Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Game Recap: Cornell 62, Maryland 70

Below, recaps from Tuesday night...

Box Score (PDF)

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Senior Chris Wroblewski became the 24th player in school history to register 1,000 career points and Cornell's defense nearly brought it all the way back from a 23-point first half deficit, but Maryland was able to hold on for a 70-62 victory over the Big Red on Tuesday evening at the Comcast Center. The Terrapins improved to 11-3, while Cornell slipped to 4-9.

Wroblewski scored a team-high 15 points and added four rebounds and three assists. His last basket, a driving layup with under a minute to play, put him at exactly 1,000 points. But his bucket wasn't enough to overcome a tough start for the Big Red.

Maryland exploded out of the gates for a 16-0 lead before Cornell was able to get on the board with 14:02 left in the first half. The lead ballooned to 28-5 midway through the first half. Luckily for the Big Red, Cornell's defense got the visitors back in the game.
After allowing the Terrapins to shoot 63 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes, the Big Red limited Maryland to 28 shooting after the break, including 1-of-9 from 3-point range. Cornell held the Terps without a field goal for the first 11:26 of the second half (12:40 without a field goal total) as they trimmed a 15-point deficit to one with a 20-6 run to make it 47-46.

Down just two with a little more than four minutes to play, Drew Ferry, the nation's leader in 3-point field goals, missed an open look that would have given the Big Red its first lead. It was one of two shots in the second half Cornell had to tie or take the lead that wouldn't fall.

Freshman Devin Cherry had a breakout game with career highs of 14 points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal in 28 minutes off the bench, He entered the game with just two points on the year. Junior Eitan Chemerinski was also effective in a return to his home state, hitting 5-of-6 field goals against 7-1 center Alex Len en route to 10 points. He also had three steals. Freshman Shonn Miller just missed his second career double-double for Cornell with nine points, 10 rebounds and two steals.

Maryland got 19 points and six rebounds from Sean Mosley, while Alex Len had 15 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots. Terrell Stoglin, the ACC's leading scorer at nearly 22 points per game, was held to 14 on 6-of-16 shooting. The Terrapins held a 34-27 edge on the glass and held Cornell to 7-of-30 shooting from 3-point range (23 percent).

The Big Red couldn't get any type of offensive rhythm, shooting a pair of air balls and turning it over three times to open the game. The Terrapins, meanwhile, were able to get out in transition several times and rarely had to go against the Big Red's half-court defense.

Cherry, who scored eight of the team's first 11 points, finally got Cornell on the board with an acrobatic reverse layup. That didn't help the Big Red gain any momentum, however. Consecutive 3-pointers by Sean Mosley extended the Terps lead to 26-5 by the second media timeout with 11:16 left in the first. A late 6-2 run, punctuated by a steal by Chemerinski and a layup by Ferry as the horn sounded gave the visitors some momentum heading into the break. Cornell still trailed by 15 at 41-26.

The Big Red opened the second half on a 16-2 run, getting within one at 43-42 when Chemerinski's short jumper in the lane fell. Wroblewski had a chance to put the visitors in the lead, but missed a 3-pointer with 11 minutes to play in regulation. Each time Cornell got within a possession, Maryland would answer before the Big Red got within two at 57-55 on a big 3-pointer by Wroblewski with 4:37 left. After Cornell got a defensive stop, Ferry got a clean look for the lead from the corner that went long and Stoglin hit a short runner in the lane and was fouled on the opposite end.

Cornell cut the deficit to one again when Ferry hit a circus layup with 2:10 remaining to make it 61-60, but Maryland called a timeout that resulted in a Stoglin dagger 3-pointer to push the lead back to four with under two minutes remaining. Cornell wouldn't get within five the rest of the way, with Wroblewski's basket with 16 seconds left the last bit of hope. Maryland made all six free throw attempts in the final 30 seconds to seal the win.

The Big Red returns home for its final non-conference matchup when it plays host to Division III Albright College on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 2 p.m. at Newman Arena in Bartels Hall.

Len comes up big. Back-to-back 3-point plays – 35 seconds apart – by 7-foot-1 freshman Alex Len were key. Through the first three games of his college career, Len’s numbers are stellar – 74 minutes, 42 points, 24 rebounds, seven blocks. He has hit 15 of 19 shots from the floor (78.9 percent) and 12 of 18 free throws (66.7 percent). Look for future opponents to try to coax Len into foul trouble. He finished Tuesday night with four, his final foul coming when he was faked off his feet by 6-foot-4 guard Devin Cherry.

The Good. Maryland’s 16-0 run to openm the game was its longest this season. The Terps extended their lead to 28-5 behind guards Sean Mosley (19 points, six rebounds) and Terrell Stoglin (14 points, four assists). Maryland was executing so crisply that 13 of their 17 first-half baskets came via assist. “Our defensive intensity is what picked that up,” Stoglin said. “We got fast-break opportunities. I don’t think we even ran a play. We were just pushing the ball.”

The Bad. As Cornell went on a 16-0 run in the second half, Maryland coach Mark Turgeon wanted to see the Terrapins play out of it. “I was not going to call time out,” Turgeon said. “Just trying to help them grow up, even if it costs us a game. I kept telling my coaches, ‘I’m not calling time out. They’ve got to get themselves out of it.’” Turgeon’s frustration peaked when sophomore Pe’Shon Howard (nine points, two assists, four turnovers) threw a high-risk lob pass that clanged off the rim. Turgeon yanked Howard immediately and inserted Stoglin, who seconds later threw a sloppy inbound pass that was stolen. Howard immediately replaced Stoglin. “Things just weren’t going good for us at that particular time of the game,” Stoglin said. “It happens.”

The Ugly. Nick Faust (two points) missed all seven of his shots in the second half and finished one of 11 from the floor. The 6-foot-6 freshman is shooting 33.7 percent overall and 23.5 percent from the arc. Faust had made 10 of his previous 18 shots before taking a step backward on Tuesday. The rest of Faust’s game is in solid working order. Since the return of Howard, Faust has moved to his natural wing position and produced 12 assists and just one turnover. Turgeon regularly praises Faust’s effort. With his unique blend of length and quickness, Faust has keyed Maryland’s improving perimeter and transition defense. Cornell hit just seven of 30 shots from beyond the arc on Tuesday. The Terps have yielded just six fast-break points the last two games.

Oy Vey. The Terrapins were nearly done in by a player from Jewish Day School in Rockville who never appeared on their recruiting radar. Cornell junior Eitan Chemerinski hit five of six shots and had a game-high three steals. The 6-8 native of Potomac leads the Ivy League in field goal shooting (65.6 percent) in his first season as a starter. Ivy teams are now 3-3 against the ACC.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- The Cornell men's basketball team suffered yet another disheartening road loss Tuesday evening, falling 70-62 to Atlantic Coast Conference member Maryland despite rallying from a 22-point first-half deficit to trail by just one point with 2:10 remaining in the game.

The Big Red (4-9) have now lost five consecutive road games -- none by more than nine points -- and have yet to win a game away from Newman Arena this season in eight tries.

