Huerter scores 20 as Maryland storms back to beat UMBC 66-45
By DAVID GINSBURG
AP Sports Writer
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) Mark Turgeon had to suffer through an extraordinarily miserable first half before Maryland rewarded him with his 400th career victory.
After playing listlessly for 20 minutes, the Terrapins rode a strong performance by Kevin Huerter to beat Maryland-Baltimore County 66-45 Friday night.
Playing for the first time in eight days, Maryland (12-3) had more turnovers (10) than field goals (six) before halftime and trailed 24-18 at the break.
"I've been doing this a long time, and that was one of the worst halves one of my teams has ever played," he said. "I was saying to myself, `I gave them too much time off over Christmas.' We were rusty and we had no gumption."
Huerter said: "It started off with a lack of energy and probably a lack of focus on the offensive end."
The second half was entirely different. With Huerter leading the way, Maryland opened the second half with a 14-5 run and never relinquished the lead.
It was Turgeon's 150th victory with the Terrapins and 400th overall. Turgeon is 400-230 in a run that began at Jacksonville State in 1998, followed by stops at Wichita State and Texas A&M before his arrival at Maryland in 2011.
For a while there, there was some doubt as to whether No. 400 was going to happen on this night.
"Much more pleased with what happened in the second half," Turgeon said. "That was the most fun I've had all year."
Jairus Lyles scored 14 points for the Retrievers (8-6), who are 0-14 against Maryland in a series that began in 1987 but had been stagnant since 2002.
UMBC coach Ryan Odom knew it was going to take one heck of a performance by his team to sustain its showing before halftime.
"You could tell when I walked out of the locker room that they were going to be ready," Odom said of the Terrapins. "As they were warming up there, their coaches were doing a good job of talking to their guys."
Limited to four points over the first 20 minutes, Huerter made a pair of 3-pointers and a dunk during Maryland's pivotal run at the outset of the second half.
"They knew that they had to play with a little more energy and execute better, and they did that in the second half," Odom said.
UMBC went 7 for 38 from 3-point range and shot 29 percent overall.
After UMBC closed to 36-34, Anthony Cowan Jr. and Huerter hit back-to-back 3s, Darryl Morsell made a pair of free throws and Huerter capped the 11-0 run with another shot from beyond the arc.
Huerter finished with 20 points, Cowan scored 14 and Morsell added 13.
It was Maryland's first game since Turgeon announced Thursday that sophomore forward Justin Jackson will miss the remainder of the season with a right shoulder injury. Jackson was averaging 9.8 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds over 11 games.
Also, Turgeon announced after the game that reserve guard Andrew Terrell has torn ligaments in his ankle and will be sidelined 4-6 weeks.
HOT IN DECEMBER
Turgeon is 40-6 in December as Maryland's coach, including 31-3 at home. Those numbers are a big reason behind his 150-71 record with the Terps.
UMBC: Though the Retrievers faded in the second half, their performance on the road against a Big Ten power can only serve as a confidence boost before they get started in the America East.
Maryland: If the Terps were looking for a feel-good tuneup before getting into Big Ten play, this was not it. The first half did, however, serve as a reminder that Maryland must play hard and with emotion against any opponent.
"We have small margin for error with this team, but we'll get better," Turgeon said.
UMBC: The Retrievers close out 2017 at home against Centenary on Sunday afternoon.
Maryland: The Terps wrap up a six-game home stand Tuesday night against Penn State, the first of 16 straight Big Ten games to conclude the regular season.
www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25.
Updated December 29, 2017