Mark Turgeon paced up and down the court in front of Maryland’s bench, occasionally turning to the players on it, thrashing his hands and expressing displeasure in what Maryland was doing on the floor. Eventually, the coach plopped down in his seat between assistants Scott Spinelli and Dalonte Hill and put his face in his hands.
Mark Turgeon was visibly frustrated on the sideline during the first half Maryland's win over Monmouth on Wednesday.
This was not the game – or first half at least – Turgeon was hoping to see out of his young Terps team.
Despite topping Monmouth, 71-38, on Wednesday night in front of 9,265 fans inside Comcast Center, Maryland once again had to overcome a lethargic and mistake-prone first half to pull out a win against a highly overmatched opponent.
“Nothing against Monmouth, but our guys should play better against Monmouth," Turgeon said. "I’m disappointed. They’ve got to give me more. The problem is everyone telling these guys how good they are because of our record, and they’re listening instead of listening to me.”
Maryland committed a season-high 23 turnovers – 14 of which came in the first half – and looked lost on the court at times during the game’s first 20 minutes. Mental lapses and a lack of focus and energy gave the Terps only a 10-point lead at halftime.
“We got outplayed in the first half,” Turgeon said. “They outhustled us. They played harder, tougher. It was probably the worst half of basketball one of my teams has played maybe ever. I was really disappointed in my team.”
“We didn’t come out like our usual selves,” Dez Wells added. “We have to learn from this game. It can’t happen again … Teams like that can beat teams like us if we don’t play as hard as we have to.”
Still, the Terps did manage to claim their largest margin of victory this season largely in part to a solid shooting night and a strong defensive effort.
Maryland shot 58.1 percent from the field while holding Monmouth to 20.6 percent. It was the sixth straight game Maryland has held its opponent to less than 35 percent shooting from the field.
The Hawks’ 38 points were the fewest Maryland has allowed since holding UMES to 38 on Jan. 6, 2004, and it was the first time the Terps have held an opponent to fewer than 40 points since Penn State on Dec. 1, 2010.
“We guarded. We defended,” Turgeon said. “A lot of it was us, some of it was them.”
Faust led all scorers with 16 points on 5-for-10 shooting and added three assists, while Len posted a double-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high five blocks and Wells scored 10 points and grabbed five rebounds.
“Coach kicked our ass in the locker room,” Wells said. “It’s a learning experience we have to take from that. As leaders, we have to step up. I have to step up and be more vocal when things aren’t going good. I can’t just talk to guys when things are good. That’s something I’ll get better with.”
With the win, Maryland picked up its ninth straight victory. It’s the longest win streak for the program since claiming 13 in a row in 2001-02.
Now the Terps have a nine-day break before taking the court again vs. Stony Brook on Friday, Dec. 21. And after tonight’s showing, the break couldn’t have come at a better time for Turgeon.
“We just weren’t ready. That’s what it comes down to,” Turgeon said. “That’s good for me because we’ve got a lot of time to practice now. I’m really looking forward to it.”