Terps’ swarming defense drops Fairfield, 71-42

November 17, 2009 | Luke Jones

On a night in which the half-court offense struggled, point guard Eric Hayes provided the offensive spark the Terps so desperately needed in the first half, leading Maryland to a 71-42 victory over Fairfield at Comcast Center Tuesday night

Hayes led the Terrapins with 14 points, 10 of those coming in the first half when Maryland mustered only 30 points and looked out of sync offensively despite a 15-0 run at one point in the half.

The Terps led by only 8 points at the break before running the Stags off the floor in the second half, outscoring them 41-20 and forcing 19% shooting in the second half.

“I wanted to step up and give us a boost,” Hayes said of his first-half performance. “The guys in the second half really stepped up and finished off a good team.”

The Maryland pressure forced Fairfield into committing 25 turnovers, and the Terps outrebounded the Stags, 41-36, despite Anthony Johnson grabbing a game-high 14 rebounds for Fairfield.

While Gary Williams praised the strong defensive effort, he emphasized the need for improvement in the half-court offense following the game.

“You can’t depend on your defense to force the turnovers all the time that lead you to scores,” he said. “You have to run your half-court offense.”

Sean Mosley added 13 points and led the defensive effort with four steals and seven rebounds.

Landon Milbourne added 10 points and eight boards as the Terps were thin in the frontcourt with the absence of Dino Gregory and the recently-injured Jin Soo Choi. After adjusting to the power forward position out of necessity a year ago, Milbourne has looked more comfortable in attacking the paint early in the season.

“I’m a player,” Milbourne said, downplaying the significance of his improvement at the four spot. “I’m just doing whatever the team needs from me to get the win.”

Greivis Vasquez struggled mightily in the first half, shooting only 1-for-7 from the field, but bounced back in the second half to finish with seven points and six assists. Williams downplayed the senior’s early shooting struggles, pointing out several nice passes Vasquez made to teammates.

“He’s getting his looks,” Williams said. “He’s a marked man. He’s gotten enough publicity this summer with where he will be picked on the All-America team. He’s got to handle that, and that’s what this part of the season is for. . .I’d rather him miss now than miss later.”

While it was a quieter night for Jordan Williams and James Padgett following the hoopla of last Friday’s opener, the two freshmen combined for 12 points and 12 rebounds.

While only dressing ten players in Tuesday night’s game, Williams points to the strong second-half efforts in the first two games and the team’s depth as keys to its success when conference play begins.

“I thought we played better [in the second half], and we were more aggressive offensively,” he said. “If we can play eight or nine players, then we can wear a team down. That’s part of the strategy, to try to keep the pace of the game up.”

- Maryland forced Fairfield into turnovers on five of its first six possessions of the game.

- Vasquez recorded the 500th rebound of his career against the Stags. He is the 38th Terrapin to record 500 rebounds in his career, and the only player also to have 500 assists.

The senior guard ranks 37th in Maryland history in rebounds (502) and fourth in assists (583).

- Hayes moved past Saruna Jasikevicius (1995-98) into eighth place all-time in Maryland history with his 137th three-pointer. The guard from Woodbridge, Va. made two long-distance shots on the night.

- Maryland finished the game with a 41-36 rebounding advantage, including a 16-12 edge on the offensive glass.

Fairfield had previously averaged an eight rebound per game advantage in its first two games against Central Connecticut and Fordham.

**Check out the box score here and the live blog below.

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9:55 p.m. — Levent is fouled and will go to the line for two.

He misses the first but hits the second, drawing a HUGE ovation from the students still remaining.

This one’s in the books with your final score: Maryland 71, Fairfield 42.

Back soon with the postgame wrap-up, and Gary Williams’ presser in the WNST Audio Vault.

9:53 p.m. — Ersin Levent is now IN THE GAME.

Let’s see if he gets to take a shot.

9:52 p.m. — Bowie with the nice feed inside to Padgett, giving the forward 6 points on the night.

Under a minute to go as Mosley just scored on the layup.

70-42.

9:51 p.m. — Tucker just terminated that layup attempt by Needham, earning a final explosion from the crowd in the final two minutes.

However, Jordan Williams just picked up his fourth foul.

David Pearman is in the game now.

9:49 p.m. — Despite tonight’s opponent not exactly being a powerhouse, Anthony Johnson has been a good test for Padgett and Williams. The 6-foot-8 forward is a big body and has grabbed 16 boards to lead the Stags in that department.

