The Terrapins lost to North Carolina on Saturday after a valiant and hard-fought game where it looked like Mark Turgeon had his old mentor Roy Williams on the ropes early on. How did Maryland get the jump on the Tar Heels? By relying on a tactic that Turgeon has been reluctant to embrace all season: perimeter pressure. On the season, Maryland has forced fewer turnovers than almost every team in the country, posting a defensive turnover percentage of 16.9% which puts them at somewhere around the 325th best in the country in this category. Worse, when it comes to steals, Maryland is the second worst team in the entire country, managing a takeaway on only 5.8% of defensive plays.
Yet, going into the under-eight minute timeout in the first half, sure-handed Tar Heel Kendall Marshall already had five turnovers. Mark Turgeon unleashed the dogs on the Tar Heels and their perimeter pressure rattled North Carolina. It was an effective tactic that kept UNC’s guards off-balance and helped key an early lead for the Terrapins. Certainly North Carolina rallied to win the game and Kendall Marshall going forward only turned the ball over once more on his way to a 16-assist game. Still, the game was competitive when it probably shouldn’t have been.