Thursday, March 24, 2005

Finding A New Identity

The post John Gilchrist era has started in College Park. In pregame warm-ups Gilchrist told reporters that he was "done for the season"and then realizing what he had said, retracted the statement. He was made unavailable to the media after the game. As I said last week, Gilchrist has played his last game in a Terps jersey. Maryland wore down and outlasted a feisty Davidson squad last night at Comcast, 78-63. Davidson built a early 16 point lead on some hot outside shooting and Maryland mistakes but saw it evaporate in the last 4 minutes of the half when Maryland went on a 16-0 run. Davidson was clearly worn down by the fast pace and, with their legs failing them, shot only 25% from the field in the 2nd half.

Davidson was able to build a large lead because of the poor play of Travis Garrison and Nik Caner-Medley(who combined for 5 points on 2-10 shooting) and some costly turnovers. To be fair no Maryland player excelled in the 1st half of play. In his first start Sterling Ledbetter showed some jitters at the start but calmed himself and put up 5 points and 2 assists in the last 1:30 of the half. Fortunately both Garrison and Medley turned it around in the 2nd half and posted a combined 19 points and 10 rebounds on 6-16 shooting. Both were very aggressive on the boards in the second half. Mike Jones struggled badly on the defensive end and was yanked quickly after a couple of mistakes, as was Will Bowers.

If I have any critique of Gary Williams this season it has been his substitution patterns in regards to Jones and Bowers. There have been many moments I have noticed Gary pull Bowers off to the side and instruct him on a point of technique or strategy, but I can't think getting yanked moments after you make a mistake is going to help your development. When Caner-Medley makes the unacceptable mistake of griping about a non-call under the basket and lets his man get free on the break, like he did last night, he should be benched for that too. He doesn't, and there in lies the problem. This season has been a trying one for Gary and he has desperately tried to juggle the line-up in hopes of getting some consistency out of a bunch of players that he can never be sure will play well game to game. Hopefully in the offseason he will become more trusting in some kids and just let them play.

Read between the lines:

"He's legitimately got a bad wrist and bad ankle," Williams said. "We'll see what happens. To play and re-injure it might not be in John's best interest now."

"Sterling's more of a pass-first guard, so it changes the mind-set of how you're going to play the game," said junior Chris McCray, who had 11 points and six rebounds. "He's been playing great since the end of the season, and we're 2-0 with him starting."

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