However, Williams and Padgett have done a nice job standing their ground despite Johnson’s presence inside.

9:47 p.m. — Bowie worked on his shooting in the offseason, but I’ve yet to really see much of a difference. His quickness is undeniable, but his lack of range makes him much easier to defend.

We’ve reached the 3:24 mark and our final official timeout of the night.

Maryland in cruise control, leading 65-40.

9:44 p.m. — Hayes goes to the line for 1-and-1 and makes both ends to give him 14 point on the night. It’s been a great night for the senior guard.

Tucker with the block and going the other way finishes the layup on a dime from Hayes.

9:40 p.m. — Mosley goes inside hard, drawing contact from Evanovich and sending the Baltimore guard to the line.

He makes them both, pushing the lead to 20, as Tucker replaces Milbourne on the floor.

Following the miss, the Terps go the other way as Vasquez dishes to Hayes who spins and scores. A BEAUTIFUL move there.

9:37 p.m. — Vasquez gets inside and scores. He’s played better in the second half after a very rough first half.

On the other end, Mosley takes the charge (he can do it all!).

We’ve reached the under-8 timeout as the Terps continued to control this one, leading Fairfield, 55-37.

9:35 p.m. — Mosley feeds Williams inside and the big man scores off the glass. It’s been a much quieter night for the freshman, but he has 6 for the Terps.

9:33 p.m. — Hayes and Williams return to the floor for the Terps and Williams appears to tie up Needham but the big man is whistled for the foul. Not sure about that one, but Needham will go to the line for two.

He’s perfect with both, and the lead is down to 16.

9:31 p.m. — Cliff Tucker goes to the line for two shots, making them both. The Terps will once again full-court press and force the turnover. Fairfield has REALLY struggled with the pressure tonight.

With the shotgun winding down, Padgett misses the jump shot and Milbourne grabs the offensive board and appears to be fouled but no call.

Evanovich makes one on the other end to cut the lead to 18.

9:29 p.m. — After the official timeout, Evanovich misses the three with the shot clock winding down.

Milbourne with the beautiful feed to Padgett for the two-handed slam!

Nickerson answers on the other end before Adrian Bowie hits the three-ball. The junior guard badly needed that perimeter shot.

9:24 p.m. — Padgett double-pumps and has his shot erased by Anthony Johnson. The senior forward has been a challenge for both Williams and Padgett tonight.

Evanovich hits a three on the other end, making it 44-29 with 12:29 remaining.

9:22 p.m. — The Terps are playing really good defense (or is Fairfield THAT bad offensively) and have forced two turnovers in the last 15 seconds.

Mosley scores, gets the steal and is fouled going up for the shot and he’ll have two.

He makes one of two and now has 9 points on the night.

9:18 p.m. — Padgett gets the bucket off the missed shot, and the freshman is on the board for the Terps.

Vasquez FINALLY hits a three-ball, as he held the follow-through hand in the air for extra emphasis. It’s been a frustrating night for him.

9:16 p.m. — Hayes fouls Needham as he goes up for the off-balance jumper. The little guard has been quiet after a fast start for Fairfield.

He hits both shots and now has 9 points to lead his team.

9:14 p.m. — We’ve reached the first official timeout of the half as Maryland leads 36-24.

9:13 p.m. — A beautiful dish from Vasquez to Milbourne gives the Terps a 12-point lead.

However, Shimeek Johnson answers on the other end.

9:11 p.m. — Vasquez takes it inside and is rejected by Anthony Johnson. He’s been a force defensively for the Stags, but he doesn’t provide much of any offensive game.

As I type that, he’s called for the moving screen. It’s his third.

Padgett has replaced Williams as Milbourne hits the jumper from the baseline.

9:09 p.m. — Milbourne goes hard to the hole but cannot finish the shot. Despite the miss, he’s definitely “looked” like more of a 4 this year if that makes sense.

He played admirably at the position last year, but he seems much more comfortable attacking inside so far this year.

9:07 p.m. — Vasquez takes the first shot of the second half, but he misses again. It’s certainly been a forgettable night for the senior so far. He also has three turnovers.

9:02 p.m. — The teams are back on the floor, and we’re a few minutes away from the start of the second half.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) as Glenn Clark is posting his thoughts during the second half.

9:00 p.m. — The Terps are shooting 40.6% from the field, including 2-7 from three-point range. Maryland needs to get to the line more in the second half after attempting just four freebies and making two. The Terps had 9 turnovers in the first half.

Fairfield is shooting 39.1% from the field and has turned it over 13 times.

