Maryland believes its a better team than the one that advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament a year ago, and on paper, it should be.
Replacing the courageous—but underwhelming—Dave Neal with a pair of talented freshmen forwards and returning a plethora of key contributors—with an added year of experience under their belts—would cause even the biggest skeptics to assume success.
The problem is the Terps have failed to demonstrate this improvement in any opportunity they’ve received in the young 2009-10 season. With a chance to build a tournament résumé against the likes of Cincinnati, Wisconsin, and Gonzaga in the Maui Invitational, Maryland instead returned to College Park with only a win over Division II Chaminade and disappointing losses to Cincinnati and Wisconsin.
And with an opportunity to upset Villanova in what was essentially a home game at the Verizon Center, the Terps allowed the Wildcats to hit 11 3-pointers in the first half and never recovered in a 95-86 defeat.
So with a chance—on its home floor—to earn a quality win over a formidable CAA opponent in William & Mary, the Terps again came out flat and uninspired in a 83-77 defeat to the Tribe. While this loss doesn’t have the same embarrassment as losses to mid-majors Ohio, American, and Morgan State in recent years, the sting of another missed opportunity could hurt even more in March.
If the Terps truly are a better team than they were last season, they sure aren’t acting like it.
Maryland shot an abysmal 4-for-25 from 3-point range, settling for perimeter shots against the zone instead of attacking the paint. The Terps knew they couldn’t shoot the ball as well as the Tribe, but they fell into the trap anyway.
“If you’re a good shooter, you should make shots,” said senior Eric Hayes, who went 2-for-9 from beyond the arc in the loss. “I was pretty disappointed with my shot tonight.”
Defensively, the Terps allowed William & Mary to make six of 13 threes in the first half and fell behind by nine at the break. They adjusted in the second half by focusing on the perimeter defense but, in the process, allowed the Tribe to back-cut to the basket over and over.
William & Mary may not be the better team overall (though the argument can clearly be made that they are), but the Terps weren’t nearly as good playing the Tribe’s brand of basketball. Every time Maryland tried to make a run, the Tribe answered or the Terps failed to convert a golden opportunity, such as Greivis Vasquez’s missed three-point attempt with 10:03 remaining that would have shaved the lead to four points.
And when the Terps’ press finally began forcing turnovers and creating easy buckets, a 16-point deficit was too much to overcome in the final five minutes. Too little, too late.
“They did a great job,” Gary Williams said. “They’re a very tough team in that they don’t miss much that goes on in the game and they did a great job.”
Now 12 games into the season and less than two weeks away from ACC play, the only identity created by the Terrapins is an inability to start quickly—and enthusiastically—against quality opponents. With only UNC Greensboro and Longwood remaining on the non-conference schedule, it’s becoming abundantly clear the Terps will have their work cut out for them in the ACC if they want to return to the NCAA tournament.
An 8-8 or 9-7 conference mark is highly unlikely to impress anyone on the selection committee when your best non-conference win is over Indiana—the same school that finished 6-25 last year and recently lost to Loyola.
Simply put, it’s gut-check time for this team to figure out—and rectify—why it starts so slowly against tougher opponents. Otherwise, the same problems against Cincinnati, Wisconsin, and William & Mary will continue to plague the Terps—and their tournament chances—against Duke, North Carolina, and Clemson.
“As a leader, I have to prepare this team better,” Vasquez said. “We have to get ready for these games. If we can’t get ready we’re going in the wrong direction.”
– With 19 points and 10 rebounds (a season high), Landon Milbourne earned the first double-double of his career. The senior has now scored 19 points in three of his last four games.
– Hayes extended his streak with at least one 3-pointer to 18 consecutive games.
– Vasquez led the Terps with 26 points with Milbourne adding 19 and Sean Mosley scoring 12. The Terps have had at least three players score in double figures in 11 of 12 games this season.
– Maryland turned it over only eight times, the fewest number of turnovers it’s committed in a game all season.
– Check out the live blog below and the final stats right here.
9:34 p.m. — Back in a little with the post-game wrap.
9:32 p.m. — After the Vasquez fould, McDowell goes to the line and makes a pair. He has 28 points in the game for the Tribe.
