There were plenty of negatives the Maryland men’s basketball team could take away from its narrow home win against American to start the season. The Terps had 18 turnovers. They shot 38.5 percent from the field and made four of their 14 shots from behind the arc.
But there was a bigger issue from Friday night’s game, one that coach Mark Turgeon and his players both noticed.
“What’s the one thing that hurt us tonight in this game that we have to change?” Turgeon asked his team, as he recalled Monday. “And they said, ‘We all got to be more unselfish. We got to play more together.'”
The lack of cohesion didn’t result in an upset. Behind guard Melo Trimble’s 22 points, Maryland staved off a mid-major program. But when the Terps play better teams, such as when they face Georgetown at the Verizon Center on Tuesday night, Turgeon said that type of play will yield a different result.
“Unfortunately, Melo had to do it — had to be Melo — the other night for us to win the game,” Turgeon said. “But we’re not going to win games if Melo is taking 19 shots and the next closest guys’ six. We’re just not going to win.”
On two occasions late in Friday’s game, Melo dribbled the ball at midcourt while the other four players stood around. As the shot clock wound down, the All-Big Ten performer drove into the lane with a swarm of Eagles closing in on him. Trimble made two difficult layups during that stretch, tying the game at 47 with less than six minutes to go, but the plays validated Turgeon’s points. Other players need to become more involved, the sixth-year coach said.
Trimble brought up the team’s selfishness after the win. He said the Terps didn’t move the ball around enough and tried too often to beat their defenders 1-on-1. This development resulted in turnovers, something Trimble said Terps have made sure to limit in practice.
“We run for turnovers,” he said.
To combat its poor field-goal percentage, Maryland has focused on shot selection while watching film. In practice, the Terps have worked more on perimeter passing, hoping to produce open shots for players such as freshman guard Kevin Huerter, who knocked down two 3-pointers against American in the second half.
“We know that we like to move the ball around,” forward L.G. Gill said. “We just got to trust each other and just play unselfish basketball.”
Four Terps players finished in double digits during last year’s 75-71 win over Georgetown — the first time the Hoyas played to College Park since 1973 — but Trimble is the only starter from last year’s group to return. He’ll lead Maryland (1-0) into the Verizon Center to square off against Georgetown (1-0) as a part of the second-annual Gavitt Tipoff Games.
Turgeon expects the Hoyas, which he views as a top-15 team in the country, to enter the contest with a “chip on their shoulder” after their narrow defeat a year ago.
“I might be shortchanging them. They might even be better than that,” Turgeon said. “One through 10, they’re as good as any team I’ve seen. They’re very talented.”
Throughout the preseason, Turgeon said the Terps remain a “work in progress.” He’s more concerned with how the team is playing when it starts its Big Ten slate.
Turgeon said playing Georgetown, one of the only Power Seven opponents on the Terps’ nonconference schedule, will help his team prepare for the competition they’ll face later in the season.
“I know we’re young — we’re a new team,” Gill said, “so a game like this will show everybody what we’re capable of doing.”