The one thing that excited me about the Terps this year is that I felt they would improve in every game they play. For the most part they have, and tonight the freshmen stepped up against Illinois as Maryland defeated the Fighting Illini 69-61. It started last game against Lehigh when Braxton Dupree played well for Bambale Osby who was out for being sick. Dupree played well again tonight adding 10 points and 5 rebounds. Cliff Tucker who I have felt has played well every time he is in the game once again showed why he should be getting more PT. He contributed 9 points and 5 rebounds in 12 minutes of play, and was 4 for 4 from the field at one time. Adrian Bowie and redshirt freshman Jerome Burney also played well off the bench which Maryland will need as the season continues.
The story of the night, however, was Eric Hayes showing that he is more than capable of hitting three pointers. I am not asking him to be lights out, but if he can make 2-3 threes a game the Terps will be in great shape. Tonight he hit 4 en route to his 18 point performance.
I am very concerned with Greivis Vasquez. He has shown he can’t shoot from outside as he was once again awful from 3-point range (0-7). He finished 2-14 for the game, and for someone who was suppose to be an offensive leader, he has yet to live up to that this year. Gary Williams needs to tell him to stop shooting 3-pointers, but I know that will not happen. I will give him credit though. Vasquez chipped in with 7 rebounds and 10 assists. James Gist should be scoring 18 points a night without trying. He is that talented, but he has yet to find that kind of consistency thus far. Tonight he scored a quiet 12 points, but showed he can dominant on the defensive side with his rebounding and shot blocking ability. If both these guys can get their act together scoring, and with the emergence of the freshmen, and Hayes’ shooting ability, the Terps can be a legit threat.
I just heard ESPN analyst Jay Bilas say that Maryland is the third best team in the ACC. I do not know if that is the case, but at least this year I know they will continue to get better, unlike the teams from the past that were led by juniors and seniors.