Emotion Lacking in Terps’ ACC Tournament Loss to Georgia Tech

March 12, 2010 | Glenn Clark

Greensboro, NC It was going to be a tough match-up.

When the seedings for this weekend’s ACC Tournament were announced, Maryland fans were immediately concerned about the potential for the Terps to have to face Georgia Tech in the quarterfinals.

They were right to be concerned, as the Yellow Jackets had nearly stunned Maryland some 3 weeks earlier in College Park.

But what no Maryland fan (or ACC pundit) could have ever expected was the listless effort the Terrapins would give over the first 20 minutes en route to a 69-64 defeat at the hands of the Jackets on Friday night.

The Terps weren’t just outscored 41-25 over the first 20 minutes, they were out-rebounded 21-14, they shot just 9-31 (29%) from the floor and missed all 6 of their 3 point attempts. They trailed by as many as 19 before an Adrian Bowie 3 point play just before the halftime buzzer.

At times, it was ugly. Shots weren’t falling, but shots weren’t being taken with the type of determination you’d expect from a team that entered the game on a 7 game win streak. ACC Player of the Year Greivis Vasquez had just 5 points on 2-8 shooting, and ACC Rookie of the Year runner-up Jordan Williams had more personal fouls (2) than field goals made.

This wasn’t the Maryland team we had seen since a February 13th loss at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Gary Williams knew his team wasn’t ready for the task at hand. “I have to take the responsibility for the way we played the first half. Whatever we did getting ready for this – obviously we had plenty of time to get ready – we have to be ready emotionally.”

It’s hard to believe a Gary Williams-coached and Greivis Vasquez-lead team might not be ready “emotionally”, but you could see it on their faces.

Maybe splitting the ACC regular season championship left this Maryland team a bit overconfident. Maybe Georgia Tech got an emotional advantage by having to gut out a victory over North Carolina just 24 hours earlier.

Whatever it was, it was clear that it was something more than just being outplayed by a tough Georgia Tech team.

The emotion came back. After halftime, Maryland extended the last 3 points of the first half into a 24-7 run that got them back within two points-but no closer-before the Yellow Jackets finished off the victory.

The most frustrating part of the 2nd half was that Maryland had the ball nine times with the chance to tie the game or go ahead. Yet they never did. The emotion they dug up at intermission couldn’t carry them over that hump.

Senior guard Eric Hayes confirmed that failing to tie the game or pull ahead in those situations was “demoralizing”, and added “it’s a little frustrating when you use that much energy to get back into the game…and you can’t really get over the top.”

It’s about emotion.

This Maryland team may have put up some solid shooting percentage numbers this season, but they are by no means are perfect basketball team. They’ve struggled to shoot consistently away from College Park (they finished the Georgia Tech game just 25-67 from the field-37.3%, and just 4-21 from beyond the arc-19%), and they’ve been out-rebounded by teams (like the Jackets) that present matchup problems inside.

On paper, almost any team they’ll face in the NCAA Tournament might match-up favorably.

But where they’ve made up for their basketball imperfections is in emotion and intensity-at least until they got to Greensboro. They need 40 minutes (or more, as was the case when they traveled to Blacksburg) of intense, emotional effort. They put together about 12 in their loss to the Yellow Jackets.

Being eliminated from the ACC Tournament doesn’t end the season for the Terrapins. Some fans and analysts (who apparently don’t understand the significance of the ACC Tournament) have suggested that it might be a “good thing” for Maryland to lose before March Madness gets underway, as it would be difficult to extend a 10 game win streak into the NCAA Tournament.

They’ll gather Sunday night to watch the “Selection Sunday” show, and they’ll likely find out that they’re a Top 5 seed in the Tournament. Likely a 4, 5 or 6; they’ll be facing tough opponents again starting in Round 1.

Wherever they lost their emotional edge on the way to Greensboro, they’ll need to find it before they step on another floor.

