Maryland Terps

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Turgeon offers reason for optimism after trying recent stretch


Turgeon offers reason for optimism after trying recent stretch

It is a group no coach wants to be in when the calendar flips to March.

When national pundits discuss the NCAA tournament in advance of the bracket’s release, there is always a group of four or five teams entering the postseason on a downward trajectory that were highly regarded for much of the season but are now seen as at risk for getting picked off in the first weekend of the NCAAs.

After losing four of six games to end the regular season, Maryland is often mentioned in that group right now along with teams like Iowa, Iowa State, Dayton, and Providence.

Even in the face of that, Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon tried to provide reasons for optimism during a conference call with the media on Monday.

“I think teams can turn it on a dime, but I’m not disappointed with the way we’re playing,” Turgeon said. “I’m disappointed that we’ve lost a couple games of late, but we have a 3-seed in a great league. We had a very difficult road schedule.

“Not many teams win at Purdue or at Indiana late. I think those games late in the season in hostile environments where we competed is going to help us for the postseason. It’s going to help us grow, help us grow as a team, keep us hungry so the league’s terrific. It really is. I’m happy to be the 3-seed and we’ve had to overcome some things and we’re looking forward to the postseason.”


If you are looking for contextual signs of positivity, begin with the schedule. Of the four losses in the last six games, the optimist can explain them this way:

- vs. Wisconsin -- Few teams in the conference were hotter over the second half of the season than the Badgers. The Terrapins were undefeated at home last season. There was bound to be a loss somewhere along the line.

- at Minnesota -- Even in the absence of Diamond Stone because of suspension, the loss was inexcusable. Turgeon would admit that the team wasn’t locked in. Fluke. Sub-200 RPI fluke. And really bad fluke. But fluke.

- at No. 20 Purdue -- Purdue will enter March as a matchup problem for teams because of their size. Even with a massive rebounding deficit, Maryland lost by only four points on the road to a ranked team

- at No. 13 Indiana -- Maryland started well, but the hot-shooting Hoosiers are the prototype for a team that gives the Terrapins trouble. Indiana spreads the floor and gets out in transition. That burned Maryland.

Optimism might also be found in personnel.

Melo Trimble has broken out of his slump, scoring at least 14 points in each of his last four games.

The Terrapins seem to have found something in their small-ball lineup, which shifts Jake Layman to the power forward spot and allows them to spread the floor more than at any other point this season. They had previously been constrained by minutes concerns, but those disappear by this point in the season.

Signs of optimism are only useful, though, if they ultimately bear results and that will be the question in the Big Ten tournament and the NCAA tournament. There are still plenty of concerns.

How much of an issue will rebounding be? Will the team’s inability to defend in transition negate their gains in the half-court? Will the chemistry between Trimble and backcourt mate Rasheed Sulaimon return to levels we saw earlier this season, when they seemed to be perfectly complementary parts?

Turgeon believes teams can turn on a dime, for the better or for the worse. It would start with a victory on Friday in Indianapolis.

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Maryland women's shooting struggles lead to second-round loss vs. N.C. State


Maryland women's shooting struggles lead to second-round loss vs. N.C. State

RALEIGH, N.C.  — Kiara Leslie had 21 points and 11 rebounds against her former team, and North Carolina State beat Maryland 74-60 on Sunday in the second round of the women's NCAA Tournament.

Leslie, who spent three seasons at Maryland before graduating and transferring to N.C. State, finished one point shy of a career high.

Kalia Ealey and Chelsea Nelson added 12 points apiece while Akela Maize scored 11 to help the fourth-seeded Wolfpack (26-8) earn their first Sweet 16 appearance since the late Kay Yow led an inspirational run in 2007.


N.C. State, which shot 45 percent and was 7 of 14 from 3-point range, will play the Oklahoma State-Mississippi State winner on Friday night in the Kansas City Regional semifinals.

Brianna Fraser had 17 points for the fifth-seeded Terrapins (26-8), who were held to 37 percent shooting.

