With one Terrapin after another clanging shots off the rim, only Terrell Stoglin, the sure-shooting sophomore guard, kept his team in the fight.
Stoglin finished with a game-high 31 points. But Maryland’s 78-71 victory at Verizon Center proved more the product of a team effort than a solo one, signaling another step forward for Coach Mark Turgeon’s stripped down, unseasoned roster.
But every contribution by Maryland starters, reserves and walk-ons alike was critical down the stretch after Notre Dame pared an 11-point second-half deficit to one.
To be sure, Stoglin’s 31 points were dazzling entertainment.
“He’s like the microwave of College Park,” Notre Dame Coach Mike Brey gushed. “He hit tough shots; he’s a heck of a scorer.”
But Maryland (4-3) won the game in the details — in the selfless grunt work that Turgeon has drilled into his players with an evangelist’s zeal these last six weeks.
The Terps got to the free throw line and made their shots count, hitting 25 of 35. They hammered the boards, outrebounding Notre Dame 40-30 and, as a result, were rewarded with 23 second-chance points to seven for the Irish.
And after letting Notre Dame’s five-guard lineup pull within 55-54 with less than eight minutes remaining, Maryland toughened rather than sputtered. With the game in the balance, Mosley dove for loose balls, center Berend Weijs (seven points, six rebounds) grabbed clutch rebounds and Stoglin muscled his way to the basket for scores rather than tossed up unscripted, uncontested jumpers.
“I was kind of glad it was close for these guys,” Turgeon said afterward. “They made a run at us, made us a little bit nervous. We had to make plays. That did more for us than winning by 10 or 12 easily. . . . It’s no fun sitting over there [on the coach’s bench] while that’s happening. But it’s going to help us more down the road.”
Mosley’s tough play earned a compliment from Brey.
“I told him after the game he is a man!” Brey said. “He’s steady. He doesn’t do thing he can’t do, but he makes winning plays. . . . He’s a great example for my young guys. He’s there every day. He does what he’s supposed to do. And he goes and wins a game for you.”
The game pitted two young teams struggling to deal with catastrophic losses. Maryland lost its starting point guard, Pe’Shon Howard, on eve of season; Notre Dame (5-4) lost its leading scorer and most experienced player, Tim Abromaitis, to a torn knee ligament two weeks ago.
And it was all Notre Dame early on until Maryland, trailing 8-1, got 11 points from Stoglin. Mosley was credited with a basket on a goaltending, but Maryland managed just one “made” basket through the first 10 minutes.
Freshman Nick Faust’s three-pointer (his only score of the game) gave Maryland its first lead, 26-25. And Stoglin closed the period with a flourish, driving for an off-balance jumper that put the Terps up 35-30 headed into the break.
Maryland returns to Comcast Center for a Wednesday night game at 8 p.m. against Mount St. Mary’s.