If not, the remarkable run Gary Williams and his tremendous senior class has put together this season will be over as quickly as their appearance in the ACC Tournament was.

-G

Greensboro, NC
Greetings from the Greensboro Coliseum, where the #2 seeded Maryland Terrapins battle the #7 seeded Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals. The winner advances to face the winner of tonight’s Florida State-NC State game in tomorrow’s semifinals.

The Terps were 76-74 winners in the only meeting between the teams this season-back on February 20th at Comcast Center in College Park. You’ll remember that Maryland needed a miracle 3 from Cliff Tucker at the buzzer to pull out the victory.

This matchup includes all of the ACC awards winners this season; ACC Player of the Year Greivis Vasquez, Coach of the Year Gary Williams, and Rookie of the Year Derrick Favors.

I will be providing updates below throughout the evening.You can also follow us on Twitter (@WNST), where Luke Jones, Bob Haynie and others will check in as well.

-G

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9:19pm-Georgia Tech knocks Maryland out of the ACC Tournament and likely punches their own ticket to The Big Dance. Final score 69-64. I’ll be back with more shortly.

9:18pm-Short stay in Greensboro. Not what you’d expect from the ACC Player of the Year…

9:17pm-They’ll have a chance….

9:16pm-It isn’t over, but it will take a miracle….

9:15pm-I was afraid of that….

9:14pm-We all know how this possession is going to end. Just 7 seconds on the shot clock though…

9:12pm-Can’t waste any more of these types of chances….

9:10pm-HUGE shot from Vasquez after Favors appeared to dagger the Terps with the putback dunk. 15 for Vasquez.

For the record, that DEFINITELY appeared to be a shot clock violation, and I’m right under the rim. I’m reasonably certain that ball did NOT hit the rim….

9:06pm-How many shots can Maryland miss with the deficit a one possession difference??? Unreal. Both teams have one timeout remaining with 1:44 to play. Tech ball up 3. They’ll want to work clock and get the ball inside.

9:04pm-The Jackets have been DESPERATELY trying to help the Terps from the line in the 2nd half…letting Glen Rice come down with that ball there is a killer though. Terps fortunate to get it back.

9:01pm-Tech will be in the double bonus the rest of the way. How many chances has Maryland had to get over the hump? Unreal. 2:47 to play at the final official timeout of regulation, Terps trail 62-59.

9:00pm-I don’t even have to ask if you think Derrick Favors’ head is in this one. It clearly isn’t. He’s a tourist. On vacation until the NBA Draft…

8:58pm-There’s two stops, but a BADLY ill-advised long pass gives it right back to Georgia Tech with Maryland trailing 62-59. 4:19 to play. Can’t afford those types of mistakes at this point in the game.

8:56pm-Landon Milbourne has 15 points to lead all scorers. Trailing 62-57 with 5:08 to play, the Terps need some defensive stops.

8:55pm-That was the 2009 Adrian Bowie we just saw on that last possession. Too soft to the rim, then line-driving a 3 point attempt. He’s been much better than that in recent weeks.

8:54pm-Who wants to hire me as a color analyst? Jordan Williams back in. Tech will want to go at him-at least when Moe Miller isn’t hitting jumpers…

8:51pm-12 points now for Greivis Vasquez, and Maryland trails 59-55 with 7:08 to play in this one. Gary has to be thinking about when to re-insert Jordan Williams during this timeout.

8:49pm-Big shot there from Eric Hayes to cut the lead back down to 5. He has 10 now. But ANOTHER miss inside from Mosley turns into another 3 from Brian Oliver. Tech by 8 again.

8:46pm-Maryland had plenty of chances to tie this up or take the lead, but instead they again trail by 5 at 53-48. Tech is regaining confidence, and a Brian Oliver 3 makes the lead 56-48 now for Tech. Gary Williams is forced to call his 4th timeout with 8:50 to play. He’ll have to go back to the drawing board.

