improved to 12-5 overall and 2-2 in the Atlantic-10 with its 76-70 home win over La Salle on Wednesday… The Owls come in at No. 24 in the most recently released RPI and have a 4-1 record at home, with the sole loss coming to Dayton on Jan. 7.

A trio of guards account for a little more than 63 percent of Temple’s scoring: senior Ramone Moore leads the team with 17.0 ppg, junior Khalif Wyatt is averaging 16.4 ppg and senior Juan Fernandez is contributing 11.5 ppg… All three rank in the top 10 of the A-10 in scoring.

Wyatt has a 21.0 ppg average over the last four games, all conference contests, and is shooting 42.1 percent from 3PT this season… 6-foot-6 junior forward Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson is the fourth Owl in the starting lineup averaging double figures at 10.1 ppg…

In the absence of Michael Eric, a 6-foot-11 forward who was averaging 11.3 rpg and 10.5 ppg but has missed the last 13 games with an injury, the Owls have turned to redshirt freshman Anthony Lee in the starting lineup… Lee is averaging 7.1 rpg, 5.9 ppg and has a team-high 31 blocks…

Temple ranks second in the A-10 in 3FG% at .392… In addition to Wyatt shoting 42.1 percent, Aaron Brown is shooting 40.4 percent and Fernandez is shooting 38.7 percent from long range.

Upcoming

The Terrapins return home for two games the next week, playing host to Duke on Wednesday, 1/25 on the night when Gary Williams Court is dedicated and Virginia Tech on Saturday, 1/28…

Maryland has only three home games and six road contests in the month of February.

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Maryland Faces Tough Test Tuesday Night at FSU

Posted on 17 January 2012 by WNST Staff

Maryland (12-4, 2-1) at Florida State (11-6, 2-1)
Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012 | 9 p.m. | Tucker Center, Tallahassee, Fla.
ESPNU | Terrapin Sports Radio Network

  • Maryland takes the momentum off back-to-back wins in the Atlantic Coast Conference to Tallahassee for a Tuesday-night matchup with Florida State. The game matches teams with identical 2-1 records in the league standings, part of a five-way tie behind league-leading Duke. Both the Terrapins and Seminoles have won their last two straight.
  • The Terrapins are playing their second game in three days, as they beat Georgia Tech at home, 61-50, on Sunday afternoon. The Terps were on a plane at 4:30 p.m. Monday on the way to Tallahassee for the 9 p.m. tipoff against FSU. Maryland faces a similar turnaround in mid-February when it plays at home against Boston College (2/16) and heads to Virginia for a 2/18 afternoon game.
  • Maryland has won nine of its last 10 games, with the lone loss in that stretch being a 79-74 defeat at NC State on 1/8 in the ACC opener. Prior to the loss to the Wolfpack, the Terrapins had won seven straight. The Terps have turned up the defensive pressure of late, holding their last eight opponents to .403 shooting from the floor, a .289 mark from 3-point range and a 63.9 ppg scoring average.
  • Senior guard Sean Mosley had an outstanding outing Sunday in the win over Georgia Tech. He scored 16 of his game-high 18 points in the second half, including the final seven Maryland points. His clutch 3-pointer with 3:08 left came after Tech had pulled within four points. Mosley went 10-for-10 at the free-throw line against the Yellow Jackets, marking the 19th time in school history a Terp had been perfect from the line with at least 10 attempts.
  • Free throws have been increasingly important to Maryland of late. The Terrapins have outscored their opponents at the line 13 times in 16 games and are 12-1 in those 13 games.

    Scouting the Seminoles

  • After a 90-57 win over then-No. 3 North Carolina on Saturday, Florida State has an 11-6 overall record including 2-1 in the ACC and 9-1 at home…
  • The Seminoles are a strong defensive team, as they lead the conference in field goal percentage defense (.361), blocks (6.8 bpg) and steals (8.8 spg)… Though North Carolina leads the ACC in scoring offense averaging 85.2 ppg, Florida State held the Tar Heels to 57 points on .373 shooting.
  • Deividas Dulkys led the way in Florida State’s win over North Carolina by pouring in 32 points on 12-of-14 shooting, earning ACC Player of the Week honors… The senior guard knocked down 8 of 10 3-pointers and also had four steals as the Seminoles forced 22 Tar Heel turnovers.
  • Leading scorer Michael Snaer is averaging 13.2 ppg and had 17 against North Carolina.
  • Bernard James, a 6-foot-10 senior forward, is averaging 10.1 ppg, 9.1 rpg and is shooting .573 from the field… James’ 2.3 blocks per game rank fourth in the ACC and he is third in the conference in offensive rebounding at 3.5 rpg, behind James Padgett and North Carolina’s Tyler Zeller…
  • 6-foot-11 forward/center Xavier Gibson joins James in the FSU starting frontcourt and is chipping in 7.6 ppg and 5.3 rpg.

