Monday, February 02, 2009

Terps sink the "U"

It was a strange night at Comcast Center on Saturday. Gary Williams had an exuberant fist pump that was more along the lines of a shadow boxing round house. Maryland had a 5-star recruit at the game that would be the best high school player the Terps have gotten in many years if they signed him. Jin Soo Kim became part "folk hero and rock star" according to Maryland radio commentator Chris Knoche with an impressive dunk and 3-point basket. Greivis Vasquez finished just one assist shy of a triple-double. Maryland took a double digit lead late into the 2nd half again that was whittled away to a two possession game only to hold on with tough defense and clutch shots. The game ended with some chants of "Gary, Gary, Gary" coming from the stands. Afterwards Miami coach Frank Haith gave Williams a special congratulation for the victory and you could tell he knew how tough a week Williams had and was acknowledging how important that win was in a way only another coach could.

It was a great team effort with many contributions on both ends of the floor. Vasquez and Milbourne were the leaders but Adrian Bowie, Sean Mosley and Eric Hayes all gave good contributions. Dave Neal did just enough for Maryland even though his shooting is still not very good at the moment (only 1/5 from 3-point range). Jin Soo Kim gave a few tantalizing glimpses of his ability with an aggressive dunk and a crafty pump and shoot 3-point attempt, both with the shot clock winding down. Dino Gregory also filled in well and gave a quality 21 minutes with 4 points and 4 rebounds.

Gary Williams may have had his best coaching performance of the year. His switches from full court pressing, to zone and back to man defenses all payed off and the Terps didn't fade in the 2nd half like they had in some recent games. Maryland's defense forced Miami into a host of poor shots in the 2nd half and they only went 13/35(37%) from the floor. The Terps only had seven turnovers while playing a more small ball style and did a better job of milking the shot clock in the 2nd half to preserve the lead over Miami. Williams' substitutions were much better than in some of the previous losses and he did a very good job of spreading out the minutes and putting players in positions to succeed. I'm not sure why Miami didn't try to exploit their advantage with post players like Dwayne Collins who only played 21 minutes and took five shots but post play turned out to not be much of a factor in the game.

It was a great win that Maryland really needed with road games against North Carolina and Georgia Tech coming up.

It is worth noting that Vasquez moved past Duane Simpkins for fifth place all time at Maryland with 491 career assists.


Ken Davis said...

The Terps did a great job on Saturday. I was very pleased with Gary and his substitution patterns, which help to disguise the weak interior play. I am curious (but not concerned) with how Hayes will react to the news that he will no longer start but receive the same amount of on-court time.

I thought that Hayes was considering transfering at the beginning of the season because he feared losing the starting spot. I prefer to see Mosley get the lion's share of PT at PG as he shows more dynamic abilities than Hayes.

Vasquez and Gregory played solidly, especially Vasquez, whose shot selection was much improved as opposed to the previous three games. I'm pleased with the win although I still don't think this team is very good or deserving of a NCAA bid but I hope I'm wrong.

BTW, Esquire, while I am not completely convinced you were correct, I am leaning towards the possibility that I have been overrating Cliff Tucker's ability.

Great blog, Sir

Esquire said...

Thanks, Ken. I have nothing against Tucker. I hoped he would improve greatly over the past off season but he regressed since the season has started. Tucker has talent but not enough to still play at a high level when his effort is lacking. Too many games this season he hasn't been focused when he is on the floor and seems to be picking his spots to play hard. Maybe he will mature but his recent comments to the press, along with his laughing fit at the end of the FSU loss, make me very concerned.