8:43pm-The Gani Lawal-Sean Mosley matchup does not favor Maryland.

8:39pm-And with that foul on Mosley, the Jackets will be in the bonus the rest of the way. 48-46 Georgia Tech with 11:39 to play in the 2nd half, we’re at our 2nd official timeout.

8:38pm-This place was ready to explode if Vasquez had managed to hit that 3 ball. Maryland fans are absolutely drowning out the Tech fans in the building.

8:37pm-Already 5 team fouls on Maryland here in the 2nd half, still nearly 13 minutes to play.

8:35pm-If this is going to continue to be a coaching contest, I know this much. I prefer the guy on the Maryland bench. 48-44 Jackets.

8:32pm-Interesting to see Gary Williams turn to a small lineup, especially without Greivis Vasquez on the floor. But it’s working early, and the Terps have cut the Tech lead to 46-42, the closest they have been since early in the game.

4 teams fouls early in the half for Maryland. Cliff Tucker is playing the 4, and Paul Hewitt is quick to get Derrick Favors back in the game.

What is an “elbow violation” anyway???

8:31pm-Boy is this going to be a big 2nd half for Dino Gregory. The Mt. St. Joe grad is going to have to tough up with Jordan Williams in major foul trouble.

8:29pm-The Jackets are “lost” in the words of my friend Bruce Posner (who is sitting next to me here in Greensboro). Paul Hewitt is forced to take his 3rd timeout.

A block on Jordan Williams might change everything. He tried to get set, but I’m not sure he did. That’s four on him with 15:33 to play. Trouble.

8:26pm-There’s still a long way to go tonight. Terps have to sustain this energy for the rest of the half, and hope the Jackets wear down after playing a tough game against the Tar Heels last night. But trailing by 6 at the 1st official timeout of the 2nd half isn’t what I thought we’d be talking about when Georgia Tech was about to extend their lead to 20 in the first half.

8:24pm-Maybe we’re going to have a game tonight after all. 5 straight from Hayes and Vasquez, and it’s just 44-38 with 16:11 to play. 10 points now for the senior from Venezuela.

8:20pm-The Terps won’t go a game without a 3 ball tonight, as Greivis Vasquez drains one falling down. BUT-D’Andre Bell has an answer, and GT re-extends their lead to 11 at 44-33 before Paul Hewitt takes his 2nd timeout with 17:08 to play.

8:18pm-And just like that, Jordan Williams picks up his 3rd personal. This will be tough down the stretch as Maryland tries to contain Derrick Favors (6 points and 6 boards in the first half).

8:17pm-Jordan Williams finally missed his first free throw, but the Terps have scored the first 3 points of the 2nd half. Hey, small victories….

8:15pm-Did anyone think there was ANY chance Maryland might try to take a page from “D2: The Mighty Ducks” and change jerseys at the half? You know, Ducks fly together….

8:10pm-Maurice “Moe” Miller and Iman Shumpert lead all scorers with 9 points each. Landon Milbourne has 7 to lead Maryland. Greivis Vasquez has 5 (2-8 from field), Eric Hayes has 2 (1-5). Maryland has not connected on a 3 point shot yet tonight.

8:00pm-First Half point totals for Maryland this season away from Comcast Center….

11/23 vs. Chaminade in Maui-36 (lead by 10)
11/24 vs. Cincinnati in Maui-18 (trailed by 13)
11/25 vs. Wisconsin in Maui-27 (trailed by 10)
12/1 at Indiana-35 (lead by 2)
12/6 vs. Villanova at Verizon Center-38 (trailed by 11)
1/3 @ UNC-Greensboro-52 (lead by 18)
1/12 @ Wake Forest-39 (trailed by 3)
1/16 @ Boston College-38 (lead by 10)
1/31 @ Clemson-22 (trailed by 7)
2/4 @ Florida State-25 (trailed by 4)
2/13 @ Duke-24 (trailed by 16)
2/17 @ NC State-27 (trailed by 10)
2/27 @ Virginia Tech-31 (trailed by 6)
3/6 @ Virginia-38 (lead by 11)
3/12 vs. Georgia Tech in Greensboro-25 (trailed by 16)