    Upcoming

    Maryland faces its last non-conference matchup of the regular season on Saturday, 1/21 against Temple in The Palestra…

    The Terrapins return home for two games the next week, playing host to Duke on Wednesday, 1/25 on the night when Gary Williams Court is dedicated and Virginia Tech on Saturday, 1/28…

    Maryland has only three home games and six road contests in the month of February.

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Maryland Tries to Make It Back to Back With Visit From Jackets Sunday

Posted on 15 January 2012 by WNST Staff

Georgia Tech (8-8, 1-1) at Maryland (11-4, 1-1)
Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012 | 4 p.m. | Comcast Center
ACC Network-WNUV 54 locally in Baltimore
Terrapin Sports Radio Network

Maryland plays host to Georgia Tech in the second of back-to-back home games early in the Atlantic Coast Conference season. The Terrapins and Yellow Jackets are in a pack of league teams in the middle of the standings at 1-1. Each team won their most recent outing with Maryland winning at home 70-64 on Wednesday over Wake Forest and Georgia Tech winning Wednesday at NC State, 82-71.

The Terrapins are finishing a run of home games that had them playing only two games away from Comcast Center over a long period. The Terps played at Verizon Center in downtown Washington, D.C., in a win over Notre Dame on Dec. 4, 2011, and traveled to NC State on Jan. 8, 2012 to open their ACC schedule. Surrounding those two trips, Maryland played 10 home games, and comes into this afternoon’s matchup with the Yellow Jackets with a 9-1 mark at home this season. The schedule evens out over the next 1-1/2 months as eight of Maryland’s next 13 games are away from Comcast Center.

Maryland has won eight of its last nine games in a stretch dating back to the 78-71 win over Notre Dame on Dec. 4. During that time, the Terrapins have been playing considerably more of a Mark Turgeon-style by concentrating on defense and rebounding. Maryland has held opponents to just 67.3 points per game and .420 shooting from the floor. The Terps have held a plus-8.3 per game edge in rebounding and have out-boarded eight of their nine opponents in that streak.

Maryland is also taking strong advantage of the addition of sophomore point guard Pe’Shon Howard and redshirt freshman center Alex Len. Howard leads the team with a 4.8 assists-per-game average and has been on the floor an average of 31.8 minutes per game since his return. In his five games, Len has missed only eight shots from the floor (.729, 21-for-29), averaged 11.8 points per game, grabbed 7.4 rebounds per game and blocked 2.4 shots each outing.

Junior forward James Padgett continues to lead the ACC in offensive rebounding and is sixth in the nation in that category. Among his 96 rebounds in 15 games this season, 63 have come off the offensive glass (66 percent). Padgett had 11 points and eight boards (six offensive) in 19 minutes on Wednesday in the win over Wake Forest.

Sophomore guard Terrell Stoglin led the Terrapins in Wednesday’s win over Wake Forest with 20 points. It marked the 11th time in 15 games this season that Stoglin has hit the 20-point plateau. He remains the ACC’s leading scorer with a 21.3 points per game average. Stoglin has 38 3-pointers this season, already tied for sixth with Duane Simpkins (1994) on the sophomore list of 3FG. Greivis Vasquez hit 64 treys in 2008 to hold the school record by a sophomore.

The matchup with the Yellow Jackets is the first of two this season. Maryland returns the home game in a Feb. 25 trip to Atlanta. Maryland, which holds a 38-34 edge in the all-time series with Georgia Tech, has won 10 of the last 11 in the series. Maryland had a nine-game winning streak against the Yellow Jackets snapped in the 2010 ACC Tournament in a 69-64 loss before winning in Atlanta, 74-63, in last season’s only meeting between the teams.

Scouting the Yellow Jackets

Georgia Tech is 8-8 with a 1-1 mark in the ACC after picking up an 82-71 win at NC State on Wednesday… The Yellow Jackets had lost four consecutive prior to the win over NC State, dropping games to Mercer, Fordham, Alabama and Duke… Brian Gregory is in his first season as head coach after spending the previous eight seasons at Dayton.