Maryland (10-3) opened with a 16-0 run before Cornell finally scored its first basket -- by freshman Devin Cherry six minutes into the first half -- and a few minutes later built its lead to 30-8.

Down 41-26 at halftime, the Big Red held the Terrapins to just four points in the first 9 1/2 minutes of the second half while outscoring the Terrapins 18-4 to cut the deficit to 45-44.

After Maryland pushed its lead back to six points Cornell made another run, and with 2:10 remaining again came within a point at 61-60 following a layup by senior Drew Ferry. That's as close as the Big Red got, however, as Maryland again responded with a 7-0 run before forcing Cornell to miss four out of its last five shots to seal the victory.

Cornell was led by senior Chris Wroblewski, who snapped out of a scoring slump to tally 15 points on 4-for-7 shooting and dish out three assists. Cherry chipped in 14 points on 3-for-7 shooting from behind the arc, while classmate Shonn Miller just missed a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds.

Guard Sean Mosley led Maryland with 19 points.

After a five-game, 15-days East Coast road swing, the Big Red returns home to take on Division III opponent Albright College Saturday for a 2 p.m. tip-off, the last game before the start of the Ivy League season.

All season long, Maryland Coach Mark Turgeon has voiced frustration with his team’s inconsistency, tempering praise for his young players with pleas for sustained intensity in practice and games alike.

Maryland fans experienced that frustration first-hand Tuesday at Comcast Center, where the Terps followed their most dominant performance in a game’s first half with a dreadful second half, going more than 11 minutes without a field goal and allowing what had been a 23-point lead to be slashed to one.

With Turgeon refusing to call a timeout, the Terps finally figured out how to right themselves (as the coach, in effect, demanded) and pulled out a 70-62 victory over Cornell, padding the final margin with repeated trips to the free throw line.

With it, Maryland extended its winning streak to seven games and improved to 10-3. But if ever a victory was cause for alarm, this was it.

With its ACC opener at N.C. State looming on Sunday, Maryland remains a team that struggles to sustain leads, doesn’t instinctively toughen up when smacked in the face and tends to rush shots — rather than carefully consider them — when opponents make a run.

But when Maryland’s shooting and defense went south against Cornell, the Terps leaned on the poise and resurgent shooting of senior Sean Mosley, who scored a game-high 19 points, and the inside advantage of its 7-foot-1 freshman center Alex Len, to eke out another close victory.

“It was so easy for us early,” Turgeon said of his Terps, who shot 63 percent from the field in the first half and 28 percent in the second half. “And we do what young teams do when it’s going easy: We think it’s going to be easy the whole game, so we quit guarding. We shot too quickly, got a little selfish and turned the ball over.”

Maryland won the teams’ only previous meeting, 92-41. And Tuesday’s rematch appeared to be on that pace, with Maryland bolting to a 28-5 lead.

Cornell (4-9) was jittery at the start, lofting two air balls and turning the ball over twice in the opening minutes. Without a player approaching Len’s height or forward James Padgett’s heft, Cornell used a guard-heavy rotation and cast its fortunes beyond the arc, attempting 30 three-pointers (and making just seven).

Cornell’s shooting improved as the game unfolded. And with a buzzer-beating layup, the Big Red pared what had been a 23-point deficit to 15 at the break.

Maryland was a mess in the second half, missing one layup after another and slacking off on defense.

And Cornell ripped off 13 unanswered points to make it 43-39 with 13 minutes 47 seconds remaining, while Maryland turned the ball over five times in that span.

A turnaround jumper by Cornell’s Eitan Chemerinski of Potomac (10 points) made it a one-point game.

With Maryland 0 of 9 from field, the only points the Terps could muster came from the free-throw line. Mosley finally snapped the Terps’ drought with a jumper at 8:34 that made it 49-46.

And in a frantic sequence, Len got a put-back and pumped his right fist as fans stood and cheered. Len then converted the three-point play and repeated the sequence less than a minute later before drawing a fourth foul with 5:25 to play.

Mosley struck again and grabbed a huge defensive rebound after Cornell missed a three-pointer that would have claimed the lead.

The Maryland Terrapins beat Cornell on Tuesday 70-62, but the game should not have been that close. The Terps played their best 20 minutes of basketball in the first half, jumping out to a 30-9 lead before letting Cornell get back into the game a little bit. In the second half the wheels fell off and the Terps went about ten minutes without scoring a field goal. They did just enough to hang on, but from what we know about Mark Turgeon, "just enough" isn't going to cut it. Turgeon had some unkind things to say about his players after the game.

I don't mind Turgeon getting under the skin of his own team a little bit. He is nothing if not honest about his team. He is the first to prop them up when they do good things, and he is also good at taking some blame himself. The Terps did not look so good in the second half, and Turgeon is just trying to help them work that out.

Minutes into tonight's matchup against Maryland, things looked bleak. The Terrapins opened up play with the first 16 points of the game, rallying to a 23-point lead in the first ten minutes of the game. Alex Len's 7'1" frame and Sean Mosley's sharp shooting put Maryland in strong position early on as the Big Red struggled to penetrate the Terrapin defense and get stops on their own end of the floor. That early rally set the pace for the remainder of the first half, and while Cornell was ultimately able to stop the bleeding, the teams headed into the locker room with the Terps leading 41-26.

Those early minutes provided a small, yet downright frustrating glimpse into the troubles Cornell had adapting to the high-powered ACC offense that Maryland brought to the floor. Working from a zone defense and their classic run and gun offense, the Big Red looked almost unsure of themselves and nervous to take the ball the basket, getting blocked no less than 4 times by the Terrapin big men down low. As an increasingly agitated Bill Courtney paced the sideline, it became clear that some change was needed to re-energize his team.

That change came in the second half, as Cornell charged ahead with its own 16-2 run in the first 10 minutes of the period, cutting lead to a single point in switching to an aggressive man-to-man defense and a re-engineered strategy for attacking down low. Eitan Chemerinski turned around the game with key defensive positioning in the paint, and guards Chris Wroblewski and Devin Cherry turned on the heat to pull together a combined 29 points for the night on offense. Key turnovers and missed baskets on the Maryland side "got us in a rut, and we couldn't figure out how to get out of the rut," Terps Coach Mark Turgeon noted. "We quit guarding, we quit chasing loose balls."

From then on, the game swung back and forth, with Cornell constantly knocking on Maryland's door but just falling short of wrangling the lead back. Despite trading baskets, Cornell could never fully capitalize and fell just far enough behind in the final minutes of the game that it couldn't catch up, despite the early rally. In the end, the Maryland Terrapins clung on to take the victory, 70-62. With the win, the Terps extended their winning streak to 7 in front of a crowd of 11,395.

The typically running-and-gunning Red had to switch things up on offense tonight, finding their usually standard long-range jumpers to be on the ineffective side. Cornell shot just 7 out of 30 from beyond the arc and senior Drew Ferry found the basket from downtown on just 1 out of 9 tries. The Big Red, however, were able to rally and keep things close through more effective passing and chemistry inside the paint and from short-range in the second half, fueling their double digit run.