Following a couple misses, Milbourne gets the layup, but that’ll be all she wrote.
William & Mary comes into College Park and knocks off the Terps.
Final score: William & Mary 83, Maryland 77
9:31 p.m. — Maryland is 4-for-23 from beyond the arc. They simply needed to make more shots against the zone and couldn’t do it.
Vasquez drives inside, drawing the foul and one! He makes the free throw to cut the lead to six points, but only 15.6 seconds remain after the foul.
9:28 p.m. — I credit the Terps for not mailing it in after falling behind by 16 points late in the second half, but the deficit was just too much to overcome.
The Tribe leads 80-67 with 44.2 to go.
9:27 p.m. — Maryland trails 76-67 with 54.5 seconds remaining. Sumner goes to the line and nails a pair.
9:26 p.m. — Milbourne misses both free throws, absolutely killing what bleak hope the Terps had.
9:25 p.m. — McDowell MISSES the open layup, but the loose ball goes out of bounds. The officials give it to William & Mary, and the Comcast crowd is quite audible in its thoughts on the decision.
Following a Tribe miss, the Terps push it up the floor, and Milbourne is fouled but cannot finish the layup. That would have been HUGE.
9:22 p.m. — Vasquez gets the steal in the full-court press and gets it to Milbourne for the one-handed slam! The lead is down to 9 points with 2:17 remaining.
Still not looking good for the Terps, but stranger things have happened.
9:20 p.m. — McDowell answers on the other end with a jumper to push the lead back to 13. As has been the case all night, the Tribe has an answer to every Maryland run.
9:19 p.m. — A 35-second violation will turn it back over to the Terps with three minutes remaining, and a 15-point deficit. Milbourne scores inside, and a quick turnover leads to a foul and a trip to the line for Milbourne.
9:17 p.m. — With the Terps trailing by 15 with 3:16 remaining, you have to go back to the 10-minute mark when Vasquez missed a three with the Terps trailing by only seven (astutely pointed out by Glenn Clark right beside me). The Comcast crowd was alive, and the shot would have cut the deficit to four. Since that point, it’s been all William & Mary.
9:15 p.m. — Hayes hits a triple, but the Terps still trail by 13 with four minutes left. A very difficult proposition considering Maryland is not a good outside-shooting team.
9:14 p.m. — Schneider misses the three, and the Tribe nearly gets the offensive rebound before Gregory grabs it. A perfect example of the Terps’ struggles on the glass. They just do not attack the ball nearly as well as they need to to overcome their size deficiencies.
It’s now a 16-point game after Schneider scores. 4:40 remaining.
9:11 p.m. — Kitts with another two-handed slam gives William & Mary a 16-point lead with 6:31 to go. Maryland takes its final timeout, and this one is not looking good AT ALL.
9:10 p.m. — Brown goes to the line for the 1-and-1 and hits a pair, giving the Tribe a 14-point lead. With seven minutes to go, the Terps need that run right about now if they’re going to pull off the comeback.
Milbourne misses the jumper on the other end.
9:09 p.m. — Jordan Williams goes to the line and makes the first but misses the second. Maryland really needs a couple stops on the defensive end. Every time the Terps appear ready to go on a run, the Tribe answers.
As I type that, Kitts finishes off a slam.
9:05 p.m. — Schneider hits the jumper. You HAVE to be impressed with how the Tribe can shoot the basketball.
We’ve reached the under-8 media timeout, as William & Mary holds a 62-51 advantage over the Terrapins.
9:04 p.m. — Vasquez is fouled going to the basket, and he appeared to be grabbing his left foot a little bit. It’s clear the Terps want to play a transition game, but it’s looked more out of control than anything.
Vasquez does hit them both to bring the Terps’ deficit to nine.
9:03 p.m. — The Tribe beats the press, leading to McDowell being hammered by Williams on the layup attempt. McDowell makes them both to put William & Mary back up by 11 points.
You have to give the Tribe credit for answering when it looked like Maryland was getting ready to go on a run.
9:02 p.m. — Vasquez misses the shot, and Milbourne cannot hit from point-blank range. HAVE to finish that shot.
9:00 p.m. — Vasquez takes it inside strong and scores, as the crowd explodes, trying to give the Terps a lift. Maryland then sets up the press, but Hayes is whistled for the foul.