Glen Rice Jr., a 6-foot-5 junior guard, is averaging a team-best 14.4 ppg and is shooting 51.8 percent from the field, which ranks fifth in the ACC… Rice has come off the bench the last three games and poured in 28 points vs. Duke and 22 against the Wolfpack, making 7 of 10 shots at NC State as Tech shot 51 percent as a team…

Rice was one of five Yellow Jackets to score in double figures in the win over NC State – guards Mfon Udofia (17), Brandon Reed (12) and Jason Morris (10), along with center Daniel Miller (10) helped make up a balanced scoring attack… Udofia leads the team with 40 assists and ranks second with 11.2 ppg, while Miller is averaging a team-best 6.8 rpg and ranks second in the league with 45 blocks…

Georgia Tech is one of the better teams on the boards in the conference, outrebounding its opponents by an average margin of 6.6 rpg, trailing just North Carolina (plus-12) and NC State (plus-6.7)… The Yellow Jackets are also third in blocked shots (5.7 bpg) and fourth in field goal percentage defense (.385).

Upcoming

Maryland hits the road for its next two games, having to face a tight turnaround after the Georgia Tech game on Sunday. The Terrapins will practice Monday, then fly to Tallahassee that night in preparation for a 9 p.m. tipoff Tuesday at Florida State… Maryland faces its last non-conference matchup of the regular season on Saturday, 1/21 against Temple in The Palestra…The Terrapins return home for two games the next week, playing host to Duke on Wednesday, 1/25 on the night when Gary Williams Court is dedicated and Virginia Tech on Saturday, 1/28…
Maryland has only three home games and six road contests in the month of February.

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Turgeon Continues to Push Right Buttons as Terps Improve

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Turgeon Continues to Push Right Buttons as Terps Improve

Posted on 31 December 2011 by Glenn Clark

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — As University of Maryland basketball coach Mark Turgeon closed his final press conference of 2011, he slipped in a comment that told a bigger story.

After the Terrapins’ 75-63 win over Samford University Saturday afternoon at Comcast Center, I asked Turegon if he felt his team had improved as much over the last two games as he had expected. The Terps (9-3) played just their second game this season with their full complement of healthy scholarship players in the win over the Bulldogs (3-9).

Turgeon’s answer made a lot of sense at first.

“I thought we really played well against Albany (in a win Wednesday night), I wasn’t certain that we would beat them to be honest but we really played at times. Today we took a big step.”

Sure they did. Maryland lead by as many as 20 points in their win over their Southern Conference foe and Turgeon was able to put in all of his walk-on players in the game’s closing minutes. As I considered writing a column about the team’s improvement over the last ten days, I felt as though the coach had given me a very usable quote. But then he threw in a curveball.

“If we learn how to practice better we can keep taking these steps. I threw them out yesterday in the morning and brought them back last night. Hopefully they will know that we won’t take bad practices. I have high expectations for this team.”

Maybe you should re-read that. I’ll wait.

You read it correctly both times. Turgeon called a 9:30am practice Friday morning (G Terrell Stoglin told us players had to be on the floor at 9:15am) and then proceeded to send his players home after being frustrated by their effort. Players guessed they weren’t on the floor a full 30 minutes before being sent off. Turgeon then forced players to scramble to get back to the arena for a 7pm practice to get a better effort out of his group.

You can imagine a surprise Friday night practice wouldn’t sit well with a group of college students.

“We all had plans” Stoglin said Saturday while shaking his head.

But here’s the thing, instead of bitching and moaning and whining and complaining (or as Turgeon likes to say, “saying boo”), the players appeared to understand the reasoning behind Turgeon’s decision and handled it well.

“It wasn’t too surprising” G Pe’Shon Howard said. “The two plays leading up to (being sent home), he just went off. I definitely saw it. I take partially the responsibility for that, being the point guard I’ve got to be a leader.”

Howard fully understood the reason why improvement is necessary in practice.

“It just wasn’t acceptable for a team that’s trying to get to the NCAA Tournament. You see how our conference is, we really could do well. We have to bring it every day in practice if we want to be good, we just can’t do it on the court in games. You saw the potential we have today.”

