For the Maryland Terrapins, the Maui Invitational represents an opportunity to face some quality competition to assess where they’re at now and what they need to improve for the real season—the start of ACC play in January.
And, more specifically, the first-round meeting against a Div. II opponent was just a continuation of what they started with their first three games against Charleston Southern, Fairfield, and New Hampshire.
But for Chaminade, the Invitational is the Final Four, an opportunity to rub elbows with college basketball Goliaths and a hope to capture lightning in a bottle like it did against No. 1 Virginia in 1982.
This contrast in perception was on full display in the first half of Maryland’s 79-51 victory in Maui on Monday night. Whether it was jet lag or looking ahead to tomorrow’s second-round meeting with Lance Stephenson and Cincinnati, the Terps struggled out of the gate, were out-rebounded and out-hustled, and trailed 16-14 with 7:30 remaining in the first half.
It was clear Gary Williams was displeased with his team’s lackadaisical play, so it’s safe to assume the future Hall of Fame coach gave his players an earful at the half, leading only 36-26.
And Williams clearly got through as the Terps outscored Chaminade 43-25 in the second half and took care of business en route to the second round. Sean Mosley led the way with 19 points and continues to impress on both ends of the floor in the early stages of the 2009-10 season.
It wasn’t a pretty effort, but it may be a blessing in disguise for the rest of the week in Hawaii and beyond.
It’s easy to buy into the hype when you’re nationally-ranked and blowing out inferior schools, but Monday’s first-half performance enabled Williams to grab his players’ attention and keep them grounded for two more difficult opponents in two days.
Williams admitted after Friday night’s win over New Hampshire that he wasn’t exactly sure where his team was at after three convincing wins against lesser opponents, but the first real tests would come this week.
Do we know anything more about this Maryland team after the Chaminade victory? Not really, but a valuable lesson was learned about starting a game strong and focused.
The Terps were able to overcome a slow start against the Div. II Silverswords, but the same may not be the case against the Cincinnatis and Gonzagas looming over the next two days.
We’ll see what the Terps have learned for Tuesday and Wednesday.
Check out the box score here and the live blog from Monday’s game below
11:29 p.m. — Final seconds of this one.
Sean Mosley is my player of the game. Besides the 19 points, the sophomore from Baltimore just does so many things that won’t even show up in the box score.
Final score: Maryland 79, Chaminade 51.
Back with some final thoughts on this one shortly.
11:27 p.m. — With the Terps up by 30 points with under three minutes to play, it’s time to look ahead to tomorrow night’s contest with Cincinnati.
The big story will obviously be Lance Stephenson facing his high school teammate James Padgett and the Terps.
When asked about the possibility of playing his close friend the other night, Padgett said, ““It would be good to meet up with my partner, but we’ll take it one game at a time.”
He’ll get that chance tomorrow night.
11:21 p.m. — That was a big jump shot for Bowie’s confidence. He was 0-for-4 before that one.
11:19 p.m. — Not a bad move by Choi to get to the bucket. Just needs to finish.
He has looked much more aggressive on the defensive end so far this year.
11:17 p.m. — It’s nice to see such a solid second half with the Terps now up, 67-42.
They’ve outscored Chaminade, 35-16, in the second half.
11:15 p.m. — Just to piggyback on what Jimmy Dykes said, Jin Soo changed his last name from Kim to Choi to honor his stepfather, who helped to raise him.
11:14 p.m. — It’s nice to see Jin Soo Choi get some playing time. I suspect he’ll need to play some key minutes in the next two days with the team’s lack of depth in the frontcourt.
Three games in three nights will be rough for the two freshmen.
11:12 p.m. — Adrian Bowie has looked lost out there this season so far. I’m not sure if it’s the disappointment of not starting, but he just hasn’t fit into the offense and is struggling mightily with his shot.
11:07 p.m. — Jimmy Dykes definitely showing Gary Williams and the Terps some love tonight.
Valid points, no doubt.
11:04 p.m. — Padgett cleans up the Mosley miss. He’s definitely explosive.
11:02 p.m. — Williams needs to take that up STRONG. Go up for the two-handed jam and draw the foul and/or finish.
10:58 p.m. — Jordan Williams certainly thought that was one was clean. Looked like it could have been to the naked eye.
10:54 p.m. — Mosley continues to do EVERYTHING it takes to win a game. He will be one of the biggest surprises in the ACC this year.
Mark it down.
10:53 p.m. — Landon Milbourne looked completely perplexed on that one. As was I.
10:51 p.m. — It’s been a rough night for James Padgett. Not getting good position in the low post.
10:48 p.m. — Every time you think the Terps are going to put it away, Chaminade goes on a little spurt.