On the highlights side, senior Chris Wroblewski became the 24th player in Cornell history to reach the 1,000 career point mark with a layup in the final minute of the game. Unfortunately, it just wasn't enough, as the Big Red drops to 4-9 on the season and 0-8 on the road. It's the 7th heartbreaker loss this season in which Cornell has lost by 10 points or less.

In a second half that exposed the perils of Maryland’s inexperience, senior guard Sean Mosley provided the steadying influence, well-timed points and key rebounds that helped the Terrapins edge Cornell on Tuesday night.

And Mosley, Maryland’s only fourth-year player, did it despite re-aggravating the right ankle injury that hasn’t fully healed after he tore two ligaments during summer-league play.

Mosley led all players with 19 points while adding six assists, two steals and two blocks. And, as Maryland frittered away what had been a 23-point lead with six turnovers and 0-of-9 shooting to open the second half, Mosley provided a huge psychological boost by finally hitting the shot (a three-pointer) that snapped the drought with 8 minutes 34 seconds remaining.

All told, it was a terrific night for Mosley, whose last double-digit scoring performance was Dec. 14, when he scored 12 points against Florida International. The senior guard had practiced sparingly of late after re-injuring his ankle and sat out the last 10 minutes of Maryland’s 75-63 victory over Samford on New Year’s Eve in hopes of healing for the start of ACC play Sunday, when Maryland travels to North Carolina State.

On the bench for much of the Terrapins’ most dismal second-half stretch against Cornell (which outscored Maryland 36-29 in the period), Mosley got an earful of Coach Mark Turgeon’s frustration over his young team’s rash shot selection and spotty defense.

“He kept saying: ‘I’m not going to call a timeout. They’re going to have to figure it out,’ ” Mosley recounted after Maryland’s 70-62 victory. “He wanted us to mature as young men and figure out things on our own because sometimes when things are bad on the road, you can’t keep burning every time. Some timeouts you’re going to need down the stretch when games are close.”

What Turgeon wanted his players to do was quit tossing up the off-balance jump-shots that weren’t falling (freshman Nick Faust was 1 of 11 from the field, missing all five of his three-point attempts) and start driving the ball for higher-percentage shots and, ideally, trips to the free throw line.

“We got frustrated down the stretch and tried to score too quick and make some fancy plays,” Mosley said. “It cost us. But we came out with a win, and that’s the only thing we can ask for.”

Maryland's nervy 70-62 win over the Cornell Big Red was certainly a strange one; it included probably Maryland's best stretch of play in the season, as well as arguably their worst.

The Terrapins started the game on a 16-2 run, nearly blowing Cornell out of the building in the opening minutes. They held a 22-point lead just minutes later, and appeared destined to record an easy blowout in their final tune-up game before ACC play begins. There was some sloppy play just before the half that cut into the Terps' lead, but they still took a comfortable 41-26 lead into the break.

And then everything fell apart. This time it was the Big Red who opened up the half on a torrid run, even eclipsing Maryland's earlier stretch. The Terrapins literally couldn't hit a shot - they didn't make their first field goal of the second half until the 8:34 mark. At the half-way of the second half Cornell had gone on an 18-4 run and cut the lead, once seemingly insurmountable, to only a point.

Maryland's half-court offensive struggles are surely the main culprit in the breakdown, but some well-timed individual play by Sean Mosley, Terrell Stoglin, and particularly Alex Len down the stretch helped them hold off the surging Big Red. Cornell often made it an anxious affair, but Maryland had a habit of knocking down timely shots, and they never actually surrendered the lead, making it the Terrapins' second consecutive wire-to-wire victory.

There's a lot to digest in this one, which I'll be doing below the jump, but first, a quick thought: before this season, Maryland had escaped it's non-conference guarantee games without a loss only once in the last four years. Many teams better than this one fell victim on their own floor to teams like Morgan State and William and Mary. For all of the worrisome tendencies and tense moments Maryland saw in the past month, they didn't lose a game. And that's worth something. The Terrapins will enter ACC play at 10-3, and while that's hardly a breathtaking mark, it's also a perfectly respectable one. Take thanks in that much.


I'll start with the good, to keep things cheerful. First of all, Maryland got two absolutely immense performances tonight from Mosley and Len. Immense. Mosley looked like perhaps the best player on the floor despite a bum ankle that's forced him off the court for a few minutes in the first half. He was immeasurably clutch tonight, leading all players with 19 points and hitting any number of critical baskets. He's done well to let the game come to him all season - perhaps too much so, which has contributed heavily to his recent lackluster box scores - but he was front-and-center tonight, and responded. Maryland needed a scorer and a leader tonight, and Mosley stepped up. Major props.

The other big performer was Len (*insert size joke here*). It's incredible how consistently good his numbers have been: he hit his averages more or less on the money tonight, with 14 points and 9 rebounds. It's still a bit shocking just how much of an impact he has on the game thanks solely to his height; he was Maryland's offense at some points in the second-half, and was probably the biggest factor in their effort to hold onto their lead.

There are very legitimate concerns about his tendencies to foul - he jumped a lot at fakes and found himself with four fouls tonight - and that will be a worry come ACC play. But it's incredible how good he's looked in his first three games. He's almost always the biggest player on the floor by a huge margin, which he knows how to use to his advantage on the offensive end. Maryland needs to get him more touches consistently, or they'll be prone to slowdowns like the one they saw tonight. That said, a lot of his points came in James Padgett-esque garbage buckets, where he got second chances or worked hard on the glass. That effort and hustle is remarkable to see, particularly in someone of his size, and it's a real reason for optimism. (One note: what's up with his hands? One minute he can't catch a ball, the next he's wearing stickum. I guess it's just inconsistency based on inexperience, but I hope stickum-handed Olexiy is the real Olexiy.)

And, of course, the first 15 minutes or so of this game looked fantastic. Maryland's defense was good, their offense was able to penetrate Cornell's zone, and just about everything that could've gone right did go right. Perhaps the most impressive thing was the crisp movement, both off the ball and of the ball, that Maryland has struggled with all year. It was quite the impressive stretch, and Maryland looked like a tournament team during it.

Obviously, the next 25 minutes or so were a completely different story. I don't want to use bombastic language here, but I don't think I'm exaggerating when I'm saying that the second half was a pretty disastrous showing. It was bad on both sides of the floor, but let's start on offense, where Maryland basically stopped running sets and started throwing the ball away at incredible rates. After only three turnovers in the first half, the Terrapins gave the ball away 10 times in the bad 25 minutes, many of which led to easy buckets for Cornell at the other end. And, naturally, much of the problems with shooting the ball and the huge scoring drought had to do with the offensive execution. The offense didn't run the same sharp sets we saw in the first half, were much sloppier generally, and took much worse shots - looking directly at Nick Faust on that last mark,given that he shot 1-11 today. They didn't value possession enough, either by avoiding turnovers or finding good shots.

That was probably largely a team failure, and it was fueled by Len and Stoglin being in foul trouble. I didn't think it was Pe'Shon Howard's best performance, though; he's supposed to be the guy who makes the offense tick, and despite being on the floor all game, it never really did. He did hit a big three-pointer, but had another four turnovers that really hurt. He needs to be smarter with the ball and tone down some of the more ambitious passes.

