Who: Maryland (9-1) vs. Stony Brook (8-2).
When: Friday, 8 p.m.
Where: Comcast Center.
DMV radio: 105.7 FM, 980 AM, 1300 AM.
Coaches: Terps — Mark Turgeon (Second season, 26-16). Seawolves — Steve Pikiell (Eighth season, 103-120)
Of the Maryland basketball team’s nonconference games outside of the major names (read: Kentucky, Northwestern and George Mason), two stood out to Turgeon and potential pitfalls for his young Terrapins. The first was LIU-Brooklyn, which Maryland dispatched, 91-74, on Nov. 16. The second is Stony Brook. The up-and-coming program has won five of six road games this season and could challenge for the first NCAA tournament appearance in program history behind a veteran lineup, while the Terps are coming off a nine-day break since a 71-38 win over Monmouth and ensuing academic finals. Maryland has just three games left before ACC play, and Turgeon figures this matchup to be far more of a challenge than recent routs against UMES, South Carolina State and the Hawks.
1. Start strong? Bursting out of the gates and burying Stony Brook early would help quell Turgeon’s trepidations. This means getting out in transition, using their top-to-bottom athleticism and not repeating this mental miscues that, against greater teams, could lead to their demise. This, of course, segues into the second question…
2. Keep the focus? Turgeon was clearly displeased with Maryland’s season-high 23 turnovers against Monmouth, and most of those came simply on poor decision-making in transition and in the back court. The Hawks employed a half-court pressure defense the Terps really haven’t seen this season, and the coughed the ball up a few times as a result. But they’ve had nine days to regroup, re-energize and make a statement for Turgeon. Playing a mistake-free game would go a long way towards gaining momentum heading into ACC play.
3. Execute the offense? More so than the turnovers, Turgeon was worried about Maryland’s lack of offensive execution against Monmouth, some of which can be attributed to the back-court disruption. The Terps will need to execue their secondary break and then transition smoothly into the offense, relying on a pass-first mentality to hit the open cutter and find shots.
48: Points by which Maryland beat Stony Brook in the teams’ only previous meeting, on Dec. 6, 2000.
10: Times in school history that the Terps have strung together a 10-game winning streak. Beating Stony Brook would make it 11.
69.2: Percentage of field goals Maryland has assisted on during the current nine-game winning streak.
”I think Coach is really worried about the game, because he knows how good this team is. This is a good test for us to prove to him that we’re working hard and getting better.” — Pe’Shon Howard
“I don’t know if it’s me or we’re so darn immature, but we’re just not improving at the rate I wanted us to. I know we’re getting better, but I want us to be great yesterday, and that’s just not happening.” — Turgeon
THE BIG MARK TURGEON STORY
Don’t forget to check out Rick Maese’s excellent feature on Turgeon.
THE TERPS TUNE OF TODAY
“Into The Sea” by The Album Leaf