SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — One night after he failed to hit a single field goal, Terrell Stoglin erupted for a career-high 32 points to help Maryland claw back from a double-digit deficit and defeat Colorado, 78-71, in the second round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Classic.
But for all of Stoglin’s heroics, the victory was the result of a collective, exhausting and unrelenting effort after Maryland fell behind a bigger, deeper opponent by 12 points in the first half.
The comeback gave the unseasoned Terrapins sorely needed confidence 24 hours after their 62-42 drubbing at the hands of No. 16 Alabama, in which they shot 26.5 percent and their starting guards — senior Sean Mosley, freshman Nick Faust and Stoglin — combined for just 12 points.
Against Colorado (1-2), the same trio combined for 63 points, with Mosley adding 16 and Faust contributing 15.
To Maryland Coach Mark Turgeon, the comeback against Colorado, coached by his close friend, former college teammate and longtime assistant Tad Boyle, meant more than statistics could convey. It meant affirmation of the methods he has drilled into his players from the first day of practice. Chiefly, that passing the ball to set up the best possible shot pays more dividends than jacking it up for a quick score.
“It’s huge for everybody involved,” Turgeon said afterward. The players “see the stuff we’re doing works when we come from behind against a good team and win. You can take 10 practices, and it wouldn’t have [accomplished] what this game did today.”
Count Stoglin among the converted.
“Coach told us to be patient,” Stoglin said. “And to let the game come to me. ‘Don’t rush it.’ I just wanted to listen to Coach tonight, and it worked.”
The victory boosted Maryland’s record to 2-1 and earned a meeting with Iona, a 94-88 winner over Western Michigan, in a 2 p.m. game on Sunday.
It was an entirely different Maryland team that took the floor Friday, with players yelling, “Motion! Motion!” from the first possession. They moved the ball around crisply and patiently. Stoglin tossed up the first attempt and hit, accomplishing in 30 seconds what he failed to do in an entire game Thursday.
On a subsequent possession, Maryland worked the ball for so long that Mosley barely got a shot off before the shot clock expired. But his three-pointer swished through, and Mosley played and shot with assurance rest of the night.
First-half turnovers cost the Terps dearly, translating to 11 fast-break points for Colorado. After Maryland took a 10-5 lead, Colorado went on a 19-2 run.
The Buffaloes took a 34-26 to the break and seemed to have the game well in hand, with bigger bodies and more of them.
But Maryland came out swinging to start the second half.
Stoglin pulled the Terps within four. And Mosley hit back-to-back three-pointers to pull Maryland within one, 51-50.
The spirited bunch of Maryland fans chanted “Defense!” And the Terrapins crashed the boards ever harder.
Faust knotted the score at 56 by driving to the basket for an underhand scoop.
Just when Colorado regained the upper hand, Maryland clamped down on defense and went on an 11-0 run. Faust hit a three-pointer with 8 minutes 8 seconds to play. Then Stoglin, saddled with four fouls, gave Maryland its first lead since early in the first half. Stoglin couldn’t miss, reeling off 10 consecutive points for Maryland.
Colorado’s shooting, meanwhile, went stone cold.
With three seconds left, Faust stripped the ball and raced down court for a splashy dunk but was clobbered on the way up. The buzzer sounded before an intentional foul was called, and Faust came up limping. Turgeon said later it was cramps rather than an injury.