I was also disappointed just about across the board as far as individual performances go. Faust's offensive performance was a massive step back, and not just in his shooting form - he just continually took awful shots that killed Maryland's offensive rhythm. He needs to focus on getting in a rhythm by taking the ball to the hoop and trying to draw defenders to him or draw contact at the net. Ashton Pankey was just about invisible when he wasn't getting schooled by Eitan Chemerinski, and James Padgett was pretty much a non-factor in his 16(!) minutes.

The biggest disappointment is probably the general lack of focus and the inability to kill Cornell off when they were down. Maryland had this in the bag after about four minutes of play, but they never put their foot on Cornell's throat and finished the job. They let the Big Red back in the game, and it almost killed them. That seems like a combination of inexperience and a lack of mental toughness, both of which will be improved with game time. If they take the same nonchalant approach in an ACC game, though, their foe won't be as forgiving next time around.

It's important to note, throughout all this, that Cornell was probably Maryland's best tune-up opponent, and the Terrapins still won by 8. An eight-point win over Cornell isn't really a bad result. Yet I feel worse about this game than I did about any of the others. I'm guessing that's because we were this close to felling really good about Maryland heading into the ACC, and instead, despite playing at full-strength, we still feel about the same.

If they can figure out how to keep their foot on the pedal at all times, this team has some serious potential, as the first 15 minutes showed. But they aren't there yet. This sets an interesting stage for the rest of the season, and I wouldn't be surprised with quite a few interesting results - either good or bad.

Last word: Maryland's still 10-3. There were many times when it seemed they wouldn't be, but they eked it out. And given that many didn't expect them to be 10-3 right now, that's something in which it's worth taking solace.

Box Score | Quotes | Notes | Photo Gallery

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Sean Mosley scored 19 points, Alex Len had 15 points and nine rebounds and Maryland beat Cornell 70-62 Tuesday night.

Terrell Stoglin added 14 points and four assists for the Terrapins (10-3), who scored the game's first 16 points but had to hang on late for their seventh consecutive victory. After the Big Red closed to 47-46, Len -- a 7-foot-1 freshman -- made a pair of three-point plays in an 8-4 spree that helped put momentum back on Maryland's side.

But the outcome wasn't decided until Stoglin hit a 3-pointer with 1:49 left and Pe'Shon Howard followed two Cornell misfires with a pair of foul shots for a 66-60 lead with 31.8 seconds remaining.

Chris Wroblewski scored 15 for Cornell (4-9) and Devin Cherry added 14. The Big Red have lost five straight, all on the road, where they are 0-8 this season.

Cornell is 1-24 against teams currently in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the lone victory against Wake Forest in the 1951-52 season.

Although the Big Red never led, they made a game of it early in the second half when successive layups by Eitan Chemerinski sparked a 16-point run that made it 43-42. Although Mosley interrupted the surge with two foul shots, Maryland began the half by going 0 for 9 from the field with six turnovers.

Maryland's first basket of the second half was a jumper by Mosley with 8:34 to go.

The Terrapins shot a sizzling 63 percent from the floor and limited the Big Red to 4-for-19 shooting from 3-point range in taking a 41-26 halftime lead.

Six different players made a field goal in Maryland's game-opening 16-0 run. Cornell coach Bill Courtney tried to ride out the barrage without calling a timeout, but he finally relented with five minutes elapsed and the score 15-0.

The Big Red missed their first five shots and had five turnovers before Cherry ended the drought with a reverse layup. Mosley then drilled successive 3-pointers in a 12-3 spurt that made it 28-5 -- Maryland's biggest lead of the season.

Two shots from beyond the arc by Cherry cut the margin to 17, but a dunk by Len and a driving layup by Howard put the Terrapins ahead 34-13. At that juncture, 18 of Maryland's 34 points were scored in the paint.

Maryland took a 41-26 lead into the locker room at halftime, spurred by 63 percent shooting and 13 assists on 17 field goals.

It was tough love.

His Terrapins were struggling as bad as they had all season, but Mark Turgeon was not going to call a timeout.

"I was not going to call timeout in that first four minutes and thatwas more trying to help them grow up," he said. "They had to get themselves out of it."

The coach kept that timeout in his pocket and the Terrapins againreached down deep to pull out a tight game at home, surviving a scare from Ivy League foe Cornell, 70-62.

The Big Red hadn't won on the road this year and trailed by 23 in the first half but they buckled down to make life miserable for Maryland (10-3) in the second half. The Terrapins were their own worst enemy at times, though they have now won seven games in a row heading into
Sunday's ACC opener at NC State.

"We talked at halftime about how Cornell was down to Bucknell by 18, and they came back and took the game into overtime," said Sean Mosley. "So we knew they weren't going to give up. When they came out in the second half, they hit a lot of shots that they weren't getting in the
first half. But we stuck together as a team and made free throws andgot the rebounds at the end of the game."

Mosley had a team-high 19 points, the first time he has led the team since throwing in 21 against Iona on Nov. 20, 10 games ago. He was 6-of-9 from the field and had six rebounds, two assists and two steals, all on a gimpy ankle that he aggravated in the first half

Terrell Stoglin had 14 points and four assists and hit a huge 3-pointer with 1:49 left to stretch the Terrapins' tenuous lead to 64-60. Pe'Shon Howard hit two sets of free throws around a pair by Mosley over the final 51.8 seconds and the Terps completed their six-game homestand undefeated.

There's little doubt that scenario wouldn't have been the case if Howard and big Alex Len hadn't been back in the fold. Len was clutch with 5-of-5 shooting and 15 points, nine rebounds and three blocks in 25 foul-plagued minutes.

As dominant as the 7-1 freshman was, Maryland couldn't consistently get him the ball, a problem Turgeon blamed on poor execution, the same kind of things that contributed to a horrid, nearly-nine-minute scoring drought in the second half, and an even longer span between
field goals.

"I kept telling our coaches, 'I'm not going to call timeout, they'vegot to get themselves out of it,'" said Turgeon. "We couldn't figure out how to get out of our rut. Hopefully we can figure better ways to get to the foul line and get easy buckets when we're not doing what we're supposed to do."

Trailing by 15 at the half, Cornell opened with a 16-2 run to cut Maryland's lead down to one, something the Big Red (4-9) would do four times, though they never were able to take the lead. The Big Red have now lost five in a row and fell to 0-8 on the road this season. After shooting a woeful 11-of-30 in the first half, though, they buckled down to hit 11-of-22 in the second half and play much better defense.

"It was so easy for us early," said Turgeon. "We were hitting shots,we were executing. We were defending at a level we haven't defended this year, and it just came too easy for us. We did what young teams do when it's going easy. We just thought it was going to be easy the whole game. We quit guarding. We quit chasing loose balls. We started shooting quick. We got a little bit selfish, and turned the ball over."

Maryland had led 16-0 to start the game, and was up 28-5 midway through the first half. That all changed in a hectic second half, Maryland winning by eight-or-less points for the seventh time this season.

"Coach said that he wasn't going to call any timeouts because he wanted us to work through it as a team," said Stoglin. "We communicated together and played together, and we were able to get the win. We grew up."

