Terps rain threes, crush Winston-Salem St. 98-55

December 22, 2009 | Luke Jones

On a night when Greivis Vasquez finished two rebounds shy of a triple-double and the Terps shot an amazing 67 percent (12-for-18) from 3-point land, it was the contribution of two bench players that might be the most encouraging sign for the Terps (7-3) after an easy 98-55 victory over Winston-Salem State.

Any early-season doubts surrounding Vasquez have dissolved with the senior turning in two outstanding performances in a row. Vasquez scored 27 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds, but we’ve seen these performances from the outlandish guard before. Just ask North Carolina. As always, Maryland takes the good and the bad from Vasquez, and that’s not going to change in his senior season.

“I should get those numbers every game,” Vasquez said.

Vasquez’s dominating performance over the hapless Rams hardly qualifies as a season-altering moment, but the emergence of Cliff Tucker and Adrian Bowie from early-season comas bodes well for the Terps with the start of conference play less than three weeks away.

With the backcourt widely considered the team’s biggest strength, the juniors had struggled horribly in the season’s first nine games before breaking out Tuesday night.

Tucker scored 13 points, 11 coming in the first half, and hit three 3-pointers while Bowie chipped in nine points (all coming via 3-pointers) and five assists to provide the first-half spark for the Terps. The two were catalysts in a key 17-6 run over 4:02 of the first half, scoring 14 of those points.

The enigmatic Tucker has frustrated coaches and fans alike with inconsistent play despite spectacular flashes (see the North Carolina game last season) in his first two seasons at Maryland. The junior admits to not taking practice seriously in the past and credited a great week of work as the reason for his strong performance.

“In the first half, he got in the game and took his shots,” head coach Gary Williams said. “In other words, he was on balance, he took really good shots, he drilled them, and it was great to see. . .Tonight was a big step for Cliff. We have to figure out a way to get him out there.”

Struggling even more than Tucker was Bowie, who started 28 games last season and averaged 9.0 points per game. Entering Tuesday night’s game, Bowie’s production had fallen to just 3.0 points a game, including an abominable 7 percent from beyond the arc (not a typo). Bowie’s three 3-pointers against Winston-Salem State was three times the number of treys (1) he had made in the season’s first nine games.

“When I knocked down the first shot, everything just started feeling better from there,” Bowie said.

It’s hard to take much from Tuesday night’s game other than the ineptitude of Winston-Salem State (2-7), but the Terps will need Bowie and Tucker to perform well in reserve roles behind Vasquez, Eric Hayes (10 points), and Sean Mosley (12 points).

Bowie and Tucker will clearly need to sustain the success beyond one game—and against better competition—but it was a much-needed turnaround for two of Maryland’s role players.

- Vasquez led the team in scoring for the fifth time in the past six games, silencing concerns over his early-season funk.

“I think you saw tonight what he is capable of,” Williams said. “It is there and it will happen. Hopefully he is on his way.”

It was also the senior’s first double-double of the season and his last since March 12, 2009 against N.C. State in the ACC tournament.

- Maryland made 9 of 14 3-pointers in the first half and shot 67 percent from beyond the arc, a season-best. The Terps also shot a season-high 57 percent from the field.

- Tucker’s 13 points was his first double-figure performance since his 22-point explosion against North Carolina last season.

- Jordan Williams has grabbed at least five rebounds in all 10 games this season.

- Despite being outrebounded 19-14 in the first half, the Terps bounced back to lead the Rams, 25-17, in that department after the intermission.

- Maryland’s 98 points was its highest point total since a 101-50 victory over Missouri-Kansas City on Dec. 23, 2006. The 43-point margin of victory was also the biggest since the 51-point win against Missouri-Kansas City.

“I’m just pleased overall with what we did after not playing for awhile,” Gary Williams said. “Hopefully this gets us started for the rest of the year.”

Check out the final stats here and the live blog below.

