Thursday, November 08, 2007

Terps cruise in exhibition

It wasn't pretty for most of the game but Maryland thumped Concordia 75-42 last night at Comcast Center. There isn't really much to take from this game as Concordia seemed gassed and played poorly after flying all over the country the last week. The offense was fairly ghastly for much of the first half and much of that had to do with nerves and too much freelancing by Greivis Vasquez. Vasquez is a great talent and a vital part of this team but he was out of control and failed to run the offense well last night. If that is a sign of things to come this year it could be fatal to Maryland's season. The fiery Venezuelan needs to stop forcing bad shots and fancy passes when running the offense would be a better option, especially with so many freshman who need the experience. It doesn't do them any good to have Vasquez chuck a 3-pointer or drive in the lane and then they don't get anything out of a possession. Gary Williams was not pleased with the sophomore's play.

Eric Hayes, sporting longer hair this year, looked pretty good. His defense has improved and he showed the ability to his some outside shots, going 2/4 from 3-point range. He looked good playing the "2" in the flex offense.

Landon Milbourne was impressive early when the offense was sputtering. He had 9 points in only 13 minutes, scoring the Terps first 6 points of the game, and looked pretty smooth on offense. He seems to have some ability to generate offense in the half court with his athleticism and ball handling. Time will tell if he can do that against ACC level defenses. He seems to have locked up the starting spot. He barely played in the second half along with James Gist as Gary Williams was tinkering with lineups.

Bambale Osby struggled in the game with 3 turnovers and poor shooting from the field. His defense was solid in the low post and for a short power forward gets more blocks and alters more shots that you would think.

Adrian Bowie was the best freshman and ran the offense well in the second half. He can really get to the basket and score off the dribble. His defense was also impressive.

Cliff Tucker had a quiet night that was also worth noting. He had 4 assists and two steals in the second half while playing with the whole mix of backcourt mates. He's coming along under the radar and may surprise some people with the minutes he may get on Sunday.

The freshmen frontcourt struggled a little in this game. Shane Walker gathered four fouls in just six minutes of play. Right now Braxton Dupree and Jerome Burney are not very advanced offensive players but their defense and rebounding will get them playing time. Both have the potential to become effective low post scorers. Dupree will help himself if he learns to draw fouls making use of his good free throw shooting.

The Good: the defense was stifling for most of the game. Concordia scored 10 points in the first 20 minutes, shot 27% from the floor and only hit 2/20 from 3-point range. After Maryland settled down they shot 55% from the floor in the second half and went 6/15 from 3-point range, which Gary can probably live with since most of those misses were poor shots by Vasquez.

The Bad: rebounding. Concordia out rebounded Maryland 42-39 and had 17 offensive boards. Much of that took place in the second half with freshmen on the floor. They need to learn spacing, stop standing around and rebound better or this could be a real problem for the Terps. It isn't much good to play great floor defense and then give up an offensive rebound. Foul shooting was also a problem as Maryland only shot 68% (21/31). Last season Maryland was 7th in the ACC in free throw shooting and it could cost them a game or two if they don't improve.

The Ugly: 18 turnovers, most of them unforced. Losing dribbles out of bounds, errant passes, offensive fouls, it was all there. Hopefully it is just first game jitters. Maryland can't afford to give away that many possessions with the offense being a work in progress. With Ohio State and Michigan State both blowing exhibition games themselves you still have to be pleased Maryland won easily and allowed its freshmen some valuable minutes. A win is a win, ask Kentucky fans.

Ratings:
Offense 97.9
Defense 55.5

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