It’s the end of the road for Mark Turgeon, the Maryland basketball coach who was fired less than 24 hours after the Terrapins lost 68-67 to 16th-ranked Duke in what will be a lasting March memory for both coaches.
The school announced on Wednesday that Turgeon’s firing was effective immediately and that associate head coach Matt Brady will serve as the interim head coach while a search for a new coach begins.
“Our players have been in a difficult spot for far too long,” Terps athletic director Damon Evans said in a statement. “I know the frustration, disappointment and frustration their parents have had to witness, but I know they have done everything they can to rise to this challenge. As head coach, Mark has worked extremely hard to remain focused on being the leader of this team, but the reality is that we just haven’t been winning enough games. While there have been individual bright spots this season, we just weren’t able to achieve our goal and that needs to change.”
Rodney Elliott had 15 points in a losing effort for Maryland on Tuesday night, and the loss marked the 20th straight time the Terrapins have dropped a game in which they led at halftime. Maryland’s previous record for futility in such an extended stretch was 17, set from Feb. 27, 1992, to Feb. 12, 1993.
The Terrapins appeared to have an opportunity to finally break through in this series after grabbing a 63-59 lead with 2:53 remaining.
But a steal and layup by Buddy Hield was followed by a 3-pointer from the corner that tied the game with 41 seconds left. The Blue Devils held possession and went ahead for good when Hield hit a jumper with 21 seconds left.
After Elliott missed a chance to tie it and the ball caromed out of bounds, Duke sealed the victory with two free throws by Zion Williamson with 3.6 seconds left.
The Terrapins had their best season under Turgeon in 2017-18. They went 29-8 and reached the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in the past five years.
A brief NCAA Tournament run was not enough for the Terrapins this time.