Maryland ended that scoring drought of eight minutes and 59 seconds when Mosley got an offensive rebound and hit two free throws at 10:38, staving off Cornell, 45-42. Cornell's Chris Wroblewski cut it back to a one-point game with two free throws and it stayed tight into the
final two minutes.

At 8:33, Mosley hit Maryland's first field goal of the second half, a basket-drought that extended all the way back to 1:12 in the first half. Mosley's bucket made it 49-46. With 7:23 left, Nick Faust chased down a missed shot and threw it back in right in front of the Maryland bench, Len got a hand on it, too and got it to Howard. Len hustled toward the basket and Howard found him for a key three-point play to make it 52-46, the Terps finally with some breathing room.

It was one of few highlights for Faust, who after two games shooting much better, connected on just one of 11 shots Tuesday. Mcyhal Parkerand Ashton Pankey also struggled off the bench. Parker had three points but three turnovers, and Pankey just two rebounds, two assists
and a block in 21 minutes.

"There were a lot of guys that didn't play well tonight," said Turgeon. "There were a lot of guys that didn't take good shots. There were a lot of guys that didn't execute very well when we had to

Clinging to a now-six-point lead, Stoglin soon picked up his fourth foul - Shonn Miller hitting two free throws to make it 52-48 - and Len soon followed with his fourth, Turgeon forced to juggle his lineups down the stretch on a night his bench was out-scored 21-7.

When Mosley hit a spinning drive in the paint at 4:57, Maryland's lead was 57-52, but a Wroblewski 3-pointer put Cornell right back in striking distance. Stoglin answered with a drive but couldn't convert the three-point play, typical of Maryland's struggles. They shot just 28 percent (7-of-25) in the second half and were 1-of-9 (11.1 percent) from 3-point range.

Len stuck back a Stoglin miss at 3:01 to make it 61-56, but Devin Cherry, on his way to 14 points, hit a drive, and then Drew Ferry went baseline to make it 61-60 with 2:11 to play. That play set the stage for Stoglin's big 3-pointer, and then after Wroblewski, who had 15 points, missed a three, the parade to the free throw line began.

"When the game was on the line we did it again," said Turgeon. "We stepped up. We guarded. We executed, and we made plays. We made foul shots down the stretch and got just enough plays to win." After an impressive opening 10 minutes, it didn't look like the Terrapins would need many more big plays to win. Maryland was threatening to run Cornell out of the gym before a crowd of 11,395, like the Terrapins haven't done all season. But the lead was down to
15 at the half, and after two James Padgett free throws to open the second stanza, the Terps lost their way for the next nine minutes.

"We had a run but coach told us that they were going to get a run," said Stoglin. "He wanted us to stay strong and play defense." Center Eitan Chemerinski, a 6-8 native of Potomac and a product of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, scored twice inside to start the Big Red on its way. When Cherry scored on the break it was 43-32 at 16:27. Wroblewski got a three-point play in transition and then Miller hit one of two free throws. A Cherry 3-pointer forced a Terrapin
timeout at 13:46, with the score 43-39, but Maryland still couldn't score.

"There are two things we don't do a very good job of," said Turgeon. "We don't take care of the ball and we shoot quick shots. If we take those two things away then we have a chance to be a good team. Otherwise we're not going to be a very good team. And we can talk
about it until we're blue in the face."

The Terps missed their first nine shots of the second half. When Galal Cancer hit one of two free throws, and then Chemerinski hit a hook, Cornell was all the way back to within 43-42 with 11:50 to play.

"We have to figure it out and grow up," said Mosley. "As a team, we had too many turnovers and they were hitting shots. We really couldn't get our offense going in the second half."

Maryland led 41-26 at the half, the largest lead of the season at the break but there was a feeling the Terrapins could have and should have been up even more. They shot 63 percent (17-of-27) and held Cornell to 36.7 percent (11-of-30), including just 4-of-19 (21.1 percent) from 3-
point range.

Maryland had a 10-2 edge in fastbreak points but seemed to step off the gas late in the half. Early on, though, it was pedal to the metal.

The Terrapins came out and looked determined to finally blow somebody out. Their 16-0 run to open the game was the biggest spree of the season, topping a 13-0 run against Albany. Five different players scored for the Terps and that seemed the direction in which the game would continue, the Big Red getting downsized right out of the gates.

Padgett got a dunk on Maryland's second possession and the Terrapins would never trail. Howard hit one of two free throws, and then Mosley got a steal and layup.

Howard had nine points but just two assists and four turnovers, Cornell doing a good job of defending Maryland guards off high screens. Padgett, who was called for two offensive fouls in such circumstances, had six points and just two rebounds in 16 minutes.

Mosley seemed to hurt his ankle on that early steal and lay-up, and came out. Faust entered and got a steal and dunk, and that was sort ofthe way it was going for Cornell. It was 14:19 before the Big Red scored, Cherry getting a reverse lay-up after an offensive rebound. Cornell had missed its first five shots - all 3-pointers - and had three turnovers before finally getting on the scoreboard.

The Terrapins got a Berend Weijs score inside and then a Parker jumper to make it 20-2 at 12:56. A modest 8-2 Big Red run, including two Cherry 3-pointers, closed the gap to 30-13 at 8:20 when Cancer got a bucket on a Len goal-tend. But Len scored next time down on a lob from Howard, an Alex-Oop. Then Howard scored on the break to make it 34-13.

But the Big Red, who launched 19 3-pointers in the first half, had found their range a little bit and began to execute a little better on offense. Miller hit a 15-footer,and Chemerinski knocked down a hook to make it 34-17 at 5:01.

Mosley hit a baseline jumper but Miller drained a three. When Stoglin hit a three for Maryland, it was 39-20. The Big Red scored six of the last eight points to close the margin to 15 points at the half, somewhat disappointing after Maryland led by as many as 23 points earlier (28-5 at 10:38 on a Padgett score). When Ferry got a steal and a lay-up right at the halftime horn, Cornell had closed to 41-26. Mosley, for one, was glad to be done with the skein of non-conference games. "I am so ready to play our first (ACC) game against NC State on Sunday," he said. "I think we have worked extremely hard up to this point to get where we are right now. I think with everyone playing and having Alex and Pe'Shon back, it's a plus for us."

Maryland tips off at NC State at 6 p.m., Sunday, and then returns home for Wake Forest next Wednesday, and Georgia Tech on Sunday, Jan. 15.

Terrapin men’s basketball coach Mark Turgeon decided it was time for his team to grow up, even if it cost him a game.

As he watched his players collapse offensively and defensively against Cornell to start the second half during Tuesday’s game, Turgeon refused to call a timeout.

The first year coach challenged his team to fight through their struggles and his decision paid off. The Terps came out of an ugly 12-minute stretch without a field goal to hold on to beat Cornell 70-62 to complete their six-game homestand undefeated.

“I never thought we would lose the game,” Turgeon said. “[But] I want our guys to grow up. We have to execute better. We have to practice better. Maybe we’re a little caught up in the seven game winning streak instead of where we really are as a team.”