Howard said stopping practice was nothing new to him, as former coach Gary Williams would regularly kick players out of practice. But Williams would have players meet together and talk to the assistant coaches, then bring the group back to the floor without leaving the arena.

That wasn’t the case Friday, as players faced an entirely new schedule after their lackluster effort in the morning.

Turgeon has been trying to push buttons all season, including all but benching F/C Ashton Pankey for the team’s win over Notre Dame in the BB&T Classic and at times offering public criticism of players during press conferences.

Just a day earlier, Turgeon had told reporters that he considered benching Stoglin for the team’s Wednesday night win over the University of Albany out of frustration about Stoglin’s defensive effort. Stoglin promised the coach his defense would improve and Turgeon was happy with the effort he received from his leading scorer.

Once again, Stoglin did not appear to have an issue with Turgeon’s criticism.

“When (Turgeon) told me I wasn’t going to start, it just showed me that I’m not too good or anything” the sophomore guard said Saturday after the Samford win. “You’ve got to always play hard, so I decided I’m going to play defense from now on. It’s a challenge. If that’s what it takes to win, I want to do it.”

It was a seemingly mature response that would make you believe the coach is really getting to his players.

Stoglin could have said something along the lines of “Bench me? I’m the only good offensive player you have!” He could have tried to show his coach up during the Albany game by playing better defense but not trying as hard on the offensive end. We’ve seen plenty of talented athletes alter their play in an attempt to send a message to a coach over the years.

That doesn’t appear to be the case for Maryland.

Instead of whining and moping up and down the floor Saturday, the Terrapins responded with one of their more complete efforts. Stoglin was outstanding again, nailing six of eight attempts from beyond the arc en route to a game high 24 points. Freshman C Alex Len reached double figures for the second time in as many career games and added seven rebounds. Even struggling freshman G Nick Faust got hot, drilling three of four attempts from outside on his way to a 13 point, four assist performance.

I guess you can Turgeon has been pushing the right buttons.

It’s worth pointing out that these buttons are easier to push when the team is winning. With just a visit from Cornell Tuesday night remaining before Maryland opens Atlantic Coast Conference play, it can be assumed that Turgeon will have to figure out a way to reach his players in more trying times before the season ends. Maryland could well find themselves in the midst of a three or four game losing streak or having suffered a 20-30 point defeat at the hands of one of the conference’s powers (Duke, North Carolina) and it might not be quite as easy for Turgeon to get a rational response from his kids.

But right now, it’s working. And for a first year head coach in a difficult situation, it’s hard to not be impressed.

-G

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Roar Restored, Ambrose Easy Choice as WNST Local Sports Person of the Year

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Roar Restored, Ambrose Easy Choice as WNST Local Sports Person of the Year

Posted on 22 December 2011 by Glenn Clark

There are only a few qualifications for WNST’s annual “Local Sports Person of the Year” award.

First, the person must be local. They must be an athlete, coach or front office member for a pro, college or high school team in the state of Maryland. Individual sport athletes who represent the state of Maryland also qualify.

Second, the person must stand out from other people over the course of the 12 calendar months. The accomplishments of that individual must be comparable to if not greater than the accomplishments of others in the area.

And finally, that person’s year must stand out from other years during their tenure/career in the area.

With those qualifications in mind it wasn’t difficult to determine candidates for the honor in 2011. Baltimore Ravens LB Terrell Suggs & RB Ray Rice, Former University of Maryland Terrapins basketball coach Gary Williams, University of Maryland lacrosse coach John Tillman and Kentucky Derby winning Shackleford trainer Graham Motion all seemed to be quality candidates.

In the end, determining a winner wasn’t particularly difficult.

Rob Ambrose arrived as the head football coach at Towson University with an introductory press conference in January 2009. At that introductory press conference, Ambrose boldly called for everyone connected to the Tigers to get on board with a program that hadn’t finished with more than seven overall wins or an above .500 record in conference play since the turn of the century.

“This is for everyone in the room and everyone watching and everyone that is going to read about this in the newspaper. This is not about me – not at all. It’s about the players in this room and it’s about all of you. It’s about all of the people outside this room – the community and the faculty and the fans and the students and the rest of the state that hasn’t figured it out yet. It’s our job to take this program and make it the program that we know it can be and know that it is supposed to be and it’s about time. So, tell your friends and your neighbors and your buddies. Call them all up. They’re invited. They’re all invited to this beautiful new house (Johnny Unitas® Stadium) and let’s turn this thing around and win some ball games.”

