Dec. 21, 2012
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) - Maryland's 10th straight victory did not come easily.
Maybe that's a good thing for the young Terrapins, who surrendered most of a 20-point lead before escaping with a 76-69 win over Stony Brook on Friday night.
Maryland (10-1) hasn't lost since dropping the season opener to Kentucky on Nov. 9. All of those wins have come against non-league foes, and most of them have been blowouts. So coach Mark Turgeon didn't mind seeing the Terrapins put in a position where they had to excel at the finish.
"I think we needed a close game to see how we handled it," Turgeon said. "We just haven't been in that situation. There are some things we need to work on with a lead to make us better, things I'll add as we move forward."
Alex Len and Dez Wells each scored 19 for the Terrapins, who made only three field goals in the last 12 minutes but sealed the victory with six free throws over the final 27 seconds.
"We didn't have a lot of continuity the last 10 minutes," Turgeon lamented. "We were searching to find something to get a bucket."
Freshman guard Seth Allen contributed nine points on 3-for-4 shooting beyond the arc and Pe'Shon Howard had eight points and seven assists.
Maryland led 56-36 with 17:54 to play, but an extended cold spell left them nursing a 69-66 advantage in the final minute. Len missed two free throws with 54 seconds left, but the 7-foot-1 center grabbed the rebound of the second misfire and dunked it.
Anthony Jackson answered with a 3-pointer for the Seawolves (8-3) to shave the margin to two points before Howard and Nick Faust each made a pair of foul shots to seal the win.
"I'll take a lot of positives out of this game," Turgeon said. "Sometimes when it starts to go the other way it's hard to stop it. We couldn't stop it for a long time, but give them credit. They're good."
The 10-game run is Maryland's longest since a 13-game streak in the 2001-02 season and four short of the school record.
"If you'd have told me last summer that we would be 10-1 at Christmas break, I wouldn't have believed you," Turgeon said.
Jameel Warney led Stony Brook with 17 points and Eric McAlister had 12. The Seawolves had won four straight since losing at Connecticut by 11.
"Len hurts you because he's 7-1 and we have nobody that size," Stony Brook coach Steve Pikiell said. "But we came back. We were scrappy, we were tough. We made it a game in the second half."
Len scored five points in the first two minutes after halftime to fuel an 11-4 run that put the Terrapins up 56-36. Faust capped the spree by lofting a 60-foot pass that Wells collected on one bounce before dropping in a layup.
Maryland then went cold while the Seawolves rattled off 11 straight points. Allen ended the Terrapins' 4½-minute drought with a 3-pointer, and Logan Aronhalt followed with a buzzer-beating 3 to make it 62-47 with 12:27 left.
The Seawolves rallied but could not complete the comeback.
Wells scored 12, Len had 11 and the Terrapins shot 64 percent _ going 7 for 12 beyond the arc - to take a 45-32 halftime lead. Howard contributed six points and five assists.
"We haven't given up that many points in the first half all season," Pikiell noted. "Maryland was on fire."
After Warney opened the scoring with a layup for the Seawolves, Len had three baskets in a nine-point run that put Maryland ahead for good. It was 12-8 before Wells made a layup, a 3-pointer and a three-point play to launch a 16-7 spree.
Maryland hit 11 of its first 13 shots from the floor, including a 4-for-4 performance by Len.