CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Losing to the nation’s No. 9 team -- which, really, was likely a broken metacarpal away from holding onto their preseason No. 1 ranking -- on the road in a hostile former conference rival’s arena is no reason to think less of Maryland.
In fact, head coach Mark Turgeon feels the exact opposite way.
“I don’t like our team. I love our team,” he said, recounting what he said to his players after Tuesday night’s 89-81 loss. “I didn’t love our team until tonight. It sounds funny. We were 6-0 and lost a game, but my guys showed me a lot tonight.”
There were 1,000 ways that Maryland could have been out of this game by the end of the first half. They were averaging almost a turnover a minute by the under-eight timeout. North Carolina was launching from three and hitting, seemingly squashing any timely Maryland three with one of their own.
Marcus Paige was a menace in his season debut, now healed after breaking a bone in his hand that kept him out up until this point in the season. He had 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting and 4-of-5 shooting from three-point range.
But back came the Terrapins, trimming the halftime deficit to six and tying the game, 69-69, with 8:49 to play.
Much of that was on the back of Trimble, who rebounded from a troubled first half to go shot-for-shot with Paige and finish with 23 points and 12 assists.
“I think after a loss, a lot of team their heads are down, they worry about how hard the next practice is going to be,” Trimble said. “I feel like this team, once we go into our next practice, we’re just going to get better.
“The conversations we had this game were all positive.”
Maryland returns to the floor on Friday against St. Francis.