Maryland basketball aims to spread the scoring around


Sean Mosley is second on the Terps with 10 points per game. (Toni L. Sandys/THE WASHINGTON POST)
December 3, 2011

With a 3-3 record, Maryland is a team that’s short on superlatives at this point in the season.

And the Terps’ most notable statistical achievement — boasting the ACC’s leading scorer in sophomore guard Terrell Stoglin, who’s averaging 21.0 points per game — isn’t necessarily the bonanza it might seem.

To be sure, Maryland wouldn’t have won the three games it has (against UNC Wilmington, Colorado and Florida Gulf Coast) without Stoglin, who was the Terps’ top scorer in each victory, accounting for 22, 32 and 24 points respectively.

But for Maryland to reach its potential as a team, the scoring burden must be shared more broadly. And that’s what Coach Mark Turgeon hopes to see Sunday, when Maryland (3-0) takes on Notre Dame (5-3) in the second game of the BB&T Classic at Verizon Center.

“For us to be any good, [the scoring] has got to spread out a little bit,” Turgeon said Saturday.

That doesn’t mean he wants Stoglin to score any less. The 6-1 guard has an invaluable knack for creating shots from thin air and generating points by slashing to the basket and drawing fouls in the process. Turgeon simply wants more of Stoglin’s scoring to come out of the offensive scheme rather than despite it.

It’s a message he tried to convey during the second half against Illinois last Tuesday, as the Terps veered from the offensive script and what had been a nine-point lead slipped from their grasp.

“We had broken a couple plays,” Turgeon recounted, “and I said, ‘We’re never going to be any good unless we start playing as a team. It’s about getting better. We get so caught up in the moment, trying to win that situation, that we don’t think about the big picture, which is a lot more important.”

With just seven available scholarship players until 7-1 center Alex Len joins the team Dec. 28 and, ideally, sophomore guard Pe’Shon Howard follows in January, Maryland doesn’t have endless scoring options. But the Terps have enough, Turgeon insists — particularly if they’ll trust in the offense, themselves and one another.

For starters, Turgeon would like all-purpose senior Sean Mosley to insinuate himself more in scoring.

The only fourth-year player on the squad, Mosley has gamely taken on the role of team leader, setting a hard-working tone in practice and serving as the coach’s voice on court. And everything Mosley does, he’s doing well— second on the team in scoring (10.0 ppg); tied for second in three-pointers made (10) and blocks (four); third in rebounds (5.3) and steals (three).

Turgeon’s only gripe is that Mosley isn’t selfish enough when it comes to his shot, which is falling nicely this season (44.4 percent from the field; 45.5 from three-point range).

But “me first” isn’t a concept that comes naturally to Mosley, who took just four shots against Illinois and six against Florida Gulf Coast (hitting .500 both games).

“It’s not all about finding your shot,” Mosley said Saturday. “It’s about getting your teammates better. For me, it’s trying to get my team to execute and run the plays coach wants us to run— trying to do everything to win. I spend my energy on the defensive end, and the offense end comes. We try to execute the offense, and sometimes we take quick shots that cause the offense not to click. It’s a work in progress for us.”

Freshman Nick Faust is a key part of that work-in-progress. Converted from shooting guard to point guard after Howard broke his foot, Faust has faced the steepest learning curve of all the Terps. And his shooting has suffered for it. In six games, he has made just 12 of 49 field goals (24.5 percent) and just three of 22 from 3-point range (13.6 percent).

Turgeon believes Faust’s slump reflects a loss of confidence, and insists the freshman is capable of far more than he has shown.

Meanwhile, forward James Padgett is steadily improving, scoring a career-high 16 against Illinois. And Turgeon says there’s no reason why Ashton Pankey, Mychal Parker and Berend Weijs can’t contribute double-digits.

“It’s just a matter of sharing the ball, running the offense and trusting your teammates,” Turgeon said. “It’ll come.”

Liz Clarke currently covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post, she has also covered five Olympic Games, two World Cups and written extensively about college sports, tennis and auto racing.
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