Sean Mosley is leading the way defensively with 3 steals and 4 boards.

8:52 p.m. — Eric Hayes is your high scorer with 10 points while Mosley has chipped in 6 points, including the buzzer-beating layup to close out the first half.

Vasquez has really struggled from the field, going just 1-7 in the first half.

For Fairfield, Derek Needham has 7 points, and Anthony Johnson has pulled eight boards in the first half.

8:50 p.m. — Hayes misses the contested jumper with the shot clock winding down, and Fairfield will hold for the final shot.

Needham loses the ball, however, and Mosley takes it in for the layup at the buzzer!

We’ve reached the half with Maryland leading Fairfield, 30-22.

8:48 p.m. — Padgett stands his ground against Evanovich, forcing the missed shot.

At this point, I’m happy with the two freshmen if they can provide strong defense and rebounding. The offensive game will definitely come for each.

8:46 p.m. — Vasquez short on another jumper but Milbourne cleans it up.

The Terps once again show the press, but Williams cannot finish at the bucket going the other way.

Jamal Turner throws up the one-handed shot and it goes in somehow.

1:05 to play.

8:44 p.m. — The freshman cannot complete the three-point play.

The red-hot Hayes is back on the floor.

Johnson with a tip-in off the miss, as the senior forward continues to dominate the glass.

8:42 p.m. — Williams with the bucket. Count it, and the foul!

We’ve reached the final official timeout of the first half with 3:07 remaining.

Maryland leads Fairfield, 26-18, with Williams at the line for one shot.

The Terps are shooting 42% from the field and have really picked it up after a sluggish start.

8:40 p.m. — Nickerson hits a three to end the 15-0 run, but Adrian Bowie answers on the other end with a bucket.

Bowie cannot complete the three-point play.

On the other end, Mike Evanovich hits the trey to cut the lead to six.

8:38 p.m. — Jordan Williams just received a lesson from Anthony Johnson who just rejected the jump hook attempt.

Vasquez commits the travel, as we’ve seen several violations tonight.

Gary Williams pointed out earlier in the fall that walking would be a point of emphasis this season.

8:36 p.m. — Hayes hits the runner in the lane. He’s got seven points to lead the Terps in scoring.

Following an airball, Hayes hits a three.

The senior from Woodbridge, Va. is on fire, and Maryland is on a 15-0 run.

Exactly what the Terps needed.

8:35 p.m. — Hayes with the nice jumper off the dribble. We haven’t seen that very much out of the senior guard.

It’s critical for Maryland to go on a run here to pump the lead above 10 before the half.

Tucker tries to drive to the hole but is out of control and commits the travel.

8:32 p.m. — Vasquez tries to go left, but his shot is rejected. Rough start for the Terps’ leader.

We’ve reached the under-8 timeout, and Maryland leads, 15-12.

8:30 p.m. — Maryland is having trouble with Anthony Johnson inside. The senior forward already has five rebounds.

Padgett misses the shot, but Mosley is there to put it in.

8:28 p.m. — The Terps begin to press, trying to pick up the tempo in this one.

Tucker with a nice pass to Mosley who is fouled and will go to the line for two. The sophomore hits both, and the Terps regain the lead, 13-12.

8:26 p.m. — Milbourne will the silky-smooth baseline jumper. His versatility is absolutely huge for the Terps, especially being so thin at forward.

Maryland continues to have trouble with the Stags’ halfcourt pressure, as Bowie misses the three.

He then stumbles trying to catch a pass and commits the foul on the other end.

Not a good 30 seconds for the junior.

Jamal Turner, however, misses both free throws.

8:21 p.m. — Hayes back in the game after that last turnover.

We’ve reached the under-12 timeout.

12-7, Fairfield leads.

This isn’t the football team, correct?

8:20 p.m. — Needham again takes it to the hole as he blows right past Vasquez.

Hayes misses the three on the other end, as the Terps are ice cold to begin the game.

Adrian Bowie and James Padgett will see their first action of the night.

8:17 p.m. — We have our first official timeout with 14:02 remaining in the first half, and the Terps trailing 8-7. Sloppy start to this one.

8:16 p.m. — Needham is very quick as he drives to the bucket for two and then gets the steal on the other end.

On the other end, Williams is whistled for the offensive foul, and the students have a choice word for the call. I’ll let you figure it out.

8:14 p.m. — Williams with an inside bucket to give the Terps the lead. I’m really impressed with his aggression after he looked tentative in the early weeks of fall practice.