The Terps looked like one of the ACC’s finest to start the game, ripping off 16 straight points and jumping out to an early 21-point lead. They flexed one of their best defensive stretches of the season, causing six turnovers as Cornell shot just 1-for-10 to start the game.

But as they have all season, the Terps couldn’t keep their early lead. Cornell basically mirrored the Terps’ run to start the second half and drew within one.

The Terps completely fell apart offensively against the Big Red and had trouble hitting shots and running their offense. Cornell, meanwhile, started sinking their shots and inching its way back.

“We did what young teams do when its going easy,” Turgeon said. “We just thought it was going to be easy the whole game and so we quit guarding, we quit chasing down loose balls, we started shooting quick, we got a little bit selfish and turned the ball over.”

Guard Sean Mosley, who led the Terps (10-3) with 19 points, saved the team from an embarrassment before ACC play started. His 3-pointer with 8:34 left in the game marked the first field goal of the second half.

“We got frustrated and tried to score quick and make fancy plays,” Mosley said. “It cost us.”

Despite a 16-0 run by the Big Red, the Terps never relinquished their lead. Center Alex Len scored back-to-back traditional 3-point plays late in the game to keep the Terps ahead. The redshirt freshman finished with 15 points and nine rebounds.

“We grew up,” guard Terrell Stoglin said. “I felt that we responded real well. He wanted us to work through it as a team and communicate. And we did that.”

Although they had an obvious height advantage, the Terps struggled to get the ball inside. Guard Nick Faust, who went 1-for-11 in the game, shot more times than the entire frontcourt combined. Stoglin hit just one of his nine shots in the second half, and finished with 14 points.

“We showed our inexperience and our immaturity and I’m just hoping we grow out of it,” Turgeon said.

The Terps regained their defensive intensity late in the game as the Big Red missed each of their final three 3-point attempts in the final two minutes. Guard Pe’Shon Howard and Mosley combined to sink all six of the team’s free throw minutes in in the final minute to close out the win.

“It’s going to help us in the long run,” Stoglin said. “Once we learn how to finish the game, which we have been, we’ll be a better team.”

They now enter ACC play riding one of the conference’s longest winning streaks, but Sunday’s opener at N.C. State will be the team’s first true road test.

For a team picked to finish no higher than ninth in preseason conference polls, Turgeon still believes the team has a ways to go before they can challenge in the ACC.

“I just want to get better,” Turgeon said. “That’s all I want to do. I was frustrated with my guys tonight. I want our guys to have a winning attitude, an attitude that we belong. If they do that, and we keep coaching, then we’ll be good.”

Maryland faced a sink-or-swim moment Tuesday night at Comcast Center.

The Terrapins stayed afloat — barely.

With coach Mark Turgeon insisting his team play through its struggles, the Terrapins nearly wasted a 23-point lead before surviving 70-62 against Cornell before 11,395 at Comcast Center.

“We like to make it interesting,” Turgeon said.

Maryland (10-3) won its seventh straight and enters the start of conference play without a befuddling loss, an achievement for a bunch that played without two starters until the last two weeks.

With a full complement of players (or what constitutes a full complement for the Terps), Turgeon has uncorked a few tactics as the Terps neared their ACC opener at N.C. State on Sunday. Playing time is doled out more stringently, the upshot of more competition for minutes.

Tuesday’s ploy was intriguing from a team-wide sense. Turgeon refused to call a timeout as Maryland’s lead winnowed from 15 points to single digits in the first four minutes of the second half.

“That was more trying to help them grow up,” Turgeon said. “I kept telling my coaches, ‘Even if it costs us the game, I’m not going to call timeout. They have to get themselves out of it.’”

It was a risk, to be sure. Cornell (4-9), so stifled in the game’s first 10 minutes as Maryland bolted to a 28-5 lead, grew more efficient as the game advanced.

Meanwhile, the Terps slacked after their sizzling start, continuing their turnover-prone ways while hoisting ill-advised shots as Turgeon glowered from the sideline during the meltdown.

“He just wanted us to work through it as a team and communicate,” guard Terrell Stoglin (14 points) said. “That was the main focus today: Communicate together and play together and we did that.”

The Terps eventually did, but not before the Big Red narrowed the gap to just one point on four occasions.

Turgeon eventually tossed his no-timeouts pledge with 13:47 to play, though his message was clear by then. At some point, his first Maryland team would have to learn some things the hard way.

Some of what the Terps needed to have reinforced was clear. They needed to get to the foul line and work inside. Both would have worked. Maryland barely did either until freshman Alex Len (15 points) produced a pair of traditional three-point plays in the middle of the half.

Maryland’s clinching shot, coincidentally, came out of a Turgeon timeout. Stoglin connected on a 3-pointer with 1:48 to play, bumping the Terps’ edge to 64-60.

Soon enough, Maryland escaped, having slipped through its last nonconference home game without a serious incident — but with an added experience thanks to a little stubbornness from Turgeon.

“He just said ‘I’m not going to call a timeout, they’re going to have to figure it out,’” guard Sean Mosley (19 points). “He wanted us to mature as young men and figure out things on their own. Sometimes, when things are going bad on the road, he can’t keep burning every timeout because some timeouts we’re going to need down the stretch in games when they’re close. We’re going to have to figure it out and grow up as a team.”

The time to do so has arrived for Maryland, a bunch picked ninth in the ACC in the preseason. The addition of Len and Pe’Shon Howard to the Terps’ rotation generated some hope Maryland could exceed expectations, but only if improvement continues.

That happens in practice. And it can occur in games, especially when Turgeon foists an impromptu maturation opportunity on his team. It’ll need to happen in both if the Terps are to parlay their recent play into something more fulfilling later in the season.

“I never thought we were going to lose the game,” Turgeon said. “I want our guys to grow up. Right or wrong, that’s what I did. … Maybe we’re more caught up in the seven-game winning streak than where our team really is and where we need to be.”

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Maryland coach Mark Turgeon just watched his team win its seventh straight game, and he had the look of a beaten man.

Speaking softly and without a hint of a smile, Turgeon had very little nice to say about the Terrapins after they blew most of a 23-point lead in a 70-62 victory over Cornell.

"We've just got to get better. We've got to execute better, we've got to practice better," said Turgeon, in his first season at Maryland after a successful run at Texas A&M. "Maybe we're a little caught up in the seven-game winning streak instead of where our team really is and where we need to be."

Sean Mosley scored 19 points for the Terrapins (10-3), who enjoyed early leads of 16-0, 28-5 and 30-8 but barely hung on. Maryland went nearly 12 minutes without a field goal at the outset of the second half and ended up shooting a miserable 28 percent (7 for 25) from the floor over the final 20 minutes.

"There's a lot of guys that didn't play well tonight, a lot of guys that didn't take good shots," Turgeon said. "...We showed our inexperience and immaturity. I just keep hoping that we grow out of it."

After the Big Red closed to 47-46, 7-foot-1 freshman Alex Len made a pair of three-point plays in an 8-4 spree that helped put momentum back on Maryland's side.

But the outcome wasn't decided until Terrell Stoglin hit a 3-pointer with 1:49 left and Pe'Shon Howard followed two Cornell misfires with a pair of foul shots for a 66-60 lead with 31.8 seconds remaining.