Through his first two seasons, any progress made in the football program wasn’t particularly apparent to the general public. Ambrose’s Tigers compiled a 3-19 record over those trying seasons and it was hard to imagine Ambrose was really making progress at his alma mater.

But something strange happened when I bumped into Rob Ambrose at CAA Media Day this summer at M&T Bank Stadium. Ambrose (and everyone around the Towson football program) was talking about word they hadn’t used much during the two previous seasons.

That word was “winning”. It had nothing to do with Charlie Sheen. I’ll let Coach Ambrose describe it himself…

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terps

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Tough Times for Transitioning Terps

Posted on 01 December 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

 

It’s simply not easy being a Terps fan these days. From the maiden voyage of the SS Randy Edsall which has been mercifully docked for the season a tattered shell of its modest former self to the cutting of 8 sports to the anticipation of a bumpy road ahead for the basketball team, the fans are up in arms and AD Kevin Anderson is likely beginning to feel a bit of heat with little to redeem his brief tenure thus far yet plenty of fodder to indict with. 

 

That said, the thought that Mark Turgeon would have an easier transition in filling the shoes of the legend Gary Williams than Randy Edsall would have in filling Ralph Friedgen’s old post was all buy unfathomable just 7 or so months ago. Yet that is seemingly just what has happened.

 

Edsall’s win/loss record is one thing, but the fact that he has done little to endear himself to the fans or media stands in stark opposition to the school’s proclamation that Friedgen’s failure to attract ticket buyers was at the heart of his dismissal. To that end, Edsall is failing miserably.

 

Turgeon on the other hand saved Nick Faust, the biggest remaining recruit in the Gary Williams cache and then quickly went about stocking the cupboard for 2012. As the Terps’ devout and astute fan base has taken notice, Turgeon will get a pass this season. Turgeon will get a pass that is; as long as he simply says and does the “right things” to appease a fan base yearning to believe that he can lead this team back to glory.

 

Conceding that notion however, the emotion of a season and the game-to-game action of the schedule can certainly change the tenor and the expectations of the fans in a hurry. Thus far it would seem that the Terps have shown themselves to have scant enough talent to stand much of a chance on most nights against “big 6” competition and therefore as long as their efforts look genuine and their improvement marked throughout the season, fans will be both summarily appeased and encouraged.

 

For me, while acceptable, all of the above became much more painful as I, as a fan, came to grips with the Terps place in the relative basketball universe over the two days of action that was the 2011 ACC/Big 10 Challenge. As the ACC was plodding their way to an 8 games to 4 loss in the challenge, a couple of things became painfully evident.

 

First is that the basketball luster of the once proud ACC is fading quickly (a realization made all the more difficult as fans once proud of the conference’s basketball identity and legacy have been summarily reminded at every turn that football is still way out front in the race to drive inter-collegiate politics). What’s more, this means that our hopes, as fans, for the basketball credibility of the conference now ride on the hated Tarheels and Blue Devils. If pulling for those two are requirements for being a good ACC fan, count me out for now and simply color me disappointed and moderately disgusted.

 

The second realization, one both comforting and disturbing, is that Carolina and Duke are both soft, neither looks much like a safe bet to get past the sweet 16 and it shouldn’t be a shock if someone was able to step up and steal the conference this season. It would be a shock however if that somebody was Maryland, for now I’ll call it anyone’s guess.

 

The ACC though in general is sort of up for grabs, in both football and basketball. The conference expansion that was supposed to bring football credibility to the conference while also bringing basketball credibility to the football powers it imported has been a miserable failure on both fronts. The ACC is still an afterthought in the BCS title picture, the perennial BCS powers it brought in are now fighting it out for the one automatic berth to the BCS that the ACC had already and now from a basketball standpoint the watered down ACC might be the 3rd or 4th best hoops conference in America this season…and it hasn’t happened all at once.

 

As the ACC prepares to absorb Pitt and the recently scandalous Syracuse it seems to indicate their belief that the basketball side of the operation needs a bit of a jump-start too. Recent history suggests the foreseeable outcome isn’t necessarily the likely one.

 

In both football and basketball, the ACC is absolutely ripe for the picking and Maryland has at least acted over the last 10 months or so like they intend to be in on the harvest. Now it’s just a matter of trusting the guys who’ll build the ladders to get it, and hoping they be able to get them high enough.

 

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