It was a surprisingly entertaining game between the Gophers and Terps last night. It wasn't a well played masterpiece of basketball artistry but both teams gave a very good effort in the kind of game that often musters little enthusiasm. The lethargic performances by Florida State, Syracuse and Virginia in other games last night show that it isn't always easy to get a good effort in these circumstances. The game had the plodding pace of a Big Ten wrestling match but Maryland was able to get out in transition from time to time and shoot well enough to pull out a ten point victory.
The offense is still a work in progress as evidenced by the 39% shooting. Gary Williams elected to start Adrian Bowie in place of Landon Milbourne last night and probably tinkered with his line ups more than he has in years. Braxton Dupree, Cliff Tucker, Jerome Burney and Bowie all had significant minutes in the 1st half. I wasn't as concerned about the outcome as I was pleased to see Williams take some chances in a game that really didn't matter much. The bench was somewhat effective as Milbourne, Tucker and Dupree combined for 16 points. Both Bowie and Tucker were effective in getting out in transition against the less athletic Minnesota backcourt. Dupree showed more desire and hustle than he had in months. He hasn't had that kind of effort since the Illinois game and it may bode well for next year. Coming back from winter break in poor physical condition really set him back.
Greivis Vasquez had a solid night with 16 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists. He limited his turnovers to "just" three and was under control for most of the game. He had several impressive assists. James Gist continues to struggle and only went 4/11 from the floor with 11 points and 6 rebounds. He is trying too hard to prove he can score outside the lane and except for several transition dunks has avoided the post area. Bambale Osby had the kind of game that fans have grown to love this year. He had his usual passion and added 14 points and 6 rebounds while hitting 8/11 free throws. Neither Boom nor Gist did a good job on the defensive boards and they had several breakdowns on high screens.
The defense overall was good but Minnesota helped out by bombing 30 3-point shots during the game even though they only hit 26% for the night. The Gopher fans were upset at the officiating but when you are taking half of your shots from 3-point range you won't draw many fouls. Despite the poor defensive rebounding Maryland grabbed 47 boards compared to Minnesota's 38.
This sets what could be a very enticing game with Syracuse at 7pm on Thursday shown in the Bermuda Triangle of ESPNU. Baltimore's Donte Green plays for Syracuse and has indicated he is excited to play this game against the home state team. This is the same guy who told 2008 Terrapin recruit Sean Mosley that he "wouldn't be his boy" any longer if he chose Maryland. Green is a slightly inferior version of James Gist and loves to shoot 3-point shots. The Orange are certainly talented but lack smarts and hustle at times. Playing the Carrier Dome isn't the advantage it was a few years ago and Robert Morris gave them all they could handle. It should be interesting.
Defense : 86.6