COLLEGE PARK, Md - Despite suffering his first ACC/Big 10 Challenge, Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon sounded pleased with the effort his team put forth, particularly in the first half of the 71-62 loss to Illinois. The loss drops the Terps' record to 3-3, while Illinois advances to 7-0.
Speaking with reporters after the game, Turgeon said he saw improvement in his team after a rough road trip to Puerto Rico and though the play in the first half was as good as he had seen from the Maryland bench.
"I couldn't have been more proud in the first half," Turgeon said. "I feel a lot better tonight than last week."
Turgeon said the second half letdown can be attributed to a lot of things; poor offensive execution, poor point guard play, poor defensive rebounding and missed free throws. Turgeon also pointed out that Illinois is a good, well-coached team that had a gameplan and made adjustments after halftime.
"This is a great game for us to play this early in the year," the Maryland coach said. "I got a lot of faith."
Asked specifically about forward James Padgett, who starred early in the game with aggressive play and finished with 16 points and five rebounds, Turgeon was measured.
"I'm proud of him, but he's got to give us more. You got to do it for 40 minutes," Turgeon said.
Speaking after the game, Padgett voiced similar comments as his coach. "I have to go get it," the junior from Brooklyn said. "We're getting better. We have to learn how to win. Sometimes we make mistakes, we're a young team."
Padgett said that when his coach expresses confidence in him, it gives him more confidence. It showed early when Turgeon called for ball to go to Padgett on the block. He scored nine of his 16 points in the first half. He told reporters he was ready and excited for the opportunity to be the main scorer for this team in the interior.
The main scorer for the Terps continues to be Terrell Stoglin. He led all Maryland scorers with 25 points, and his coach said that his play was solid. Turgeon said that Stoglin will take some ill-advised shots, but that he can make those shots.
"The point guard play has got to be better," Turgeon said, adding that he was particularly disappointed with Stoglin early in the second half when the guard did not hustle back in transition defense.
"We're in a learning process. Everything's new," Stoglin said post game. He admitted that he rushed the ball at times and that the team defense slacked in the second half.
Padgett, Stoglin and Turgeon all seemed to be in agreement that the team showed improvement and there is much more work to be done for the Terps this year. All night against Illinois, senior guard Sam Maniscalco hurt the Terps. Through sharp shooting and an awareness for the game, Maniscalco led the Illini with 24 points, including five three-pointers.
Turgeon said after the game that Maniscalco "killed us. Killed us all night."
For more news, discussion and analysis on the Terps, visit SB Nation's Maryland blog, Testudo Times.