Following the miss on the other end, Vasquez cannot hit the three off the dribble. He was feeling it, but it’s tough to take that one so early in the shot clock.
8:59 p.m. — Hayes is beaten on the backdoor cut by McDowell for the bucket. Cannot let that happen.
Williams scores on the other end for the Terps to make it a nine-point game.
8:58 p.m. — The fight for the loose ball is won by the Tribe who calls for the timeout.
8:57 p.m. — Williams scores on the second-chance opportunity, and he’s fouled! Big-time play by the frosh on a badly-needed bucket. He hits the free throw, but the Terps are whistled for a lane violation, wiping it out.
8:55 p.m. — We’ve reached the under-12 media timeout with Maryland trailing William & Mary, 54-43 with 11:57 remaining.
8:54 p.m. — Vasquez hits the bucket with a hand in his face, and the Comcast crowd comes to life.
Hess scores inside after being left free in the paint.
8:52 p.m. — Tucker just tried to fit the ball into a closed window to Milbourne, but luckily the Tribe knocks it out of bounds. He needs to score on that transition or at least draw the foul.
Maryland takes another timeout and only has one remaining with 12:57 to go.
8:50 p.m. — Hess makes one of two freebies, and the lead is pushed back to 12 points.
Vasquez is fouled on the short jumper and will go to the line for two. He misses the first but makes the second. The Terps have very little margin for error at this point.
8:48 p.m. — Mosley dribbles toward the basket and scores. The Terps immediately take the 30-second timeout to set the defense. It appears they’ll come out in the full-court press.
The Tribe beats it pretty easily, but Schneider misses the three.
8:46 p.m. — Vasquez misses an open look for three. The Terps just don’t have the ability to challenge the three with the perimeter shot. They need to get to the middle of the zone and attack inside.
On the other end, McDowell scores inside and is fouled by Gregory. McDowell completes the three-point play, and the lead is now 13. Ugh.
8:44 p.m. — We’ve reached the first official timeout of the second half, and Maryland trails William & Mary, 48-38.
8:42 p.m. — Hayes continues to be ice-cold from the outside, and McCurdy just hit one with a hand right in his face. Wow.
On the other end, Mosley misses the three but hustles for the offensive board and finishes at the hoop.
8:40 p.m. — Milbourne with a tough bucket inside, and Maryland switches to zone on the other end. It will be interesting to see how well the Terps can guard the perimeter shot.
8:38 p.m. — McDowell hits a three-ball, and the Terps turn it over on the other end. Despite good defense from Vasquez, Sumner scores inside on a tough shot.
Timeout, Maryland. William & Mary leads by 11 points with 17:58 to go.
8:37 p.m. — Miscommunication on the switch leads to Kitts driving the lane for the dunk, but he’s fouled by Mosley to prevent the bucket. The forward misses the first but cans the second attempt.
On the other end, Mosley gets into the lane and scores, cutting the lead to six.
8:34 p.m. — Maryland gets the first possession of the second half, and Milbourne gets the ball in the paint and scores. THAT’S what the Terps need to do against this defense.
8:30 p.m. — The teams are back out on the floor, and we’ll commence the second half in two minutes.
8:28 p.m. — Considering Maryland has the size advantage over the Tribe, it’s inexcusable to only have eight points in the paint at the half (William & Mary has 12). Maryland’s half-court offense is playing right into William & Mary’s hands, as the Terps will not win a perimeter game with the sharp-shooting Tribe.
8:22 p.m. — William & Mary is shooting a blistering 59 percent from the field to 35 percent for the Terps. Maryland has just not been able to figure out the Tribe zone and is settle for far too many low-percentage shots.
8:20 p.m. — Check out the halftime stats right here.
8:18 p.m. — Kitts takes it to the basket and beats Williams off the dribble to score in the final seconds.
We’ve reached the end of the first half with William & Mary leading the Terrapins, 39-30.
I would not want to be in that Maryland locker room, as I’m sure Gary Williams is going to give the Terps an EARFUL.
8:16 p.m. — Williams cannot hit the close-range shot, but Mosley is there for the offensive board and he’s fouled and will go to the line for two. Very nice hustle play that Maryland desperately needed.
