Dec. 12, 2012
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) - Maryland played suffocating defense, never trailed in a lopsided victory and extended its winning streak to nine - its longest run since winning the national championship in 2002.
Nick Faust scored a season-high 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting to lead the Terps. The sophomore matched a career high by knocking down three 3-pointers.
Alex Len had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Dez Wells contributed 10 points. The last time the Terrapins won as many as nine in row was when they peeled off 13 consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference victories from January to March in 2002. The current run has come entirely against non-league foes.
Maryland (9-1) outscored the Hawks 40-17 after halftime, but before that point the Terrapins simply did not play up to their capabilities in building a shaky 31-21 lead.
"We got outplayed in the first half," Turgeon conceded. "They outhustled us. They played harder. They played tougher."
The expectations for Maryland have risen dramatically in Turgeon's second year at the school, so much so that a 33-point win is no longer satisfying if the team doesn't perform well.
"Coach knows we can get a lot better," said Faust. "We're just trying to move forward. We'll take that game and try to get better in practice."
There's a reason why Maryland plays teams such as Monmouth and Stony Brook in December, but the players are finding it difficult to stay focused with the ACC season just a few weeks away.
"These games make you better, but we're definitely looking forward to ACC play," Faust said.
It was Monmouth's third straight lopsided defeat. The Hawks (5-6) were coming off a 19-point home loss to Navy and a 52-point setback at Syracuse.
"This is an opportunity for our kids to do something that a lot of college basketball players will never get to do - play the University of Maryland on their campus," Monmouth coach King Rice said. "My guys will remember this for a long time. It's good for our guys to go in and battle."
Khalil Brown led the Hawks with 10 points. Monmouth made only 14 baskets and converted a dismal 21 percent of its shots from the floor.
After Monmouth closed to 31-23 early in the second half, the Terrapins used a 17-4 run to pull away. Faust opened the spree with a 3-pointer and Len contributed eight points, including two dunks and a follow-shot.
"Coach talked to us at halftime, we took his advice and tried to make changes in our play," Len said. "I feel like we were a lot stronger with the ball in the second half."
The Terrapins shot 62 percent in the first half but led by only 10 points because they committed 14 turnovers.
Monmouth took 17 more shots and held a 10-1 advantage in offensive rebounds, but leading scorer Andrew Nicholas went 0 for 7 from the field and did not make a basket the entire game.
Maryland made its first seven shots in taking a 15-5 lead. Len scored on a hook in the lane and off an alley-oop pass from Faust, James Padgett made a layup and a three-point play and Wells capped the surge with successive layups.
Faust then tipped in a miss shot, was fouled and converted the three-point play to spark an 11-5 run.