COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Maryland should have scored 100 points on Wednesday night. Unfortunately, 24 turnovers and 31.6 percent shooting from three held them back. After a fast start that saw Maryland take an early 11-2 lead, the Terps slowed down in a big way, but never fell behind.
It was an awkward post-game press conference as Mark Turgeon and the selected players that came out for interviews seemed like the team that lost by 33 points on the evening. Turgeon is holding his team to a higher standard, which is a good thing for fans of Maryland, but one has to wonder if playing all these cupcakes before the start of the ACC season is potentially a bad thing long term.
Maryland, despite having superior talent, is playing down to its competition. They are turning the ball over at a "world-record pace" according to Turgeon. While they are getting wins, and by comfortable margins, are all these tune-up games necessary? Has the team gotten complacent?
"I scheduled so I could throw them into the fire. They are not handling ... we were playing Monmouth, nothing against Monmouth, okay, but our guys should play better against Monmouth," Turgeon continued, "You guys want me to be honest? I'll be honest. I'm disappointed, they need to give me more. I think the problem is people telling these guys how good they are and they're listening."
Turgeon obviously expects a lot out of his team and feels as though he isn't getting it right now. The players seemed down after the game as well, and Dez Wells revealed that Turgeon kind of laid into them, but rightfully so given how the game was going.
"It was a learning experience for us as a young team. We have to learn from this; it can't happen again," Wells said after the game.
One thing that stood out from Wednesday's game was the noted absence from Jake "Sunshine" Layman in the first half. After not seeing any time in the first half, Layman saw 13 minutes of action in the second half. Turgeon revealed that it was academically related and that Layman had to be in study hall on Monday instead of practice, because he didn't get his work done over the weekend. Turgeon added he was lucky he played at all.
"He's got to be tough enough to have confidence. No one gives you confidence, you give it to yourself," Turgeon said of Layman, "If he wants to play at Maryland he needs to be tough, and he needs to get it back. It's painfully obvious."
While confidence may be an issue for Layman, it doesn't seem to be a problem for the rest of the team. Hearkening back to the issue of competition, it seems like the players thought they could sleepwalk through this game and come away with a forty or fifty point victory. Obviously that wasn't the case, and at this point it is getting repetitive.
"We are averaging 19 assists a game, which is pretty good, and we pass the ball well. With that said, we are eighth in the country in assists, but like 270th in the country in turnovers, so obviously there is a disconnect there I need to figure out."
The Terps now have an eight-day break for exams to get things turned around before their next game against Stony Brook. With just three more out-of-conference games before they open ACC play, Turgeon and company will need to find a way to get things figured out. That conference opener against Virginia Tech looks a lot more difficult than it did at the start of the season. The Hokies sit at 8-1 and boast the nation's second-leading scorer in Erick Green.