Thursday, February 02, 2012

Wacky night

Maryland's two overtime loss to Miami has to be one of the most bizarre games the Terrapins have played in the last decade. Four technical fouls were called, 47 total fouls, 5 players fouled out, Miami coach Jim Larranaga looked like he was about to keel over at any moment, and Mark Turgeon was tossed out of the game. Anyone who was worried that Turgeon was too Milquetoast for the ACC must have been heartened by his explosion when Nick Faust was called for a charge with seven minutes left in the game. After getting tossed Turgeon could be seen calling the official, Brian Dorsey, a "[bleeping] p*ssy" before he went to the locker room. I've always felt Jamie Luckie was one of the worst officials that regularly works ACC games, who can forget his technical against Greivis Vasquez that resulted in a DQ and Maryland's defeat against Boston College in 2007. This was an awful crew in a sport that has too many awful officials. I'm not sure what the ACC is really doing to improve the quality of officiating but this crew, well known as they are, should not be officiating ACC games next season.

The game itself was a poorly played affair until about 7 minutes left when Maryland, galvanized by their coaches ejection rallied to tie the game at 69 with a minute left. I thought assistant Scott Spinelli did a good job managing the game in Turgeon's absence and was probably more aggressive using the press than Turgeon would have been. The results were good as Maryland forced Miami into three turnovers in the final few minutes to tie the game.

I thought that once Reggie Johnson and Durand Scott fouled out that the game was Maryland's to lose going into the second overtime. A bad shot from Terrell Stoglin to start the second overtime and some defensive breakdowns sealed the game for Miami as they went out to a five point lead and never looked back. Maryland struggled to grab defensive boards at critical moments and could not guard Scott (24 points in 11/14 shooting). Pe'Shon Howard didn't start for some reason but still played 43 minutes though it was one of his poorer efforts of the season. He may have had 8 assists but he matched that with 5 turnovers and probably should have been credited with several more. His offense continues to struggle as he is shooting 24% from the floor (11/45) in ACC games. He simply could not stop Durand Scott, who isn't a particularly great guard, when matched up one-on-one. It is trend this season that Howard has really struggled to defend dribble penetrations. I don't know if his foot or conditioning are still an issue but he has been a liability on defense for a team that isn't blessed with great defensive guards.

Alex Len had a bit of a renaissance against Miami with 11 points and 7 rebounds to go with 4 blocks. He certainly played better than doughy Reggie Johnson. There were several moments in the overtime periods when I felt Maryland should work the ball to Len with Daquan Jones trying to guard him but Len's teammates didn't recognize the mismatch and the one time they did throw it into him it was a poor pass that resulted in a turnover. Len will be up against one of his biggest tests of the season with North Carolina coming to town with John Henson and Ty Zeller.

Terrell Stoglin has certainly put up points his last two games but I didn't think overall that he played as well as the stats would indicate. He was a little too focused on his 3-point shooting, he probably should have gone to the basket at the end of regulation instead of settling for a perimeter shot, and threw up a few too many bad shots for the game. Allowing for his mistakes without Stoglin Maryland didn't have a chance of being in the game last night. I really don't get the level of criticism for Stoglin in the press and even sometimes by Mark Turgeon. Scorer's like Stoglin are going to take some bad shots. He probably took too many 3-point shots but even players like Vasquez were guilty of that from time to time. I'm not sure where the idea came from that if Stoglin was more of a pure point guard that Turgeon's offense would run like a well oiled machine. It wouldn't. Turgeon's offense is fairly plain and not really suited for the talents of this squad. For his offense to function at a high level you need really talented players and Maryland only has one of those at the moment. This is a young team that is also a little light on offensive talent. Everyone needs to accept Stoglin for what he is, warts and all, because he is the only player that can keep Maryland competitive with their opponents in the ACC. I'm not sure watching Mosley, Howard and Faust clang shots off the rim is a great alternative.

Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg, who to use the language of his people is the biggest schmuck in the ACC, said Stoglin sometimes plays for both teams. Besides being a douche-bag Greenberg also happens to be wrong. In the 2nd half Stoglin scored 21 point on 6/12 shooting, including 4/8 from the 3-point line to sink Greengerg's Hokies. Not sure how that constitutes keeping the other team in the game. With a 10 point lead and three minutes left in the game Maryland should have coasted to a victory. Sean Mosley was called for a flagrant foul, turned the ball over and committed another foul resulting in the lead going down to 7 points. Then Nick Faust, who was in the game for some strange reason, missed the front end of two one-an-ones, followed by another Mosley foul. At that point the lead was down to five. The only role Stoglin had in the harder-than-it-should-have-been win was he missed three free throws at the end. It had nothing to do with his shot selection or selfishness.

Stoglin will get his share of criticism and a guy who throws up 20 3-point shots should, but I would also point out it isn't fair to let guys like Sean Mosley, Pe'Shon Howard, Ashton Pankey off the hook while blasting Stoglin. Those three went 4/18 from the floor and had just as many boneheaded plays as Stoglin did, Mosley's charge on the a fast break may have just been the pivotal moment in the game, but they won't get much as a peep of criticism by Turgeon or the press. Throw into the mix that Steve Czaban of the local ESPN radio affiliate said ominously yesterday that sources had told him that Stoglin "didn't fit the long term plans of [Turgeon]" and I'm a little dumbfounded.

Turgeon isn't exactly burning up the recruiting trail with talented guards. Take Stoglin off this roster and next year they are likely to be the same level of team they are now, perhaps in the NIT but with a losing record in the league. A backcourt of Howard, Faust, Parker and a gimpy freshman Seth Allen would be one of the worst in the ACC. If Turgeon does chase off Stoglin it may be his down fall.

To end on a positive note Mychal Parker seems to be finding his groove as a sub scoring 6 points in just 15 minutes and showing some of his high flying athleticism. He is one of the few players who can run the floor well on a squad that has big men who rarely ever get out on the break. When Maryland was struggling to score his ability to get out in transition was a great asset.

1 comment:

itchy said...

I'm mostly in agreement on Stoglin. Besides his disappearing defense, I cringe when he jacks up a contested 3 with 28 seconds left on the clock (and I think that's the biggest criticism) but overall, he's the only consistent scorer.

He's a good shooter -- better than Vasquez was (except, oddly, at the free-throw line).

And, as you say, it's not like anyone else on the team is scoring. Stoglin has had games where he clearly has tried to get everyone else involved, and it's worked OK, but it's not going to be a miracle cure. I'd like to see it a bit more, but when it comes to crunch time, Stoglin is the guy, and he should be the guy.

He's been compared to Gilchrist, but I view Stoglin as both not as talented as John but also not as me-first. Gilchrist actually had a better supporting cast.