COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Before opening his first season as the new basketball coach at the University of Maryland, Mark Turgeon took the microphone at the school’s annual “Maryland Madness” event to address the Comcast Center crowd.
At the end of his address, Turgeon prepared to pass the mic to the only four year senior on his roster, G Sean Mosley (St. Frances). Turgeon introduced the former Baltimore prep star as “the most important person in (his) life right now.”
Mosley proved how important he really was in helping the coach to his first ever Atlantic Coast Conference victory as a head coach.
The senior scored 15 points, including a crucial hoop from the paint off a missed Alex Len free throw with 8:37 to play in the game that kept the Terrapins out of reach of Wake Forest University in a 70-64 win Wednesday night.
The Terps (11-4, 1-1 ACC) badly needed the bucket after squandering what was once an 18 point lead late in the first half. The Demon Deacons (10-6, 1-1 ACC) had trimmed Maryland’s lead to three by the time Len got to the stripe, but was extended right back to six thanks to Mosley’s board and hoop.
“I just wanted it more” Mosley said of the big rebound. “My mentality is to just go get after the ball. I had the opportunity to get it, so I knew I needed to get it.”
Despite coming off the bench as punishment for a violation that Turgeon wouldn’t identify but did described as “nothing major”, G Terrell Stoglin again lead Maryland in scoring with 20 points. But Stoglin struggled from the field (6-18 for the game, 2-11 in the second half), which made Mosley’s contributions that much more significant.
(Turgeon did add “I’m trying to make Terrell a man” and noted that Stoglin’s parents were “on board” when asked about the sophomore’s benching.)
“It helps a lot” Stoglin said of Mosley’s effort. “It takes a lot of pressure off and it helps the team because it just opens positions for everyone else to score when Sean is scoring.”
Mosley was particularly effective from the field in the first half, hitting four of six shots from the field, including two of three attempts from beyond the arc. Foul trouble limited his effectiveness in the second frame (he would eventually foul out), but not before netting the big hoop off the Len miss.”
“(Mosley) was great early and we weren’t very good early in the first four or eight minutes” Turgeon said after the win. “He guarded well and played well. He probably had the play of the game (getting) the offensive rebound on the missed free throw to put us up six. That was a huge play for us because we didn’t have much going.”
After being a big time scorer in the Baltimore Catholic League, Mosley has struggled at times to get going offensively during his career at Maryland. He averaged 10.1 points per game during his sophomore season but followed it up with just 8.1 points per game last year. It was a particularly disappointing drop off as the school had lost a trio of scorers in Greivis Vasquez, Eric Hayes and Landon Milbourne and had hoped Mosley could make up some of the offense.
Mosley entered Wednesday night’s game averaging 10.4 points per game this season, making him the second best offensive option among players who have played every game. (Len entered the game averaging 13.5 points in four career games but scored only five in the win over the Deacs.)
As a senior, Turgeon’s expectations have remained high for Mosley.
“Sean is a senior, so it’s ‘go time’” the coach stated. “The next two months are a battle and he’s been through it, so he’s ready for it and it’s contagious.”
Mosley said he welcomed the challenge of leading the team during the final months of his college career.
“Definitely. Each and every day in practice I try to work as hard as I can and try to get the guys to follow. With great leaders like (PG) Pe’Shon (Howard) and myself, other guys can step up and just make big plays and carry the team. You don’t have to score every point in the game, it starts with the defensive end. When we get stops and run-we’re pretty good in transition-it helps us out a lot.”
While there’s an argument that the start of conference play represents “go time” for all Maryland players, it especially important for Mosley. This is his final chance to make an impact and alter his legacy with the program.
With 14 more conference games (and one key non-conference visit to Temple) still on the schedule, “Go Time” got a very important rev Wednesday night.