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10:05 p.m. — Final score: Maryland 98, Winston-Salem St. 55

Back in a little with my post-game wrap.

You can check out the final stats here as you wait.

10:04 p.m. — Padgett scores to push the lead to 45 points. The frosh has seven points in the second half.

10:02 p.m. — Not really too much you can take away from this one except that Winston-Salem State is very bad.

Less than a minute remaining.

9:57 p.m. — Jin Soo Choi is now in the game, and sporting a new haircut. Ersin Levent is also on the floor. Remember, Steve Goins and David Pearman are out with knee injuries.

9:53 p.m. — After not scoring in the first half, Williams has 12 points to go along with seven rebounds. A solid performance by the freshman coming off the bench.

9:51 p.m. — Vasquez and Hayes go to the bench, signaling a probable end to their night with 5:00 to go.

Vasquez has 27 points while Hayes has chipped in 10.

9:49 p.m. — Vasquez hits a pair from the line, increasing the lead to 38 points.

The Terps will next host Florida Atlantic on Sunday afternoon. Not that I’m looking ahead or anything.

9:47 p.m. — Milbourne serves up the FACIAL (thanks, Marv Albert) on Lamar Monger as Hayes runs a beautiful fastbreak!

9:46 p.m. — Padgett banks one in from the line. And no, he didn’t call it.

Yikes.

9:43 p.m. — We’ve reached the under-8 media timeout with the Terps leading 82-50. This one has turned out to be exactly as I picture it, except for 12-for-17 shooting from downtown. Very impressive, but not something I expect to see very much with this team.

9:42 p.m. — Padgett checks back in with the Terps leading by 31 points. The freshman gets the ball in the paint, double-pumps, and scores. It would definitely be nice to see him get some quality minutes to build some confidence.

When the Terps get to the ACC schedule, they’ll need all three of their bigs to contribute.

9:40 p.m. — It’s been quiet night for Hayes, but two early fouls landed him on the bench early in the first half. With the new-found shooting from Tucker and Bowie, the senior sharpshooter could afford this one.

9:38 p.m. — David cleans up the missed lay-up with a dunk. Maryland has done a much better job on the glass in the second half, but Gary Williams won’t be happy with any more of those.

9:34 p.m. — Again, James Padgett is the odd man out in the frontcourt tonight, only playing four minutes in this one.

9:29 p.m. — Vasquez hits the jumper, giving him 25 points in the game. Maryland now leads by 30 with 11:56 to go.

9:27 p.m. — Yes, it’s only Winston-Salem State, but it’s very encouraging to see Bowie and Tucker wake up from their early-season coma in this one.

The two reserve guards have combined for 22 points in tonight’s game.

Timeout on the floor with 12:23 remaining and the Terps leading 67-39.

9:25 p.m. — Adrian Branch—err, I mean Bowie— hits another three. He now has three triples in the game after hitting only one in the first nine games of the season.

9:24 p.m. — Vasquez scores inside…and the foul!

After scoring nearly all of their points from the perimeter in the first half, the Terps have made a concerted effort to push the ball inside in the first five minutes of the second half.

9:20 p.m. — The Rams beat the press, leading to an alley-oop to Paul Davis.

Vasquez scores on a nice cut, however, on the other end.

9:16 p.m. — Jordan Williams scores inside to get his first field goal of the night. I’d like to see him get some extended time on the floor in the second half after playing only seven minutes in the first.

The freshman was really improving, posting a double-double against Villanova.

Williams scores again to push the lead to 21 points.

9:14 p.m. — Maryland looks much more aggressive on the defensive end since a slow start. Perhaps the nine-day layoff was a factor.

Vasquez gets another second-chance opportunity and is fouled going up. The senior nails both, and the lead is up to 19 points.

9:12 p.m. — Very nice reverse layup by Hayes on the look from Vasquez.

Following a turnover, Milbourne is absolutely HAMMERED by Jackson. The senior forward misses both free throws, but Vasquez grabs the offensive board and scores.

