Maryland’s offensive continued to fire on all cylinders against N.C. State as they shot nearly 67% from the floor in the 2nd half to blow open the game. The turning point for the game was probably at the end of the half when Maryland’s offense stagnated for a brief stretch where they went 1/8 in the last 3:48. Maryland had a 33-23 lead at that point but the lack of offense and a few quick baskets by State got the lead down to four points with about a minute left in the half. Then Javier Gonzalez and Farnold Degand both fouled Eric Hayes in the last minute and Hayes drained all four free throws. Degand’s foul was particularly bad since Hayes was under Maryland’s basket with less than five second left and little chance to score before the half. The Terps went into the half with an eight point lead instead of four and the Wolfpack missed their best chance to make a game of it in the 2nd half. In the first seven minutes of the 2nd half the Terps went on a 20-10 run and never looked back.
Greivis Vasquez led the team with 19 points, 17 of which were in the 2nd half. It was a good sign that even though Vasquez only had 2 points at halftime Maryland still had an eight point advantage. Most of that was due to some excellent play by Landon Milbourne, Jordan Williams and Cliff Tucker who combined for 27 points on 10/16 shooting. In the 2nd half Sean Mosley and Vasquez carried the load early as Vasquez scored 10 points in the first 7 minutes and Mosley scored six to help build a double digit lead.
Maryland strategy of doubling on Tracy Smith worked well initially though N.C. State was able to hit four 3-point shots in the 1st half to keep the game close. In the 2nd half the Wolfpack only managed to hit 2/10 from beyond the arc and settled for jump shots. Many State fans may grumble at Maryland’s 33 free throws compared to their team’s 16 but N.C. State only committed five more fouls the whole game. When you play passive and take a load of jump shots you are not going to get fouls. Conversely Maryland was attacking the basket for most of the game and drawing fouls. I’m surprised the foul discrepancy wasn’t higher.
Jordan Williams continues to improve as he scored 9 points and grabbed a team high 9 rebounds. He got help guarding Tracy Smith but held his own on the defensive end. By the end of the season Williams may be an even bigger factor on the offensive end.
Sean Mosley probably doesn’t get enough credit for being a very good player on this team. Vasquez rightly is in the spotlight but Mosley continues to produce solid numbers on a nightly basis. He often gets characterized as a effort player who does all the dirty work but that label tends to suggest that he isn’t much on skill and that is far from true in regards to Mosley. Even on nights when he isn’t shooting well like against Wake Forest or N.C. State he fills up the stat sheet in other ways. Against Wake he grabbed 13 rebounds to go with 8 points and on Saturday even though his shooting was off he was able to get to the free throw line 13 times. It would be more accurate to say that Mosley is a jack of all trades who can do everything well and give you production in many phases of the game. His defense hasn’t been quite as good this season as last year but it is worth the tradeoff with his impressive offensive improvements.
|Sean Mosley||FG%||3pt%||Reb/game||O Rating|
Mosley has been able to make all those improvements without shooting many more shots and is one of the most efficient offensive players in the ACC.
The third forward spot continues to be a slight trouble area as Jordan Williams is still prone to foul trouble. Dino Gregory did a better job on the boards then he has been as he grabbed a decent 6 rebounds in 22 minutes. His 8 point total is a little deceiving as the majority of his scoring came with Maryland cruising with a 20 point lead. James Padgett got a few garbage minutes as the game was winding down and grabbed a few rebounds. Padgett really needs to work on his free throw shooting as it has become a major liability for a player who draws so much contact. Eric Hayes and Adrian Bowie had solid but not noteworthy games. Bowie only took one shot and Hayes went 1/6 from the floor, missing 3 of his 4 shots from outside.
It is hard to find much fault in a game that was such a thorough trouncing as you’ll find in conference play. With Maryland’s offense producing the way it is right now it will be hard to beat this team at Comcast Center. I think a major difference from early in the season is that the staff has finally figured out a good rotation and has done a better job of bringing along Adrian Bowie and Cliff Tucker. Tucker in particular has become an asset off the bench much like Drew Nicholas in the 2002 title season. His recent ability to do scoring damage in limited minutes has been a major factor in the impressive offense Maryland can field. Gary Williams indicated that last season it took him till about February to figure out how to best use his players. This year he seems to have found the formula a month sooner and it could result in the kind of season Maryland fans were hoping for in October.