**Note: Be sure to check out the WNST.net Audio Vault to hear Gary Williams’ post-game press conference.**
Jordan Williams was the first freshman to start at center in a season opener for Maryland since Joe Smith made his debut against Georgetown in a historic upset victory at the Capital Centre in 1993.
Was the 6-foot-10 freshman excited to be linked to the No. 1 pick of the 1995 NBA Draft and one of the most important wins in the history of Maryland basketball? Apparently not.
According to a quip from Gary Williams, the freshman asked, “Who’s he?” when his coach told him about the connection with Smith.
Despite failing the history lesson, the opening grades were positive for Williams and fellow freshman James Padgett as the Terps rolled in their season opener against Charleston Southern, 89-51.
Williams scored 12 points—10 coming in the first half—and grabbed nine rebounds, showing toughness in the paint and a better offensive repertoire than he displayed during the preseason. Padgett scored 10 points and secured eight rebounds while bringing the crowd to its feet with a couple thunderous dunks.
“Their effort was outstanding,” senior guard Greivis Vasquez said. “They played extremely hard. You can see, when you see those guys face-to-face, they are winners.”
Landon Milbourne led the Terps with 16 points and had seven rebounds while Sean Mosley added 15 points and five rebounds.
Mosley, the sophomore guard from Baltimore, worked to improve his perimeter shooting in the offseason, and his fruits were on display in the opener as he hit several jump shots including a three-pointer.
“I want him to shoot,” Williams said. “Sean is too good of a player not to use that part of his game and he earned the right to shoot this year. . .When he’s open, he’s got to shoot the ball to help us.”
After struggling with their rebounding and leading by only 12 at the half, the Terps surged to a 7-0 run to start the second half and never looked back as their pressure defense overwhelmed the Buccaneers, forcing 22 turnovers on the night.
Williams was pleased with his players’ ability to maintain their intensity after growing the lead in the second half.
“When the margin got bigger, we still played hard,” he said.
Maryland passed the ball extremely well throughout the game with Vasquez trying to get his teammates involved in the offense. Despite scoring only nine points, the Terps’ leading scorer—and distributor—from last season dished out a game-high 13 assists.
“It’s not about me scoring 25 points a game [for the team to win],” he said.
The biggest disappointment of the night was the loss of Jin Soo Choi to injury, adding another question mark to a shallow frontcourt. The sophomore from South Korea sprained his right ankle and had to be helped to the locker room. His status is unclear for the team’s next game against Fairfield on Tuesday night.
Choi’s injury—compounded with the suspension of Dino Gregory and the absence of Steve Goins (knee)—leaves the Terps even thinner in the frontcourt and forces them to rely even more on the two freshmen bigs.
“It is going to be inconsistent and is not going to be pretty all the time, but [Williams and Padgett] worked well together when they were out there tonight, which is good to see,” Williams said.
Despite Charleston Southern not exactly providing a major test to the Terps, it was an impressive start to the 2009-10 campaign and to the collegiate careers of Padgett and Williams.
– Maryland struggled from the three-point line in the first half, going 0-for-7, but rebounded in the second half as Eric Hayes hit three three-pointers to lead the 6-for-10 second-half shooting from beyond the arc.
– The Terps earned their 100th all-time victory at Comcast Center with the season-opening win on Friday night. Maryland holds a 100-20 record at the facility, now opening its eighth season.
Check out the box score here and the live blog below.
10:00 p.m. — This one is in the books.
Terps win, 89-51.
Back with the post-game a little later.
9:58 p.m. — Pearman scores on the layup. Good for him, and the students are loving it.
9:56 p.m. — David Pearman and Ersin Levent are at the table, set to check in.
Tankelewicz hits the three-pointer, but Mosley answers with a three on the other end.
9:55 p.m. — Padgett and Williams now on the floor at the same time. Unfortunately, with the lack of depth inside, we probably won’t see them at the same time.
Choi’s injury does even more to cloud the frontcourt.
9:51 p.m. — Padgett grabs two offensive rebounds and gets the bucket.
Yes, it’s only Charleston Southern, but the early returns on both Williams and Padgett are VERY positive. There’s certainly room for growth with each, but that’s to be expected.
9:48 p.m. — Padgett with the flush. He is definitely the more explosive of the two forwards. Gary Williams has compared him to more of a Chris Wilcox-type athlete.
9:47 p.m. — Tom Tankelewicz is now in the game for the Buccaneers. Just thought you’d like to know.
9:45 p.m. — Honorat hits the trey, and it’s a 25-point game.
Mosley hits a wide-open Tucker underneath for two points. The ball movement has been very good tonight.
Cliff Tucker with the flush on another assist by Vasquez and the lead’s back up to 29 points.
Timeout with 5:38 to go.