9:09 p.m. — Milbourne hits the jump hook in the paint to increase the lead to 14 points.

9:07 p.m. — The Rams get the ball to begin the second half with the Terps coming out in the press. Jackson gets whistled for traveling, and they’ll turn it over to Maryland.

8:54 p.m. –Check out the halftime stats right here at WNST.net!

8:52 p.m. — As I type from press row at Comcast Center, I have to pass along congratulations to Jimmy Patsos and the Loyola Greyhounds for a HUGE victory over Indiana in Bloomington. A great night for that program!

8:51 p.m. — We’ve reached halftime, with the Terps leading the Rams, 41-29.

8:50 p.m. — Milbourne forces the tie-up, giving it back to Maryland with 32.7 seconds to go. The Terps clearly needed to go on a run heading into the half, and that’s exactly what they’ve done.

8:48 p.m. — With one minute to play, the Terps have pushed the lead to nine points.

Make that 12 as Tucker hits his third trey of the half. Very encouraging to see the appearance of Tucker and Bowie in this one. Then again, it IS only Winston-Salem State.

8:44 p.m. — Vasquez’s three-ball goes circles the basket TWICE before dropping in.

It’s clear Gary Williams wants to see more tempo on the defensive end. Not an impressive effort on the glass in the first half.

8:40 p.m. — Milbourne hits the jumper from the foul line, and the Terps are back up by six.

With less than four minutes to go, you’d like to see the Terps go on a run to push the lead to double-digits.

8:38 p.m. — Gregory misses two from the line. While it’s clear Gary Williams prefers the experienced Gregory at the center position, he needs to make his free throws, especially as Jordan Williams showed an improved shooting touch in latter games.

8:36 p.m. — Milbourne stands his ground in the paint and draws the player-control foul on Jackson. He’s undersized, but no one should question the senior’s toughness at the forward position.

8:33 p.m. — Despite Maryland’s unbelievable shooting from beyond the arc (7-for-9), the Terps only lead 29-23. The half-court defense has been sloppy, and Gary Williams has not been happy with it.

Davis scores inside for the Rams to cut the lead to four.

8:30 p.m. — Tucker hits a three. The combination of Tucker and Bowie looking like Juan Dixon and Drew Nicholas in the early going. If only.

Brian Fisher answers with a three for the Rams, however.

8:29 p.m. — I just received a text message from Glenn Clark:

“Since when can they shoot?”

8:27 p.m. — Bowie with ANOTHER three. He has more triples tonight (2) than he had all season entering the game (1).

8:26 p.m. — Tucker hits the fallaway jumper.

With a subdued crowd, Gary Williams’ ranting is very audible. The head coach is not happy with his team’s half-court defense tonight.

8:25 p.m. — The Terps are 5-for-6 from downtown in the first nine minutes of the game. Very impressive, but let’s see if they can do it against the other school from Winston-Salem later in the year.

8:23 p.m. — Bowie finds an open Tucker who nails the three. As I wrote in the pregame, it’s very important for these two to grow some confidence going into conference play.

And as I type, Bowie hits a three. His shooting struggles have been no secret.

8:22 p.m. — The Terps fail to switch on the screen, leaving Shelton Carter wide-open for the triple and he nails it.

8:21 p.m. — Vasquez forces the steal but then forces a shot inside the paint. The Terps definitely looking out of sync on the offensive end.

8:20 p.m. — Lots of passing around the perimeter by the Terps, and they’re settling for jump shots.

Jordan Williams checks in for the first time, replacing Gregory. Gary Williams said Williams’ decreased playing time against Eastern Kentucky (Gregory’s return from suspension) was more about matchup problems than performance. It’s definitely something to monitor tonight.

8:18 p.m. — A second foul on Hayes will land him on the Maryland bench. A nice opportunity for Bowie to get some minutes. Now he has to do something with it.