Mosley drains the first, and William & Mary calls for a 30-second timeout.
8:15 p.m. — Vasquez commits the travel, and the Terps continue to struggle in the half-court offense, settling for far too many jumpers.
Following a missed three-pointer, Sumner grabs an offensive board and Milbourne fouls him. Gary Williams is VERY upset with that sequence, and Gregory is in the game for Milbourne.
Sumner hits one of two for the Tribe, giving them a nine-point advantage.
8:13 p.m. — Kendrix Brown goes to the line for two after the Williams foul, and he hits both of them, giving William & Mary an eight-point lead. Maryland REALLY needs some points.
Following the offensive rebound, Vasquez hits a badly-needed three for Maryland.
However, McDowell hits a triple of his own on the other end.
8:11 p.m. — Maryland’s just not making its shots right now, shooting only 39 percent while the Tribe is making 55 percent of its shots. Those numbers speak for themselves.
8:10 p.m. — We’ve reached the final media timeout of the first half with William & Mary leading the Terps, 31-25.
Dave Neal is here in attendance, drawing a big hand from the Comcast crowd.
8:08 p.m. — Schneider hits the three off a couple nice cuts by the Tribe, and Milbourne misses the jumper on the other end. Maryland’s just not making its shots right now.
Kitts scores on the other end to give the Tribe a six-point lead, and Gary Williams calls a timeout. He is VERY upset with his team’s defensive effort.
8:06 p.m. — Hayes misses the open three, but Jordan Williams grabs the board and is fouled. He’s really showing a lot more aggression than he did in the first few games of the season.
He makes one of two freebies, giving the Terps a one-point lead. William & Mary breaks the press again, and Kitts cleans up the missed shot and puts it in for the Tribe.
8:04 p.m. — The Terps have to make a better effort to keep an eye on Danny Sumner. The senior is 3-for-4 from beyond the arc.
Kitts misses the layup with Gregory defending, and the Terps get it to Mosley who takes a wild, ill-advised fadeaway that comes up short.
Gregory attempts to take the charge on Kyle Gaillard, but is whistled for the block. The Comcast crowd doesn’t like it, but Gregory was still moving to the spot when the contact occurred.
8:00 p.m. — We’ve reached the under-8 media timeout with the Terps leading 23-22 over William & Mary.
7:58 p.m. — McCurdy travels, handing it back over to Maryland. The Terps are trying to press, but I’m not sure how long you can stay in it if it’s going to lead to open looks for the Tribe.
Mosley hits the fadeaway jumper, allowing the Terps to regain the lead. His improved shooting will be huge for this team if he can continue it into the ACC schedule.
7:56 p.m. — McCurdy drives to the lane and scores, and Gary Williams immediately signals for Hayes and Mosley to return to the game.
Sumner then hits a three to give the Tribe a three-point lead. There is definitely a nice contingent of fans for William & Mary in College Park tonight.
7:54 p.m. — The Terps come out of the timeout in the press, and the Tribe beats it, leading to a wide-open look for Sumner, and he cans the three. He has eight points already.
With the shot clock winding down on the other end, Vasquez cannot hit the one-handed runner.
7:51 p.m. — Good ball movement for the Tribe leads to an open three for McDowell and he connects. Maryland has allowed too many open looks from beyond the arc already, but William & Mary isn’t hitting them…yet.
We’ve reached the under-12 media timeout with the Terps leading the Tribe, 15-12, with 11:54 remaining.
7:49 p.m. — What a great sequence from Vasquez as he blocks Marcus Kitts shot and takes it the other way, delivering a behind-the-back pass to Hayes for the wide-open triple. It’s good!
On the other end, Hayes commits the foul to send McDowell to the line for two. He hits them both to make it a 13-9 Maryland lead.
7:46 p.m. — Hayes misses the wide-open three on the in-bound play. His shooting has cooled off a bit since the break for final exams.
The double team forces the Tribe to turn it over on the other end.
7:44 p.m. — We’ve reached the first official timeout with the Terps leading the Tribe, 8-7. William & Mary has had a couple open looks at threes, but have only converted one.
