Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Goodnight, sweet prince

Maryland loses to South Carolina 75-67

I'm not going to poo poo the NIT run that the Terps put up like some spoiled Maryland fans. They may not have played great, they may not have even played good at times, but they did play hard, even when losing by almost 20 points last night. That was something that had been missing in the previous 4 game losing streak to end the ACC season. Caner-Medley made his usual bone head decisions in collecting a putrid 5 turnovers, which looks better when you consider he had 6 in the opening NIT game versus Oral Roberts. He certainly wasn't alone, 5 Maryland players contributed two or more turnovers. Even though the announcers and camera crew could not keep the focus off John Gilchrist in the final 10 minutes of the game his participation in the game probably would have not changed the outcome. After all Maryland was 2-6 on the road with him, consisting of the celebrated win over Duke and a double OT win at Virginia. It was hardly some sort of new low even though the Post tried to make it seem that way, not surprising it was a fill-in and not the regular Maryland beat reporter.

Nothing went right, to put it simply. Maryland out shot SC from the field and 3-point line, matched them in rebounds and even had more assists but still lost. The culprits were 21 turnovers, 40 free throws by SC, and 18 offensive rebounds yielded. South Carolina had an incredible 13 steals many of which resulted in points. Ekene Ibekwe and Travis Garrison were incapable of stopping SC from getting second chance baskets in the decisive phase of the game. More often than not it was the result of the help defender getting himself out of position hoping to come up with a spectacular block which left them totally out of position for the rebound. South Carolina wasn't able to hit many outside shots but didn't need to as they slashed through the Maryland defense with aggressive moves to the basket.

Mike Jones continued to struggle on defense and while he probably is the best clutch shooter on the team he will still thrown up some cringe inducing airballs from time to time. My buddy Kaiser pointed out that Jones would be better served to round out his offensive game instead of seeing himself in the "sniper" mold. He has shown the ability to do that.

Gist and Bowers were a non-factor in the game yesterday and it isn't really clear why. Bowers played all of one minute. Maybe it was a consideration of defensive matchups but unless this changes next year the front court will be a huge problem again next season.

Sterling Ledbetter struggled badly. He forced the action at the wrong time and made some costly turnovers while also appearing shaky when South Carolina pressed. He attempted to "make plays" while making many of the mistakes which perhaps helps to lessen the blow. He finished with more turnovers (6) than field goal attempts (5). His desperation 3-pointers at the end of the game were a little ugly. Before the Gilchristians pile on Sterling let me point out one item.

Gilchrist had 3 games this season in which he had 5 or more turnovers, including 6 in the celebrated win over Duke in Cameron. Last season he had 5 games with 5+ turnovers including a 9 TO game versus Virginia.

Other notes:

Bonnie Burnstein was behind the bench in a red suit, looking fine as always.

Apparently a drunk fan was removed from MSG for heckling Gary Williams, he serves as a great metaphor for the Maryland fan base. Drunk, fat and stupid is no way to go through life, sir.

ESPN announcer Ron Franklin made a ridiculous assertion that Caner-Medley intentionally tried to injure a South Carolina player while diving for a lose ball. Apparently if you work for ESPN you either have to avoid making any critical observations or totally fabricate a controversy.

University of Pittsburgh fans are suing the university in a class action for the extortionist season ticket seat "redistribution" that they have attempted.

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