COLLEGE PARK -- There was a heavy, ugly energy in the air late on Thursday night during the Maryland timeout that followed soon after forward Robert Carter, Jr. was called for his fifth and final foul.
After getting the ball stripped by Iowa guard Mike Gesell, Carter was called for a questionable reach-in foul. The crowd soured further when the replay was shown on the videoboard. Head coach Mark Turgeon was livid, as was Carter.
After the game, Turgeon couldn’t even recall what he said to the team in the huddle that followed. He only remembered Carter’s words to him.
“We’re fine, Coach,” the redshirt junior said to Turgeon. “Don’t worry about that. We’re fine.”
At that point in a game, teams can go one of two ways. They can react negatively to it, come out deflated and feeling wronged. Or they can do what Maryland did, which was feed off of the energy of the crowd, turning a negative into a positive.
Turgeon drew up a beautiful play out of the timeout that ended in a Diamond Stone dunk, then Gesell was stripped on a drive that turned into a Jared Nickens layup at the other end.
That put the Terrapins up six with just over a minute to play.
“Robert’s energy was terrific. After he was just so positive with the guys and with me,” Turgeon said. “I give all the credit to Robert. He was terrific after he fouled out.”
The steady veteran, who was also integral in breaking the Iowa zone midway through the second half, was just as level after the game.
“I was trying to get everybody’s focus off of me and rather on a win. You know, what’s the next play, who’s coming in, who’s going to make the shot, how we’re going to make the next stop,” he said. “So I was just trying to keep everybody calm and just focus on the task at hand.”
That is another, less talked-about aspect of this Maryland team.
They might have the best pressure-situation point guard in the country with Melo Trimble. Jake Layman, Rasheed Sulaimon, and Carter are all seasoned players.
Get them in heated situations down the stretch and it might not be so easy to find a crack in the foundation.