About four minutes into his sophomore season, Maryland men’s basketball guard Darryl Morsell lost track of Ithiel Horton.

Morsell was step-for-step with the Delaware guard across midcourt. But when Horton drifted toward the corner, Morsell ran to guard Kevin Anderson, who Anthony Cowan was already guarding.

If it was an attempt at a double-team, it was ineffective; Anderson easily spun around and hit Horton right behind him. As Cowan attempted to close out, Horton stepped in and drilled a 3-pointer.

It was an uncharacteristic mistake for a player who averaged nearly 30 minutes as a freshman on the strength of his defensive intensity. But it wasn’t Morsell’s only lapse of concentration in his sophomore debut, and his performance against the Blue Hens earned him a talk from coach Mark Turgeon and a demotion from the starting lineup against Navy.

The Baltimore native returned to form off the bench against the Midshipmen, Turgeon said, bringing energy on defense and driving to the rim on offense to help push the Terps to a 78-57 win and impress the coaching staff with his maturity.

“It worked. That’s what I wanted to happen,” Turgeon said. “Darryl and I have had a few heart-to-hearts and we’ve watched some film together, and he responded the right way. Which is great.”

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Morsell started the final 20 games of his rookie campaign and was a starter against the Blue Hens. But freshman Eric Ayala replaced him in the starting five Friday.

Once Morsell entered against the Midshipmen, however, he made it hard for Turgeon to take him out. He played four more minutes (27) against Navy than in the season opener, scored eight more points (15) and came down with three more rebounds (six).

“I just wasn’t doing what I was supposed to do and I wasn’t doing what [Turgeon] wanted me to do,” Morsell said of his performance against Delaware. “So he did what he was supposed to do. [He] coached me and disciplined me. … He felt like I responded well.”

[Read more: Maryland men’s basketball learned the dangers of letting offense affect defense]

At one point Friday, Morsell took Turgeon’s reminder that he “not take his time for granted” a bit too seriously. He tried to steal the ball from Navy guard Isaiah Burnett after a whistle in the second half, which Burnett took some offense to. That fired both teams up, and forward Bruno Fernando earned a technical.

It may have indirectly cost the Terps, but it showed that Turgeon had gotten through to Morsell.

He showed similar aggression on offense. With Maryland again struggling to shoot over a zone, Morsell used his slashing ability to record his third-most points as a Terp.

“That kid Morsell, we just couldn’t keep him in front of us,” Navy coach Ed DeChellis said. “They split us in the zone and they drove a few seams.”

Last season, Morsell’s defense and dribble penetration earned him playing time despite his abysmal 3-for-25 mark on 3-pointers. There’s been a lot of talk this year about his improved shooting, but he’s opened the year 1-for-5, and Turgeon has reminded him that unless he’s working on his shot every day outside of practice, he shouldn’t be shooting from distance.

So he was heartened to see Morsell looking to get to the rim more often Friday. The 6-foot-5 guard shot just 5-for-13 — including 0-for-2 from beyond the arc — but made five of his six shots from the foul line, a sign of how overmatched the Midshipmen defenders were.

“He played more like Darryl needs to play,” Turgeon said on a conference call Sunday. “He got to the rim, he got to the foul line. That’s the Darryl Morsell we recruited. … That’s what we need out of him.”

Turgeon also said that Morsell wasn’t the only starter who needed to improve on his season debut, but wouldn’t name the other. That mystery player also made the adjustments Turgeon asked of him, but it was only Morsell who was bumped from the lineup, and he reacted by putting in a dynamic performance reminiscent of his rookie campaign.

“Whatever I have to do to win, that’s what I want to do,” Morsell said. “Whether it’s come off the bench, whether it’s start, I really don’t care. I’m gonna roll with Coach Turgeon.”

Mark Turgeon wanted Darryl Morsell to play better, so he benched him. It worked.