Monger hits the baseline jumper for the Rams to cut the deficit to one.

8:17 p.m. — We’ve reached the first media timeout with the Terps leading the Rams, 10-7.

8:13 p.m. — Maryland showing a little 2-2-1 press to begin the game and playing man-to-man.

Fisher scores to tie the game at 7.

8:11 p.m. — Andrew Jackson hits the three to give the Rams an early lead. Three-point defense has definitely been a point of emphasis over the last couple weeks of practice.

Following a Milbourne score, the Terps force the turnover, and it leads to a layup for Mosley.

8:09 p.m. — Very nice start for Vasquez as he cans the three from the corner. After a rough start to the season, the senior really came on in the second half against Eastern Kentucky.

8:06 p.m. — As we listen to the Terrapins being introduced, just a couple more notes to pass along before tip-off.

* Hayes needs just 52 points to become the 48th Terp in history to reach 1,000 career points. His 87 percent mark from the line would be a school record.

* Mosley leads all ACC players in terms of improved scoring average from last season. His scoring is up 9.3 points per game, and the sophomore is shooting 63 percent from the field. It’s been a very impressive start for the Baltimore native, but can he continue it into ACC play?

7:58 p.m. — Though it comes as no surprise, it appears to be a very sparse crowd here at Comcast Center. With final exams wrapping up and students on winter break, the “Wall” is virtually empty tonight.

7:55 p.m. — Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

Winston-Salem State
G Lamar Monger
G Brian Fisher
G Andrew Jackson
F Paul Davis
C Sam Johnson

Maryland
G Eric Hayes
G Sean Mosley
G Greivis Vasquez
F Landon Milbourne
F Dino Gregory

7:53 p.m. — Just a minor piece of news to pass along. In addition to Steve Goins (knee), reserve guard David Pearman has a knee injury and will not play. This comes as no real consequence unless you were hoping to see Pearman in the final minutes of an anticipated “easy” victory this evening.

7:51 p.m. — It’s no secret the Rams do not figure to provide much of a challenge to the Terps, but these next four games provide an opportunity to work on areas of concern as Maryland approaches the start of conference play on Jan. 10 against Florida State.

While many have opined about the Terps’ struggles in rebounding and 3-point defense, Maryland absolutely needs to get more production out of its bench players. After playing major parts on the NCAA tournament team from last season, Adrian Bowie and Cliff Tucker have been very disappointing in the early stages.

After averaging 9.0 points a game and starting 28 games a season ago, Bowie is shooting under 31 percent from the field including an egregious 7 percent from beyond the arc.

Tucker’s play has not seen as dramatic of a drop-off, but the athletic junior has failed to provide the spark he did last season, which included a 22-point performance in a win over North Carolina.

It’s no secret that Vasquez and Hayes are not great defensive players, so it’s crucial for Bowie and Tucker to produce when they receive minutes.

7:40 p.m. — I’d like to send a special shout-out to all of the WNST fans that made the trip to tonight’s game! Be sure to check out all of our great trips at WNST.net!

7:35 p.m. — Good evening and Happy Holidays from Comcast Center as the Terps (6-3) are set to take on Winston-Salem State (2-6) out of the MEAC after a nine-day layoff for final exams. After only playing one game over the last 16 days, tonight marks the first of three games over the next eight days for Maryland.

Maryland’s last game was a surprisingly competitive 83-72 victory over Eastern Kentucky with Greivis Vasquez scoring a season-high 20 points despite being benched for the first six minutes of the game after arriving late to a shootaround.

The Rams began the season with three straight blowout losses to Oregon (94-43), Colorado State (57-40), and UC-Davis (99-79) before finally securing their first victory of the season against Atlanta Christian. Winston-Salem St. took on Wake Forest on Nov. 24, falling 76-52 to the Demon Deacons.

Tonight’s game can be seen on Comcast SportsNet+ with Al Koken and Ron Thompson providing the call.

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