It isn’t a perfect science, but there’s certainly a trend there. There won’t be any more games in College Park this season, so they’ll need to do something to improve upon this…

7:56pm-That’s a big play to end the half; but it doesn’t mean the Terps are back in it. It’s 41-25 Georgia Tech at the half. I’ll be back shortly…

7:54pm-Maryland trying to show SOME signs of life before the half, and the Terrapin supporters in the crowd DESPERATELY want to come to life. But every time something good happens, they struggle to build on it. Moe Miller just buried a 3 right on top of Vasquez and Milbourne. Wow.

7:52pm-Greivis is trying to “get the bit between his teeth” as Drew Forrester likes to say…but he is being taken COMPLETELY out of his game by Paul Hewitt’s defense. 39-20 with under 2 minutes to play.

7:50pm-Throwing the ball in the direction of the hoop instead of putting the ball IN the hoop from the cylinder has been an issue for Maryland all season.

This is dreadful. I just shouldn’t ever take road trips to this state I guess. 38-19 Jackets now, and Gary is forced to call his 3rd timeout already. Unthinkable.

7:48pm-We knew this was a bad matchup for Maryland, but it is STUNNING to see them struggle like this. 34-19 with 3:29 to play in the half at the final official timeout. If they can’t get it back under 10 before the break, this trip to Greensboro could be over before it started.

7:45pm-With both Gregory and Williams in foul trouble, Peacock was able to get his own miss there. Unreal. They have 6 team fouls, but they’re much more spread out.

7:44pm-Big hoop for Eric Hayes, as the Terps desperately need SOMEONE to hit some shots from outside. Of course, they also can’t have a guy like Zachary Peacock hitting 3 pointers on the other end. 29-19 Jackets…

7:43pm-Didn’t take long-Jordan Williams and Dino Gregory came right back in. Tech will obiously aim to go right at them…

7:41pm-Padgett has shown some heart defensively, but the Jackets are absolutely having their way inside on both ends. Gary will have to risk further foul trouble, as Tech has extended their lead to 26-15 with 6:55 to play, and the Terps had to take their 2nd timeout. Maybe Gary should have dressed Jerome Burney for this one….

7:38pm-Maryland finally breaks their offensive slump by getting Landon Milbourne behind the GT defense for a dunk. Unfortunately, Sean Mosley picked up his first foul (5th team foul) before the 3rd official timeout of the half. 22-15 Jackets with 7:37 to play.

7:35pm-As I guessed, James Padgett checked in for Maryland. He played good defense, but could only watch as Derrick Favors pulled down the board and threw home a 2nd chance dunk. Yikes.

Landon Milbourne especially looks tentative to shoot right now. Maryland trails 22-13 right now, they don’t want Tech to build this to double digits going towards the half.

7:33pm-That’s 2 personals now on Jordan Williams-which is PARTICULARLY bad news for Maryland. Gary Williams will call a timeout-he’ll need to come up with a new plan now with his big guys in foul trouble. Might need to steal a few minutes from James Padgett, who did not play in last Saturday’s win at Virginia.

7:30pm-Mfon Udofia checks in for Georgia Tech, Paul Hewitt is trying to keep his guys fresh after a hard fought win over UNC last night.

Shumpert’s dunk puts Tech up 19-13, Maryland badly needs one of their shooters to wake up. They came here in January to play UNC-Greensboro specifically hoping to get comfortable with the building.

7:29pm-I know that isn’t a great spot for Dino Gregory there at the top of the key-but you just can’t commit 3 shot fouls.

Of course, if you’re GT’s Brian Oliver, you can’t miss three free throws either. Wow.

