This time, in the supportive confines of Comcast Center, Maryland came away with the victory, storming back from a five-point deficit with less than two minutes to upend the Hurricanes, 75-70.
Credit the poise of senior Sean Mosley, who drilled a three-pointer with 1 minute 37 seconds remaining that brought Maryland within two points.
Credit the toughness of junior forward James Padgett, who jammed in a put-back and converted the ensuing free throw for a three-point play that reclaimed the lead with 44 seconds to go.
And credit the lightning quickness of freshman Nick Faust, who stripped the ball with 30 seconds left to quash any chance of a Miami rally.
The result, which improved Maryland to 16-11, 6-7 in the ACC, was so gratifying to Coach Mark Turgeon that he said it felt like “three victories.”
But there simply was no equation that conveyed what it did for Terrapins players following their most humiliating defeat of the season, Saturday’s 71-44 drubbing at Virginia, in which they scored only 13 second-half points.
“It pulled us together,” Mosley said of Tuesday’s victory. “Chemistry. Family. Whatever you want to call it. I think it has pulled us together overall. And knowing that we did this as a team, it felt so much better.”
Sophomore Terrell Stoglin paced the Terps with 20 points. But Padgett was perhaps the squad’s most valuable player, pairing with Ashton Pankey to muzzle Miami’s 284-pound center Reggie Johnson (three points) while scoring a hard-earned 16 points, tying a career high, and grabbing six rebounds.
Mosley added 15 points, including 6 of 6 from the free-throw line, six assists and five boards.
It was Maryland’s third game in a six-day span. But instead of fading down the stretch, the Terps came out stronger in the second half, outscoring the Hurricanes 44-35 and outrebounding them 22-10 over the final 20 minutes.
“This says a lot about our team,” Stoglin said. “We don’t quit.”
Reinserted in the starting lineup, Padgett was a force from the outset, muscling inside to hit his first three shots. Maryland jumped out to a 13-3 lead on 5-of-5 shooting.
Faust was called for his second foul less than 10 minutes into the game but played on, given Turgeon’s limited options in reserve.
Miami (16-10, 7-6) soon found its shooting form, while Maryland squandered too many possessions with rushed, errant three-point attempts (hitting just one of their first eight).
Miami took a 35-31 lead to the break, having outrebounded the Terps 21-14 and scored eight second-chance points to Maryland’s zero.
At halftime, Turgeon pleaded for a better effort on the boards and asked his team to simply fight with everything it had, stay confident and play together.
It wasn’t a new message, but the Terps finally took it to heart.
Largely silent in the first half, 7-foot-1 center Alex Len came up with a huge block that led to a layup by Mychal Parker. Seconds later Len salvaged a busted play with a dunk for a 46-43 Maryland lead.
Miami went ahead with 12:09 remaining on a three-pointer by Trey McKinney Jones.
Len dunked again on an inbounds play and got the put-back that knotted it at 57 with 4:26 remaining.
With a 63-61 lead and three minutes to play, Miami was judicious with its possessions. The Hurricanes padded their lead to 66-61 from the free throw line before Maryland’s decisive spurt.
In ceremonies before tip-off, the No. 15 of Johnny Rhodes was raised at Comcast Center, the second jersey of a former Terrapin so honored in the last week and 18th in history.
Rhodes finished his Maryland career (1992-96) with 344 steals, which stands as an ACC record. A three-time all-ACC selection who helped Maryland to two Sweet 16 appearances, Rhodes was escorted onto the court by former coach Gary Williams.