Good ball movement by the Stags to give Lyndon Jordan a wide-open look from downtown and he nails it to give Fairfield a 6-5 lead.

8:12 p.m. — Hayes hits a three after successive turnovers by the Terps and Fairfield.

At least it won’t be scoreless at the half like it was in Cleveland, right?

Needham hits a three-ball to tie it up.

8:11 p.m. — Anthony Johnson just picked Vasquez’s pocket and the senior guard commits the foul. Sloppy start to this one, as we’re waiting for our first points at the 17:44 mark.

Fairfield just called for the travel.

8:09 p.m. — Terps force an early turnover as Hayes knocks the ball away but Mosley cannot hit the deep jumper.

Following another Stags miss, Vasquez throws up a runner in the lane, but it’s no good.

The Terps have 0-4 to begin the game with a few of those from short range.

8:07 p.m. — Again, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) to follow Glenn Clark’s shtick. He’s a funny guy.

8:04 p.m. — Considering it’s a Tuesday night in early November, it’s a nice crowd on hand. There are clearly some open pockets of seats, but it’s a bigger crowd than I expected.

8:00 p.m. — This will mark the fourth time in four seasons that Fairfield has challenged an ACC school. Ed Cooley’s squad took on Boston College in 2006-07, Wake Forest in 2007-08, and Virginia Tech in 2008-09.

The Stags are 0-3 against the ACC in the Cooley era.

7:56 p.m. — Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

Fairfield
G Derek Needham
G Colin Nickerson
F Shimeek Johnson
F Anthony Johnson
F Ryan Olander

Maryland
G Eric Hayes
G Greivis Vasquez
G Sean Mosley
F Landon Milbourne
C Jordan Williams

The Stags will start three forwards with 6-foot-11 sophomore Ryan Olander getting the start. Again, it will be interesting to see if Gary Williams experiments with some four-guard looks with Mosley being the likely one to play some forward.

7:52 p.m. — Just a few more pregame notes to pass along as we wait for tip-off.

* The Terps had five players in double figures in their win over Charleston Southern. Milbourne led the way with 16 points while Sean Mosley added 15, Williams 12, Padgett 10, and Eric Hayes 10.

* Greivis Vasquez dished out 13 assists on Friday night, the second-highest total of his career. This was two short of matching the single-game record of 15, which the senior shares with Terrell Stokes.

* Last Friday’s win over Charleston Southern was the 100th victory for the Terps at Comcast Center. Maryland is 100-24 in the building since it opened in 2003.

7:37 p.m. — No word on the status of Terrence Ross who has not signed his letter of intent despite being a verbal commitment to Maryland.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

7:18 p.m. — Choi is dressed in a sharp all-black suit—meaning he won’t play tonight.

With Gregory, Goins, and Choi out, the Terps will only dress 10 players against Fairfield.

7:10 p.m. — Good evening from Comcast Center in College Park for tonight’s game between the 25th-ranked Maryland Terrapins (1-0) and the Stags from Fairfield (2-0).

The Terps are fresh off their season-opening 89-51 thrashing of Charleston Southern on Friday night and find themselves ranked 25th in the latest AP Poll that came out Monday.

It will be interesting to see how Gary Williams handles the rotation tonight with forwards Dino Gregory (suspension), Steve Goins (knee), and Jin Soo Choi all expected to be out against Fairfield.  Choi sprained his ankle in the win over Charleston Southern.

This leaves the Terps with only Landon Milbourne, Jordan Williams, and James Padgett as options in the low post, so look for Gary Williams to use some four-guard lineups tonight against the Stags.

Fairfield has won its first two games against Central Connecticut and Fordham. The Stags are part of the MAAC, the same conference that houses Jimmy Patsos’ Loyola Greyhounds.

With the Terps likely playing short-handed in the frontcourt, the Stags’ projected starting forwards Shimeek Johnson (6-foot-7) and Anthony Johnson (6-foot-8) may provide an early test, as Fairfield has averaged eight rebounds more than its opponent through two games. But then again, Central Connecticut and Fordham aren’t exactly North Carolina and Duke.

Tonight’s game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet with Chick Hernandez and Ron Thompson providing the call. I’m a bit disappointed we won’t have Michael Reghi calling tonight’s action as we did on Friday night. Hearing his voice just reminds you of happier times for the Orioles in the early part of the decade.

Wait a second…

Glenn Clark will be joining me and posting his clever shtick throughout the night via Twitter (@WNST).

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