Leading scorer Kaila Charles, plagued all day by foul trouble, finished with four points -- 14 fewer than her average -- on 2-of-8 shooting before fouling out with 2:29 left. She had scored in double figures in 30 of her previous 33 games.

Maryland's offense, which averages 80 points, had trouble scoring against one of the nation's stingiest defenses.

N.C. State allows 56.7 points per game and only one team in the past two months -- top-seeded Notre Dame -- has reached 70 against the Wolfpack.


Maryland: The Terrapins were denied their sixth Sweet 16 in seven years in part because their potent perimeter game was nonexistent. Maryland, at 39.1 percent the nation's seventh-most accurate team, missed all five of its 3s. Kristen Confroy, who's third in the nation from long range at 40.3 percent, didn't attempt one.

N.C. State: Leslie kept tormenting her former teammates by turning steals into layups. Big brother C.J. Leslie led the N.C. State men's program to a Sweet 16 in 2012, and now she's headed to one, too.


N.C. State will play either top-seeded Mississippi State or ninth-seeded Oklahoma State on Friday night in the Kansas City Regional semifinals.


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Big Ten season comes to a close for Maryland in final seconds of second round


Big Ten season comes to a close for Maryland in final seconds of second round

NEW YORK -- After struggling with injuries and poor play most of the season, Wisconsin is peaking at the right time.

Brevin Pritzl broke a tie with a foul-line jumper with 28 seconds left and Khalil Iverson secured the win with a steal in the waning seconds, leading Wisconsin past Maryland 59-54 on Thursday in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament.


Brad Davison and Iverson each made two free throws in the final nine seconds, and the ninth-seeded Badgers (15-17) advanced to the quarterfinals against top-seeded Michigan on Friday at Madison Square Garden after winning for the fifth time in seven games.

"It's a credit to these guys to my right and also the guys back in the locker room, how they've grown over the last month," Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. "It has been fun to watch and hopefully we've got a lot more basketball yet to play."

The win wasn't pretty, but the Badgers made all the key plays down the stretch and eight-seeded Maryland (19-13) didn't.

The biggest plays were offensive rebounds by Iverson and Ethan Happ after Pritzl and Davison missed 3-point shots with the game tied at 53.

After the second miss with 40.3 seconds to go, Wisconsin called timeout and Pritzl got the game-winner 12 seconds later.

"I think, especially at the end of this game, the possessions are magnified," Davison said. "When you do things right those final possessions, you can really turn things around."

Maryland had a chance to tie the game when Kevin Huerter was fouled by Happ with 9.2 seconds to go, but he missed the first of two free throws and the Terps came up short for the seventh time in 11 games.

"I feel like we were fighting uphill all night," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "We had the lead 24-23. It's the one time we had the lead. We tied it a bunch of times. It really came down to two things. We fouled too much and we couldn't get a rebound when we needed a rebound."


Happ had 14 points and seven rebounds for Wisconsin, which lost to Michigan State 68-63 less than a week ago. Davison finished with 13 points while Iverson had 11 and six rebounds and Pritzl 10 points. The Badgers, who lost starting point guard D'Mitrik Trice and reserve Kobe King to injuries in December, won despite shooting 36 percent.

"I personally figure we just have to string together an entire game for 40 minutes and just staying toe to toe with them like we did last game," Iverson said. "I know we'll be ready for them."

Huerter had 20 points to lead Maryland. Anthony Cowan Jr. added 16 points and Bruno Fernando had 12 points and nine rebounds.

Wisconsin never trailed in the second half, but it never led by more than three points in the final 11:40 until the closing seconds.

Pritzl's jumper broke a 53-all tie. Huerter then missed the first free throw and made the second. Maryland fouled Davison on the inbounds pass and he made both shots with 8.5 seconds to go for a 57-54 lead.

Wisconsin fouled Cowan rather than let him attempt a game-tying 3-pointer. Since it was a nonshooting foul, the Terps had to inbound with 5 seconds to go and Iverson stole Dion Wiley's pass and then closed the game with two free throws.

"He has evolved into our defensive end stopped," Gard said. "For him to come in and make a play like that at the end to seal it was great."