Len had 15 points and nine rebounds for the Terps, who open play in the Atlantic Coast Conference on Sunday at North Carolina State.

"We still need to get better and have a lot of work to do," Stoglin acknowledged.

Chris Wroblewski scored 15 for the Big Red (4-9) and Devin Cherry added 14. Cornell has lost five straight, all on the road, where it's 0-8 this season.

The Big Red is 1-24 against teams currently in the ACC, the lone victory against Wake Forest in the 1951-52 season. But this one was extremely close.

"Obviously we would have liked to come out with the win, but we had a lot of opportunities," coach Bill Courtney said. "We had 3-point shooting and we had some looks, but we just didn't knock them down at certain times."

Although the Big Red never led, they made a game of it early in the second half when successive layups by Eitan Chemerinski sparked a 16-point run that made it 43-42. Although Mosley interrupted the surge with two foul shots, Maryland began the half by going 0 for 9 from the field with six turnovers.

Turgeon said he wasn't going to call a timeout during the stretch because he wanted his young players to learn from the experience.

"That was more about letting them try and grow up," Turgeon said.

Maryland's first basket of the second half was a jumper by Mosley with 8:34 to go.

The Terrapins shot a sizzling 63 percent from the floor and limited the Big Red to 4-for-19 shooting from 3-point range in taking a 41-26 halftime lead.

Six different players made a field goal in Maryland's game-opening 16-0 run. Courtney tried to ride out the barrage without calling a timeout, but he finally relented with five minutes elapsed and the score 15-0.

The Big Red missed their first five shots and had five turnovers before Cherry ended the drought with a reverse layup. Mosley then drilled successive 3-pointers in a 12-3 spurt that made it 28-5 - Maryland's biggest lead of the season.

"It was so easy for us early," Turgeon said. "We were hitting shots, we were executing, we were defending at a level we haven't defended at this year."

Two shots from beyond the arc by Cherry cut the margin to 17, but a dunk by Len and a driving layup by Howard put the Terrapins ahead 34-13. At that juncture, 18 of Maryland's 34 points were scored in the paint.

Early this year, when depleted Maryland was trying to get by with seven scholarship players, coach Mark Turgeon joked that games should last only 20 minutes.

That sentiment applied for different reasons Tuesday night at Comcast Center as full-strength Maryland followed its best half of basketball this season with its worst. But after blowing all but one of a 23-point lead, the Terrapins regained their composure behind their least experienced player.

In his third college game, 7-foot-1 freshman Alex Len scored eight points in the final 7 minutes, 23 seconds to rescue Maryland from embarrassment against Cornell of the Ivy League. Maryland won its seventh straight, 70-62, but not without breaking a considerable sweat before 11,395.

“It came so easy for us, we quit guarding. We showed our immaturity,” Turgeon said. “We didn’t know how to deal with success.”

After failing to score a field goal for a span of 12 minutes, 34 seconds, Maryland (10-3) needed to get baskets the hard way. Len (15 points, nine rebounds, three blocks) obliged, muscling for a pair of three-point plays and a put-back.

Sophomore guard Terrell Stoglin (14 points, four assists) added a 3-pointer with 1:46 left and Maryland was true at the free-throw line in the final 31 seconds, making six of six free throws, including four by sophomore point guard Pe’Shon Howard.

“One thing we have to shore up is our shot selection,” Turgeon said. “And our turnovers were atrocious.”

It was a shocking turn of events after Maryland scored the game’s first 16 points and rolled to a 28-5 lead behind Sean Mosley (19 points, six rebounds). The Terps were executing so crisply that 13 of their 17 first-half baskets came via assist.

“Our defense set that up. I don’t think we even ran a play. We were just pushing the ball,” Stoglin said of the Terps’ fast-break artistry, which abruptly disappeared in after intermission.

Cornell (4-9) rallied behind guards Chris Wroblewski (15 points) and Devin Cherry (14 points). As the Big Red heated up and switched defenses effectively, Maryland went stone cold. Freshman Nick Faust made one of 11 shots. Cornell whittled the deficit to one point on four occasions, but Maryland wouldn’t yield.

“We’ve figured out how to execute and win close games,” Turgeon said. “We might just have to get our tail kicked to [learn].”

After scoring the game's first 16 points, Maryland seemed poised to end the evening's suspense early against Cornell and to open Atlantic Coast Conference play this weekend riding a confidence-inducing seven-game winning streak.

But the Terps are a young team still finding their identity. They are inclined to make their coaches and fans squirm and sweat — which is what happened Tuesday night.
Plagued by second-half mistakes and foul trouble, the Terps gave back nearly all of an early 23-point lead before Sean Mosley (19 points) and Alex Len (15 points, including 5-for-5 from the floor) bailed them out in a 70-62 victory.

"We like to make it interesting, there's no question about that," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said.

The Terps (10-3) will still enter ACC play at North Carolina State on Sunday with a seven-game winning streak. But they also open the conference schedule with doubts about their maturity.

"We showed our inexperience and immaturity, and I just keep hoping we grow out of it," Turgeon said. "We've got to figure it out — it could get real ugly on the road."

Maryland went more than 11 minutes into the second half without a field goal. Turgeon said he resisted calling time-out because he wanted his young team to right itself without his help. That presumably would have meant protecting the ball better and not rushing shots — two of the errors the coach cited.

"We did what not-very-good teams do. We couldn't figure out how to get out of our rut," Turgeon said.

Cornell shot 50 percent in the second half and got to the foul line 15 times, making 11, after not attempting a single free throw in the first half.

Len, the 7-foot-1 center playing in just his third game, made several key plays.

With the Terps up by just three points, Len leaped toward the sideline to save a ball inbounds, then got an offensive rebound and scored a field goal and foul shot to extend the lead to 52-46.

Moments later, Len converted an inside basket and another free throw, making it 55-48. Len picked up his fourth foul with a little more than five minutes left and went to the bench.

"Teams are trying to double-team him now and he's still getting rebounds," Terrell Stoglin, Maryland's leading scorer, said of Len. Stoglin was also in foul trouble and missed extended portions of the second half.

Another putback by Len made it 61-56. "They've got [Len], who's 7-feet-tall. We're trying to get the ball and he's just grabbing it," said Cornell coach Bill Courtney.

But the Big Red cut the margin to 61-60 on senior guard Drew Ferry's baseline drive with 2:10 left.

Stoglin's 3-pointer made it 64-60 and the Terps hung on.

Maryland was trying to avoid becoming another ACC team to lose to an Ivy League school. Florida State has lost to Princeton and Harvard, Boston College lost to Harvard, and Wake Forest escaped Yale by one point.

The Big Red — on a four-game losing streak and last in the Ivy League in rebounding — aren't nearly the same team as the one that went to the Sweet Sixteen in 2010. That team's coach, Steve Donahue, is now coach of Boston College.

But Cornell rattled the Terps and their fans.

The Terps opened the game with their best run of the season. The Big Red didn't score until freshman guard Devin Cherry (14 points) hit a shot to make it 16-2 with 14:09 left in the first half.

