COLLEGE PARK – If you weren’t paying very close attention, you might have missed Mark Turgeon walking out of the tunnel at the Comcast Center for the first time as Maryland’s head coach prior to leading his Terrapins to a 72-61 win over UNC-Wilmington. There were no dimmed lights, songs, and certainly no fist pump. Mark Turgeon’s first regular season game in College Park was fairly understated.
As we’re starting to figure out, that seems to suit him just fine.
“I don’t want to sound like I didn’t care, but it was just another game,” Turgeon said. “I’ve been doing this for a long time. It felt really routine for me. I know what I’m up against, and I’m just trying to make guys better, make our team better. I was never worried about winning or losing the game. I just wanted us to get better.”
This was a close game early. Both teams looked rusty and displayed their inexperience. The Terps pulled out to a five point lead right before half courtesy of a three point play from Terrell Stoglin. They came out after halftime and went on a nice little run, going up 14 at one point, and the Terps had the game relatively in hand for pretty much the entire second half despite the Seahawks cutting the lead to six with under two minutes left in the game.
Coach Turgeon put his stamp on the team from the very first tip as he kept Terrell Stoglin on the bench for the first few minutes of the game. The two have seemingly clahsed a bit throughout the offseason over Stoglin’s lack of defense, but Turgeon gave him credit after the game for playing well on the defensive side of the ball.
“Guys have to do things a certain way,” Turgeon said. “It’s nothing big. Terrell played his tail off. He guarded. He was in his stance, he was in position. The things that happened that caused him not to be in the starting lineup today allowed him to play the way he did. He was going to play. It’s nothing big. It’s just part of coaching and our relationship. The kid really played well tonight.”
Stoglin acknowledged that playing for Turgeon rather than Gary Williams was difficult, but he seems ready and willing to improve as a player under his new boss.
“It’s a challenge, but it’s something that I’m going to overcome throughout the year,” Stoglin said. “It’s something that me and coach are going to work on throughout the year.”