It wasn't much of a contest between Missouri Kansas City and Maryland last week. UMKC stayed in their zone defense and Maryland began a long range attack like the Eight Air Force. Mike Jones hit 9 of his 13 attempts from 3-point range setting a new individual single game record in the process. He started off missing his first few attempts but then got white hot and scored 27 points in just 21 minutes, all on 3-point attempts. Jones also added 5 rebounds and 3 assists to his record setting performance. The team set another record with 17 three point baskets for the game.
There isn't much point in breaking down the game. It was a bad blowout against an over matched foe. A few of the interesting tidbits that came from the game. Greivis Vasquez and Bambale Osby replaced the struggling Eric Hayes and Ekene Ibekwe in the starting lineup. Hayes played well off the bench but Ibekwe didn't look all that great with only 4 points and 7 rebounds in his 19 minutes. If he doesn't get motivated by this demotion it may become a permanent move by Gary Williams. I'd be surprised if Ibekwe wasn't back in the starting lineup against American but he needs to show something in the next few weeks to firm up his hold on his starting job.
James Gist had another nice night with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Hopefully we are witnessing the light come on for Gist who has yet to tap into his enormous potential. It was his second double double in a row and third for the season. His free throw shooting has improved dramatically as he's hitting 78% of his freebies, by far the best rate among any of the big men. By contrast Ibekwe is only hitting 55% of his free throws and has become a real liability against a team with a deep bench that can hack away at Ekene.
I thought it was a embarrassing that Jason McAlpin jacked up a 3-pointer with only a few seconds left in the game. Gary Williams could only smirk when the ball went in and carried Maryland over the 100 point mark. The defense backed off for UMKC and McAlpin had already scored in the game. It was just the latest example of the lack of respect that athletes have for their opponents these days.
Guard Donnie Woods, who had a spinal injury scare during the Miami game, has left the team and will pursue his goal of joining the military or a law enforcement agency. I don't blame Woods at all. It was apparent that he was very scared by the nature of his injury, as any rational person would be, and unless you've lain motionless on a football field not knowing if you'll be paralysed you couldn't say what you would do in his shoes.
Another guard Garrick Clig, who was a reserve, will also leave the team.
This will leave Maryland thin on the offensive line again next season. Jamie Thomas replaced Woods and did a fair job in his absence. Maryland will likely playing with two new tackles next season as Stephon Heyer is a senior and Jared Gaither will likely enter the NFL draft. Gaither had a very mediocre season despite several preseason All-ACC teams but has his sights set on professional football. Dane Randolph and Scott Burley will both have to dramatically elevate their play at tackle or Maryland will struggle to pass protect next year.