7:42 p.m. — Williams swats McCurdy’s shot, leading to a Vasquez layup on the other end.
However, the Tribe works it around to Sumner who hits the three ball.
7:40 p.m. — The Terps grab two offensive boards on the same possession but cannot score.
A couple possessions later, McDowell hits the jumper with Williams giving him space to shoot.
7:38 p.m. — William & Mary controls the tip, and the Terps come out playing man-to-man. The Tribe works it inside to Danny Sumner, and he has the first bucket of the game.
On the other end, Mosley gets the ball off the cut and hits the jumper. Very good sign to see the sophomore hit his first jumper after missing Sunday’s game.
7:36 p.m. — Maryland will be wearing the home whites while William & Mary will sport green with gold trim.
7:34 p.m. — We’re just about ready for tip-off. Stay right here at WNST.net throughout the evening for updates, analysis, and breaking news. And again, follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for Glenn Clark’s sharp wit and comments through the game!
7:30 p.m. — With the students still on winter break, the Comcast “Wall” is very sparse again. Completely understandable, but it’d be great to have a full student section against a difficult opponent.
7:25 p.m. — Here are tonight’s starting lineups:
William & Mary
G David Schneider
G Sean McCurdy
G Danny Sumner
F Quinn McDowell
F JohnMark Ludwick
G Eric Hayes
G Greivis Vasquez
G Sean Mosley
F Landon Milbourne
C Jordan Williams
7:15 p.m. — In addition to their struggles guarding the 3-pointer, the Terrapins’ rebounding issues dating back to last season have carried over to the early stages of this season, even with the addition of talented freshmen Jordan Williams and James Padgett.
The good news in that department is the Tribe’s lack of size. Projected starting forwards Quinn McDowell (6-6) and Marcus Kitts (6-9) should not provide the matchup problems in the paint against Williams and Landon Milbourne. Both players should have success inside the paint—on both ends of the court.
7:00 p.m. — Maryland will need another big effort from Greivis Vasquez who was named ACC Player of the Week on Monday. The senior led the Terps with 26 points in Sunday’s win over Florida Atlantic, his third straight game eclipsing the 20-point mark and fourth out of five games.
Vasquez has raised his scoring average over the last seven games from 7.5 to 15.9 points, silencing those questioning his desire after flirting with the NBA Draft last June. His recent surge has allowed him to regain the team lead in scoring, surpassing three other Terps in double figures. Landon Milbourne (13.7), Sean Mosley (14.3), and Eric Hayes (12.4) are the other three in double digits scoring average.
6:55 p.m. — Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) to follow Glenn Clark’s one-liners and thoughts throughout the evening.
6:50 p.m. — Greetings and an early Happy New Year from Comcast Center as we’re 40 minutes away from a significant early-season test for the Terps (8-3).
William & Mary (8-2) comes to College Park with several impressive marks on the resume including wins over VCU and Wake Forest (in Winston-Salem) and a competitive nine-point loss to Connecticut in its season opener. Tony Shaver’s Tribe is currently in the midst of its second-longest winning streak in school history, winning eight in a row after dropping the first two games of the season to UConn and Harvard (in triple overtime).
William & Mary’s biggest strength lies in its three-point shooting, first in the CAA with 11.1 3-pointers per game and a 41 percent 3-point field goal percentage. The Terps will have to guard the glass and not allow second-chance opportunities for perimeter shots, something that’s been an issue for Maryland throughout the early part of the season.
Tonight’s game gives the Terps an opportunity to improve the non-conference resume after failing to pick up any signature victories in the Maui Invitational (Cincinnati and Wisconsin) or BB&T Classic (Villanova). While a victory over William & Mary would obviously not shine as brightly as last season’s upset over Michigan State, it wouldn’t hurt in March, assuming the Tribe has a successful run in the CAA.
A major story to keep an eye on this evening is the health of sophomore guard Sean Mosley. The Baltimore native sprained his left ankle on Christmas night and did not play against Florida Atlantic. While the injury is not considered serious and Mosley is expected to play this evening, Gary Williams hopes the injury will not hinder the sophomore’s explosiveness and defensive prowess.
Tonight’s game can be seen on Comcast SportsNet with Chick Hernandez and Ron Thompson providing the call.