Maryland faced a tough test in the Florida International Panthers, much tougher than coach Mark Turgeon would have wanted. However, his team responded in the second half as they were able to rally past the Panthers. Maryland was forced to play much of the first half without forward Ashton Pankey after Pankey bit through his lip and needed three stitches. The Terps also had to play a significant stretch without the ACC’s leading scorer, Terrell Stoglin, due to foul trouble.
Stoglin has been nursing an injury all week, and actually missed practice time this week with the injured ankle. Coach Turgeon said the rest in the second half, albeit due to foul trouble, helped keep Stoglin charged for the final stretch. Stoglin was 3-for-5 with 12 points in the second half, a marked improvement over his 1-for-8 first half.
Pankey, on the other hand, missed just about 15 minutes of the first half getting stitches after he had caught an accidental headbutt and bit through his lip. Pankey played 19 minutes in the second half though. Pankey finished with a career high 13 points, and also added 6 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals.
Pankey’s inside presence was too much for FIU to contain, at times. However, they also struggled with James Padgett and Berend Weijs – which hasn’t really been said before. Weijs was productive going 2-for-2 from the floor and collecting 6 rebounds. The 6 rebounds tied a season-high for Weijs.
Florida International and coach Isiah Thomas hung around, and actually had an 11-point lead at one point in the first half. Thomas had his team in a position to win until late in the game. FIU guard Jeremy Allen was scorching hot in the first half, with 14 points (4-for-5 from three), but finished with just 18 points.
Coach Turgeon commented on the teams second half play “Today is the first day that we guarded the way we’re capable of guarding. We’re not a great defensive team, yet, but we really guarded out there.”
Sean Mosley noted that the halftime adjustments were the key to the Terps win tonight “Coach [Turgeon] did a great job making those adjustments at halftime. We didn’t want to lose this game tonight and we came together as a team.”
The team concept was mentioned a lot tonight by both players and coaches. With key players missing during the game, and a comeback necessary to avoid an embarrassing home loss, it was a true team effort tonight. It sounds cliché, but it’s true – for tonight.
Maryland now has 9 nine days off to prepare for Radford on Friday the 23rd. For more news and updates from Maryland follow Brendan Darr on twitter: @BrendanDarr1067