9:42 p.m. — Choi was just helped to the locker room, and it doesn’t look good. It certainly puts a damper on an otherwise great second half of play for the Terps.
Milbourne has 16 points in the game and has really played tough inside.
9:40 p.m. — And THAT’S what we were looking for just a minute ago.
Official timeout with 6:49 remaining.
Maryland leads, 70-42.
9:40 p.m. — Padgett misses the layup on the fast break. I REALLY thought he was going to dunk that one, and the crowd was anticipating it.
Milbourne scores to put the Terps up again by 28.
Under 8 minutes to go.
9:37 p.m. — Tucker hits the three-ball, and the Terps are now up by 28 points.
CSU takes a 30-second timeout with 9:15 to go in this one.
It would be a big blow to the Terps to lose Choi. Though he doesn’t provide much offensively, at 6-foot-8, it’s another blow to the frontcourt.
9:35 p.m. — Choi with the steal and nice pass to Vasquez but the senior blows the layup.
Mitchell stuffs Vasquez inside, and Jin Soo Choi is shaken up. Looks to be his right knee. Not good to lose another bigger body.
9:32 p.m. — We’ve reached the under-12 timeout, and the Terps lead by 26.
Hayes with the steal. Choi misses the three, as he still looks to be short-arming his long-range shot.
Tucker picks up the foul as Sexton goes to the hole. He’ll go to the line for two shots, making one of two.
9:27 p.m. — Vasquez with another dime, throwing it to Mosley for the lay-in. Vasquez only has 9 points, but I’ve been REALLY impressed with his passing.
9:25 p.m. — Vasquez hits the three, and the Terps have found their touch from the arc after going 0 for 7 in the first half.
With the lead up to 22, CSU desperately needs to go on a run if they want to make this one respectable. Maryland is simply running away with it.
Williams gets the ball inside again but goes up too strong. However, he gets the board on the other end.
Hayes with ANOTHER three. He has three in the half.
Maryland is just running the Buccaneers off the plank (yes, that was REALLY corny) as the lead was up to 27 before Sexton hits a three for CSU.
9:20 p.m. — We have an official timeout, and the Terps have come out red-hot in the second half, building their lead to 51-32 with 15:51 to play.
9:19 p.m. — Hayes with his second three in a row, as the senior looks to be getting on track with his long-range shot.
Vasquez with a SILLY behind-the-back pass to Milbourne for the bucket. The senior is putting on a show with his passing tonight.
On the other end, Vasquez is whistled and the crowd is unhappy with the call.
Warren makes them both.
9:17 p.m. — Jeremy Sexton’s three ends the 7-0 run for the Terps to begin the second half.
Milbourne with the great offensive rebound and the put-back. COUNT IT—and the foul.
He’s certainly undersized as a 4, but Milbourne plays tough inside.
On the other end, Martin gets the bucket and is fouled by Williams, his second foul. Martin misses the freebie.
9:13 p.m. — Hayes FINALLY hits a three.
Wow, that was some razzle-dazzle—and then some—from Vasquez as he finds Mosley for the layup on the fast break.
9:11 p.m. — The Terps get the ball to start the second half, but Vasquez misses the jumper.
A possession later, Milbourne hits a jumper for the first points of the second half.
9:09 p.m. — The Terps are back on the floor as we’re seconds away from the start of the second half.
Jordan Williams leads the team with 10 points while Milbourne, Mosley, and Vasquez have 6 each.
Maryland is 0 for 7 from the three-point line and is shooting 47% from the field.
8:54 p.m. — Mosley picks up his second foul, and it’s the Terps’ seventh team foul. Warren hits a pair of free throws to cut the lead to eight.
Bowie is now handling the point with Hayes on the bench. Vasquez backs inside and misses the short jump hook. However, Kenny Mitchell is whistled for the foul on the offensive end.
Hayes is back in with a minute to play. Williams gets it inside, misses a shot, but then scores on the second-chance. He doesn’t look flashy like Padgett, but he plays tough inside.
Williams grabs another board, and Cliff Tucker takes the other way for the layup.
We’ve reached the end of the first half. Maryland 37, Charleston Southern 25
You have to like the first half by Padgett and especially Williams who has 10 points.
8:50 p.m. — Vasquez gets the steal as we’re going the other way. He finds Padgett inside but the freshman is stuffed by Blackmon.
After another CSU miss, Vasquez misses another three. Maryland cannot buy one from downtown.
Martin scores off another second-chance opportunity. Way too many offensive rebounds being surrendered.
8:48 p.m. — Milbourne just swatted one into the first row. The Terps are definitely showing aggression inside, but they just need to do a better job boxing out.
Charleston Southern takes a timeout.
8:44 p.m. — Vasquez hits two shots from the line to give him 6 points for the game. Very evenly-distributed scoring for the Terps in the first half.
James Padgett just received his “Welcome to Maryland” moment as he finished off the fast break with a thunderous dunk. He then blocks a shot on the opposite end.
You have to be pleased with the inside presence the two freshmen are showing so far.
We’ve reached the “under-4″ timeout with the Terps leading, 33-21.
8:42 p.m. — Another second-chance bucket as Blackmon tips one in. Maryland is giving up too many offensive rebounds.
Vasquez scores on the other end, moving the lead back to 10.
Warren hangs and hits the jumper. He has 10 points to lead CSU.
8:40 p.m. — Gary Williams calls a 30-second timeout as he couldn’t be happy with his team allowing two second-chance opportunities as Quinton Goods tips one in for the Bucs.
Hayes throws one away but Kelvin Martin loses the handle going up for the layup.
8:39 p.m. — With Gregory’s absence it will be critical for Milbourne to continue to provide strong minutes at the 4. Williams and Padgett will rarely see the court at the same time due to the absences of Gregory and Goins.
Bowie scores inside and the Terps lead by 10.
Williams again shows aggression inside, drawing the foul on the shot. He hits both freebies. The big man shows VERY nice touch.
After a Charleston Southern turnover, Milbourne hits the deep jumper.
However, Kelvin Martin throws down the highlight dunk, quieting the raucous crowd at the Comcast Center.
8:33 p.m. — Williams checks back in for Padgett, so we’ll see if the frosh can build on his early points.
Warren hits a three for CSU as the shot clock expires. Again, he is a very dangerous shooter if you leave him open.
Hayes leans in for a jumper and is fouled by Honorat on the play. The senior will go to the line for two and he makes them one of two. I was just going to type how nearly automatic he is at the charity stripe. That’s what I get for assuming.
Timeout on the floor. 7:56 remaining in the first half with the Terps leading 19-13. The pace has slowed considerably in the last few minutes as Maryland struggles with its outside shooting.
8:30 p.m. — I’m interested to see how Choi looks within the parameters of the offense. He has looked much more aggressive on the defensive end, but I have yet to see any considerable improvement offensively from the sophomore.
Hayes throws a bullet inside to Cliff Tucker who is fouled on the play.
Hayes sisses the three, but Padgett is there for the rebound. However, Bowie misses another three. It’s safe to say the three-point shooting has been nonexistent.
8:27 p.m. –The Terps have shown some outstanding passing early on.
Jin Soo Choi and Cliff Tucker check into the game.
Padgett had some trouble catching that entry pass, as the big man definitely looks to be the shakier of the two freshmen so far.
Timeout on the floor with 9:47 remaining. Terps lead, 18-10.
8:24 p.m. — Padgett looked a bit out of control as he went up for that layup, but it’s obvious these two guys will be nervous in their first game.
Adrian Bowie not showing much touch on that three.
WOW! Bowie just made up for it with a SICK alley-oop to Mosley. Already a play-of-the-year candidate there!
8:22 p.m. — James Padgett has checked in for his first action as Blackmon goes to the line for two.
The 6-foot- senior misses a pair, as CSU looks completely overmatched right now.
Mosley comes off the curl and hits the jumper from the foul line. Two jumpers from the sophomore is a VERY good sign.
Good ball movement from the Buccaneers as Stanley Honorat hits the three.
8:18 p.m. — Terps look VERY aggressive on the defensive end, as CSU is struggling to simply get into the flow of its offense.
As I type that, Williams is called for the foul inside.
We have our first official timeout. Terps lead, 12-5, with 13:36 remaining.
Williams is certainly the story with 6 points in the early stages of the first half.
8:17 p.m. — Warren hits a three, and following a Terps miss, Landon Milbourne STUFFS the living you-know-what out of Blackmon.
Williams with the put-back after a missed shot. This is definitely the best Wiliams has looked in any of the times I’ve seen him as a Terp.
8:15 p.m. — Quinton Goods misses a pair of freebies, but the Terps turn it over on the other end.
The Bucs sub in three players early, trying to find a combination of players that can hang with Maryland’s athleticism.
Mosley is called for over-the-back on Billy Blackmon’s missed jumper. Despite the two freshmen forwards, rebounding will continue to be a concern with this team.
Vasquez finds a cutting Williams for another layup. Nice start for the big man.
8:13 p.m. — After Milbourne was whistled for a player control foul, Warren misses the jumper. Mosley gets the long rebounded and hits a jumper on the other end.
If Mosley can consistently hit the mid-range jumper, he becomes a very dangerous player for the Terps this year.
He worked on his shooting throughout the summer, trying to develop more arc on his shot.
8:11 p.m. — While it’s not a full house, the student section is certainly bringing a ton of energy as they exploded on Vasquez’s first jumper.
The airball on a three, however, did not draw the same praise.
Vasquez has missed his first two three’s of the night.
8:09 p.m. — A great start for Jordan Williams’ college career as he takes the pass from Sean Mosley and scores the first bucket as a Terp.
Huge ovation for the frosh.
8:01 p.m. — Here are your starting lineups.
For CSU, Kelvin Martin, Jamarco Warren, Quinton Goods, Austin Johnson, and Kenny Mitchell.
For the Terps, Landon Milbourne, Eric Hayes, Sean Mosley, Jordan Williams, and Greivis Vasquez will be the starting five.
7:59 p.m. — Gary Williams comes out to a huge ovation as we’re only a few minutes away from tip-off.
Again, Jordan Williams looks to be getting the start. A bit of a surprise considering James Padgett has looked to be the more polished of the two freshmen but hardly a surprise.
With Dino Gregory suspended and Steve Goins out with a knee injury, both forwards will see plenty of minutes tonight.
7:57 p.m. — With the game being shown on Comcast SportsNet, I will be providing less play-by-play and more analysis of what’s going on during tonight’s game.
And, as Rich from Westminster just pointed out, it’s FINALLY time for hoops season after a very disappointing football season begins to wind down.
7:53 p.m. — Just another note of interest to pass along as we wait for the start of this one.
While it looks like Jordan Williams will get the start in tonight’s opener, it will mark the first time since November 1993 that a freshman has started at forward for the Terps. Freshmen Keith Booth and Joe Smith got the start in the Terps’ upset win over Georgetown at the Capital Centre.
Credit goes to the Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens (a good friend of WNST)
7:40 p.m. — CSU’s best player Jamarco Warren is a little guy at 5-foot-11, but the Terps cannot allow him to get hot. Warren set the school’s single-season record for made three-point field goals last season with 99.
The Terps have just taken the floor, and we’re about 20 minutes away from tip-off. Steve Goins will not play (knee) and no sign of Dino Gregory as his status remains up in the air.
7:30 p.m. –The Terps’ student section just recognized recruit Tobias Harris who is visiting Maryland tonight with chants of “We Want Harris!” as he walked by.
The 6-foot-8 forward has listed Maryland along with Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Louisville, Syracuse, Tennessee, and West Virginia as schools he’s considering.
Let’s hope the Terps give a good showing tonight.
The Terps enter tonight’s game looking for the 100th victory at Comcast Center. Maryland is 99-20 in the seven years it’s played in the new building.
It seems like only yesterday the Terps were closing down Cole Field House—and raising a National Championship banner in the process.
7:15 p.m. — Happy Friday from the Comcast Center as the Terps are set to tip off their 2009-10 season against Charleston Southern University out of the Big South Conference at 8:00 p.m.
The Terps have high expectations after advancing to the second round of the NCAA tournament a year ago and finishing with a 21-14 record. Maryland’s only significant loss was the graduation of starting center Dave Neal, but the arrival of freshmen James Padgett and Jordan Williams brings much excitement to the future of Gary Williams’ frontcourt after the team struggled in the paint a year ago.
Three seniors lead this year’s squad with the most notable being second-team All-ACC guard Greivis Vasquez. After declaring for the NBA Draft but deciding to return to College Park last summer, Vasquez will once again be the unquestioned leader of the Terrapins and led the team in scoring (17.5), rebounding (5.4), assists (5.0), steals (1.4), and minutes (34.6).
Forward Landon Milbourne (11.4 ppg) and guard Eric Hayes (10.3 ppg) are the Terps’ other seniors and, along with Vasquez, will be expected to provide strong leadership for an inexperienced, frontcourt.
Charleston Southern was picked to finish 9th out of ten teams in the Preseason Big South Poll and is led by head coach Barclay Radebaugh. The Buccaneers were 9-20 a year ago and finished 4-14 in the Big South.
Junior guard Jamarco Warren leads the Buccaneers and was voted to Preseason All-Big South team by the league’s head coaches and media. Warren averaged 17.8 ppg and shot 39.8% from three-point range last season.
Needless to say, tonight’s game looks like a mismatch on paper, but the Terps would like to come out strong after a somewhat lackluster effort in their lone preseason game, being outrebounded by Division II power Indiana University (Pa.) in a 75-54 victory last Tuesday night.
This is the first-ever meeting between CSU and Maryland. The Buccaneers are 1-40 all-time against current ACC schools. Their only ACC victory came against Georgia Tech in the 1980-81 season.
I know you were dying to know that, too.
Tonight’s game can be seen on Comcast SportsNet with former Orioles play-by-play guy Micheal Reghi (“See ya later!”) and Ron Thompson providing the call. It’s a welcome change from the football season actually having a game televised and not being sent to the flagship of University of Maryland football—ESPN360.
Not to fret, however, as tomorrow’s game (1:00 p.m. kickoff) between the Terps and Virginia Tech will be shown on 360.