7:24pm-Adrian Bowie into the game for Maryland-I can’t remember the last time he missed a shot. Of course, no long jumpers are falling for Maryland early on-which has often been the case away from College Park.

15-13 Tech at the 2nd official timeout of the half. 11:56 to play.

7:21pm-Maryland wants to see Tech take jumpers instead of working the ball inside, but they don’t want to see Iman Shumpert and Moe Miller hitting long ones like they just did. Landon Milbourne just hit the first long jumper of the game for Maryland.

Brian Oliver checks in and Gani Lawal checks back in for GT, Cliff Tucker and Dino Gregory get in for the first time for the Terps.

Worth noting that Jordan Williams has started the game 4-4 from the FT line.

7:17pm-Zachary Peacock checks in for GT, and Landon Milbourne gets a big 2nd chance hoop off a missed jumper by Mosley. We’re at our first official timeout, Maryland leads 7-4 with 15:41 to play in the half.

7:15pm-Given the types of layups Eric Hayes has made in recent weeks, it’s almost stunning to see him miss one.

Landon Milbourne makes just 1 of 2 at the line….you have to wonder if he’s going to get out of his funk at all before his career is over.

7:13pm-Odd decision for Paul Hewitt to call his first timeout so early, but he clearly didn’t like something after that Vasquez breakaway to put Maryland up 4-2. He’ll do a lot of coaching tonight, knowing the Ramblin’ Wreck might well need a win to get into the NCAA Tournament.

Moe Miller is the first Jacket off the bench.

7:06pm-As Luke Jones just Tweeted, the Terps are wearing white tonight, not the gold uniforms we’ve gotten accustomed to seeing them wearing in recent weeks at home. Our friend Patrick Stevens (@D1scourse on Twitter) let us know Wednesday night that the Terps DID bring the gold uniforms with them, who knows if we might see them at some point this weekend should the Terps advance.

7:10pm-A nice cut to Sean Mosley on the first possession, but he’s in amongst trees down there. What you saw on the Jackets’ first possession is EXACTLY what Maryland can’t have happen tonight. Three chances for a Wreck hoop, including Jordan Williams’ first personal.

7:01pm-No surprises in tonight’s starting lineups. Georgia Tech goes with Iman Shumpert, D’Andre Bell, Glen Rice Jr., Gani Lawal and Derrick Favors up top. The Terps counter with Eric Hayes, Greivis Vasquez, Sean Mosley, Landon Milbourne and Jordan Williams up top.

6:44pm-How did I miss the note that John Mayer was playing here at the Greensboro Coliseum Monday night? If Chris Bonetti is in with Drew Forrester again Monday on “The Comcast Morning Show”, you won’t need to even bother asking why.

Kudos to the meal planners here in Greensboro. Dinner tonight included fried catfish, mashed potatoes and glazed carrots. There was also sweet tea, and carrot cake after. That’s a WIN.

Also, I’ve been told I need to hit “Biscuitville” while I’m here. I’m guessing tomorrow morning would be my best bet, as Maryland would play the 2nd game tomorrow with a win tonight. Anyone know anything about Biscuitville? Anywhere else I need to stop by?

6:41pm-Well, the Maryland quarter of the arena is certainly packed, and there are a number of Maryland fans in other places here at the Coliseum. As I was walking in, I think 10 different Virginia Tech fans asked me if I was looking for tickets for tomorrow. For the record, I didn’t feel sorry for them. I just hope Terps fans aren’t in the same spot as Hokies fans later tonight….

6:33pm-I’m pleased with the league/Coliseum’s choice of pre-game entertainment, as they are showing the highlight video from the 2004 ACC Tournament currently. Good news there. If you’re looking for me on Raycom (WNUV 54 in Baltimore) or ESPN2 tonight-and I have NO IDEA why you would be-I’m directly under the north basket, wearing a black hat. The GTU cheerleaders are currently down on this end, couldn’t tell you if they’re staying here.

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