Maryland pushed the lead to 26-5 on consecutive 3-pointers by Mosley, who has been playing with a sore right ankle and hadn't scored in double figures in the previous three games.

Fourteen of Cornell's first 18 shots were 3-point attempts. The Big Red made just three of the 3s.

The Terps had 13 assists on their first 17 field goals.

But Cornell came back. The Big Red cut the margin to 43-39 on Cherry's 3-pointer as the Terps were plagued by turnovers. A Galal Cancer free throw made it 43-40 and a jump hook by Eitan Chemerinski cut the margin to one point with 11:48 left as the Maryland crowd grew quiet.

"Hopefully we can figure out better ways to get to the foul line and get easy buckets when we're not doing what we're supposed to do," Turgeon said.

If you're a "glass half full" type, you can be pleased that Maryland -- again -- survived its own worst mistakes and came away with a win. Sean Mosley played well on a gimpy right ankle, and Alex Len was my MVP for his buckets and offensive rebounds in the second half when they were needed most.

If you're plagued by doubts, there is plenty to worry about in a team that Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said got down on itself against Cornell during an extended rut.

The Terps didn't score in the second half until Mosley's field goal with 8:34 left. That's a gap of 11:26 that certainly felt like an epoch to Turgeon and the fans.

There are tried and true methods for getitng out of slumps -- be patient, try to get to the foul line. But the young Terps (talented freshman Nick Faust shot 1-for-11) struggled to right themselves and fell victim to impatience and turnovers.

Through the worst of it, Turgeon said he resisted calling a time-out because he wanted his young team to figure it out -- to take ownership.

"I just wanted our guys to grow up and, right or wrong, that's what I did," said Turgeon.

The coach probably wouldn't have played out this gambit had he thought the Terps might seriously be headed to their first loss since Nov, 29 (Illinois).

"I never thought we were going to lose the game," Turgeon said. "We made foul shots down the stretch and got just enough plays to win."

The Maryland Terrapins put forth a completely confounding effort tonight against the Big Red of Cornell University and earned their seventh consecutive victory 70-62 in the process. The victory represented both the best and the worst of what this young team has to offer and makes their first foray into ACC play this weekend at North Carolina State completely unpredictable.

The Terps opened up the game with their best run of the season – a 16-0 lightning strike over the first five minutes that had a sizable Comcast crowd rocking and rolling with every alley-oop and stifling defensive stop. In those five minutes Maryland was 6-8 from the field while Cornell was 0-5 – all from behind the three point line- with 5 turnovers. When the Big Red scored their first bucket to cut the score to 16-2 at the 14:09 mark the crowd gave a derisive cheer to the visitors.

The fun continued for the Terps and consecutive threes by senior wing Sean Mosley put the score at 26-5, seriously uncharted waters for a Maryland team that has played close game after close game this season. After some back and forth action point guard Pe’Shon Howard again made it a 21 point game at 34-13 just before the under 8 minute media timeout in the first half.

Then the Terps stopped playing.

Most people at the game point to the almost inconceivable 11 minute field goal drought to begin the second half as when Cornell turned this game around but it began right there with the Terps holding a 34-13 and having their way against a completely overmatched opponent.

The Terps exhaled. They lost their mojo, their heads and, ultimately, almost lost this game as a result.

Over the last seven plus minutes of that first half Cornell finished on a 13-7 run to keep themselves in the conversation at 41-26 at halftime. As poorly as they had started the game in the first half, Maryland turnovers and shot selection over the course of those last seven minutes gave them hope as they headed into their locker room.

Keep in mind that coming into this game the Ivy League – which Cornell is a part of- is 3-2 against ACC opponents this season. The same Big Red team had led at the 4 minute media timeout at Illinois just a few short weeks ago. They are two years removed from being in the sweet 16. You just can’t give a team like that a sliver of hope.

On to the almost nightmarish second half….

After Maryland’s James Padgett opened the second half with a pair of free throws to make it 43-26, Cornell went on an almost surreal eleven plus minute run where they were able to run their offense freely and get plenty of help from the guys in the white uniforms.

In the first eight minutes of the half Cornell went on a prolonged 16-0 run of their own to cut the lead to 43-42 on a crafty inside move by Eitan Chemerinsky (Potomac, Md.).

Maryland Head Coach Mark Turgeon could be heard imploring his players to get the ball inside and get to the foul line in the second half. His guards could never accomplish the first task but it was when the team started getting to the free throw line that things stabilized for the Terps.

Mosley (19 points, 6 rebounds) made a pair of free throws and was followed by Mychal Parker and Alex Len who each made one of two. Still, Cornell countered with four free throws of their own and the lead was back to a single point at 47-46.

Mosley hit a short jumper at the 8:34 mark of the half – Maryland’s first field goal since the break- to put the lead at 49-46. During that stretch, the Terps shot 0-9 from the field and had 8 turnovers. That basket seemed to finally energize the Maryland team. And if they weren’t fired up enough then, they were sure to be when Len made what may have been the play of the game.

After Cornell had turned it over on their end, Mosley missed a three point attempt on the Maryland end. The long rebound was batted around and freshman Nick Faust made an athletic attempt to save it in front of the Maryland bench. The ball was batted around yet again and was headed out when Len dove into the Maryland sideline to save the possession and send the ball back to Howard. Howard then fired a pass to a cutting Faust who missed the easy layup attempt but there to grab it was the athletic 7 foot Len. He not only snared the rebound but scored as he was fouled. The basket and his free throw put the lead at 52-46 and, while it certainly didn’t salt the game away by any means, it appeared to bolster the effort for the last five minutes.

Even with Len (15 points, 9 rebounds) asserting himself, Cornell would not go away. With Head Coach Bill Courtney changing defenses at every turn and his guards making threes, the Big Red fought back to make it 61-60 on a layup with 2 minutes remaining and forcing a Maryland timeout.

Turgeon may very well have called for the ball to go inside on the ensuing possession but it took Terp star guard Terrell Stoglin all of ten seconds to take a Faust pass and nail a three for a 64-60 lead. Stoglin had been the focus of an outstanding Cornell defensive effort and ended up shooting 6-16 while dealing with intermittent foul troubles. That bucket proved to be the ultimate nail in the Cornell coffin.

After Cornell missed a three point attempt Mosley and Howard made four consecutive free throws for an insurmountable 68-60 margin with 20 seconds remaining. Howard would nail another pair with 15 seconds remaining to account for the final Maryland points.

Make no mistake about it; this Maryland team has come miles in a short period of time. They now have their full complement of players and it includes the ACC’s leading scorer in Stoglin and a game changing 7 foot center in Len.

Yet even with that they have found themselves making the same mistakes over and over again in their games. The issues of shot selection and unforced turnovers that were an issue in their first game of the season remain so.

Tonight they were talented enough to hold off a spirited rally from a game opponent. It was a rally that probably should never have come had the Terps played with consistent effort and focus.

The NC State game on Sunday represents the first true road test for the Terps on the season. State also has a new man at the helm in Mark Gottfried and he and his team will enter the game much as Turgeon and his team- trying to create both an identity for his team and get off to a fast start in league play with a critical first league win.

No comments: