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Maryland storms back to beat Illinois St.: 5 things to know


Maryland storms back to beat Illinois St.: 5 things to know

Another second-half deficit, another Maryland comeback victory. Despite trailing by five points with seven minutes to play, the Terrapins stormed back to beat Illinois State 77-66 in the semifinals of the Cancun Challenge on Tuesday night in Mexico.

Five players scored in double figures, led by Rasheed Sulaimon's 18 points. Melo Trimble had 15 to go along with seven assists. Damonte Dodd was enormous off the bench as a garbage man, cleaning up inside to have 13 points and three blocks.

Here are five things you need to know as the Terrapins advance to face Rhode Island on Wednesday in the tournament's championship game.

1) A very different start

After going down 9-0 to Georgetown and struggling vs. Rider, Maryland got out to an early 10-2 lead vs. Illinois State by being disruptive defensively and hitting shots on the other end of the floor. That gave them some confidence, but Illinois State fought back.

2) Small ball continues to cause issues

Maryland struggles against small lineups. That has been proven through the season’s first three games and persisted on Tuesday night. Missouri Valley teams often use wing players as bigs, which is difficult for traditional bigs like Damonte Dodd or Michal Cekovsky when those wings end up spreading the floor.

In the first half, all three Maryland centers had two fouls by the under-four timeout. Stone had to sit not even three minutes into the game with two fouls.


3) The turnover problem

Illinois State brought pressure in the first half and it bothered Maryland. Unable to get its offense in a rhythm, Melo Trimble had turnover issues and no secondary ball handler stepped up to take the pressure off of him.

Head coach Mark Turgeon wants to use Jaylen Brantley more, but he still does not seem comfortable in that role. Rasheed Sulaimon had no assists in the first half.

4) Lack of three-point shooting

This Maryland team is built on the foundation from three-point shooters, from Jake Layman to Jared Nickens to Melo Trimble to Rasheed Sulaimon. If there is not a legitimate threat of Maryland making the opponent pay by helping from the perimeter, the offense sputters.

At one point, Maryland was 2-of-18 from three-point range. Head coach Mark Turgeon said in an interview with CBS Sports Network’s Doug Gottlieb after the game that he told the Terrapins to keep shooting.

They did and hit three of the next four to finish the game.

5) A late deficit and a strong push back

Maryland found itself in a familiar spot, down five points with seven minutes to play. From there, they went on a 25-9 run to fight back and close the door.

Illinois State really wanted to get the ball out of Melo Trimble’s hands in the first half. They didn’t do it as much in the second half and he picked them apart.

He laid a pair of perfect passes into the pocket to Damonte Dodd for dunks. He drove and dished to Jared Nickens and Rasheed Sulaimon for a pair of threes that helped to widen the lead down the stretch.

His ability to facilitate, including making a beautiful extra pass to Layman for a final dagger three with about a minute to go, changed the complexion of this game.

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Maryland football announces plans to honor the late Jordan McNair during 2018 season

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Maryland football announces plans to honor the late Jordan McNair during 2018 season

University of Maryland football players shared their plans to honor late teammate Jordan McNair this upcoming season Monday morning in College Park. 

This is the first media availability for players granted by the university since the 19-year-old's tragic June death following an offseason workout that left McNair hospitalized due to heatstroke. 

Sophomore center Johnny Jordan and junior offensive lineman Ellis McKennie each outlined how the team will remember McNair, beginning with a moment of silence during the team’s opener Sept. 1 against Texas at FedEx Field.

Additionally, each player will rock helmet stickers with McNair's No. 79 uniform number which the team plans to retire in 2020. The offensive linemen room will also be renamed in honor of McNair. 

On Friday the university's Board of Regents announced it is taking over the in-depth look at investigations surrounding the football program. Head coach DJ Durkin is currently on paid administrative leave and strength and conditioning coach Rick Court resigned August 14. 

As speculation continues to grow, Maryland is expected to have a decision made within the next two weeks



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Tony Dungy weighs in on the alleged toxic culture within the University of Maryland football team


Tony Dungy weighs in on the alleged toxic culture within the University of Maryland football team

Tony Dungy is about as cool, calm and collected as a person can get. And when it comes to his coaching style, it's exactly the same.

Fourteen years in the NFL spent as a defensive coordinator/coach and 13 years as a head coach earned Dungy a Super Bowl Championship with the Indianapolis Colts. He posted an overall record of 148-79 with the foundation that cursing and raising your voice wasn't necessary for success. 

The culture and coaching style of the University of Maryland football team is now under a microscope with the on-going investigation regarding the death of 19-year-old offensive lineman Jordan McNair. The university has taken responsibility for McNair's death after an ESPN article brought to light the abuse and "toxic culture" within the team, and what ultimately led up to McNair's passing under their supervision on May 29. 

It has also brought into question how high-level football teams are coached and if it's all just a part of the football culture. On Thursday, Dungy weighed in on the matter on 106.7 The Fan's Sports Junkies, simulcasted on NBC Sports Washington.

"Well first, I hope we don't just read into well, here was the culture, here's what the coach was doing so that's why this young man died," Dungy said.

Dungy recounted a scenario during his coaching career with the Colts where a player had an underlying condition that almost caused him to lose his life during a practice.

"You can't equate well, this happened because," Dungy went on to say. 

What Dungy does want people to understand is that the tough love, scream-in-your-face type of coaching style is not the stereotype coaches must adhere to. 

"But I do think we are a victim of caricatures. That we think that's the way it has to be."

"One of the last interviews I had before I got my head [coaching] job in Tampa, I was explaining to this owner how I was going to do things. He had heard about my reputation. He said 'I know you don't use profanity. You rarely raise your voice. How are you going to motivate these guys? How are you going to discipline? How are you going to keep guys in line?' And I said the same way my father kept me in line. By saying here's the rules and here's what we're going to do. I'm going to be like that with my players. And the guy looked at me square in the eyes and said 'impossible, that will never work in the NFL.'" 

Well, it did work for Dungy as his tenure spent as a coach in the NFL earned him enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016. 

Dungy noted in his interview with the Sports Junkies that the different personalities of coaches in the league highlighted in shows like HBO's Hard Knocks do not represent each and every coach. He mentions Jim Caldwell and Bill Belichick as successful coaches who are more mild-mannered like Dungy.

"And there's a thousand ways that work," Dungy said about coaching. "And you got to be true to your personality and everything. But the two coaches that I played for in the NFL – who won seven Super Bowls between them and were tremendous coaches, Hall of Famers – there was none of that. There was instruction, teaching, motivating, building you up and getting you ready to play, and so that's what I followed."