I actually think tonight’s struggles will be a blessing in disguise for the next two nights. Whether it was jet lag or overconfidence, this team knows it has to come out of the gate much better against Cincinnati.
10:46 p.m. — Lazy defense on that fast break. Numbers were there, but you have to cut off the path to the basket.
10:44 p.m. — Hayes’ shot is dead-on early in the season. And the Terps need it to be without having another consistent long-range shooter on the team.
10:41 p.m. — It’s time for the Terps to go on a run and put this one away. Lead is up to 15 points.
10:38 p.m. — Vasquez starting to heat up, which could be very dangerous for the rest of the field in Maui.
10:37 p.m. — Beautiful pass by Vasquez to Mosley. That was textbook.
10:35 p.m. — We’re ready for the start of the second half.
Maryland went on a 22-10 run to end the half, and I’d expect much of the same to begin the second. I’m sure Gary’s tone was not a kind one at the half.
10:30 p.m. — Jimmy Dykes is a fine college basketball analyst, but does anyone else immediately think of Joey Chestnut, Kobayashi, and Nathan’s when you hear his voice?
10:22 p.m. — Hard to believe the Terps are shooting 47% at halftime after a horrendous start from the field.
All things considered, Maryland played much better in the final seven minutes, but Williams will definitely have his players’ attention after that first half.
10:20 p.m. — Great dive and dish by Vasquez as Milbourne’s layup pushes the lead to 36-26 at the half.
How I’d love to be a fly on the wall in the locker room. Gary Williams CANNOT be happy with what he saw out of his team.
10:19 p.m. — That’s a big three for Vasquez. He’s struggled mightily with his perimeter shot so far this season, so maybe that’s the one to get him going.
10:17 p.m. — Milbourne’s baseline jumper is a good one, but that was a poor effort. Need to square your feet.
10:14 p.m. — Tucker with the big three-ball to push the lead back to 9.
Bennett is very quick. Reminds me of Earl Boykins.
10:12 p.m. — The story about Hanson winding up at Chaminade was interesting, but who wouldn’t want to play their college ball in Maui?
Hayes completes the three-point play, building the Terps’ lead to 8 points.
It would be nice to see the Terps grow the lead to +10 entering halftime.
10:10 p.m. — This has been a ridiculously fast half. Not many whistles as we’ve only seen seven fouls between the two teams.
10:08 p.m. — Bennett breaks the press again.
Gary Williams trying to find any combination he can to get things going, subbing at a furious pace.
Hayes takes the charge, and Milbourne then hits the foul-line jumper.
Maryland leads by 5 and appears to be settling into a decent tempo.
10:05 p.m. — Mosley with a great cut to get to the middle of the zone and sticks the jumper.
That’s how you beat a zone.
10:03 p.m. — Very athletic drive by Tucker, but we know the junior can do that. He’s truly an enigma.
10:01 p.m. — Maryland is being out-rebounded 13-10 with 7:26 to go in the first half. The Terps had more rebounds than their opponents in each of their first three games this year.
9:59 p.m. — That was a ACC-caliber shot that Hanson just stuck. Impressive.
9:57 p.m. — The Terps need to stick some perimeter shots BADLY. Those shots aren’t just missing—they’re hurting the rim.
9:54 p.m. — Maryland shooting 31%. Ugly.
Vasquez coming back in the game with two fouls, and it’s badly needed. Time for the senior leader to take charge.
9:51 p.m. — Steven Bennett with a very nice take to the hole.
Maryland looks half-asleep in this one. The poor shooting is one thing, but the Terps being out-hustled is unacceptable.
9:49 p.m. — We know this isn’t a strong team from the perimeter, so it’s no surprise to see some difficulty with the zone. Maryland saw very little zone defense in its first three games.
9:46 p.m. — Adrian Bowie spent a lot of time in the offseason working on his jump shot, but it’s still very flat.
He takes it to the hole nicely, but no one respects him from the perimeter.
9:43 p.m. — Hayes hits the trey to settle down the nerves and lower the blood pressure a little bit.
First official timeout. Obviously a bad start, but let’s not hit the panic button just yet.
9:41 p.m. — Maryland is getting killed on the glass early on. No excuse for that.
And I looked at the second foul call on Vasquez and I’m still shaking my head.
9:39 p.m. — Hanson gets the offensive rebound and nails the three-ball. That won’t make Gary Williams happy early on.
9:38 p.m. — Sean Mosley with the NICE fadeaway jumper. I’ve said it before in the Terps’ first three games. If the sophomore can get defenders to respect his jump shot, he’s a major threat for this team—and in the ACC.
Good defense to force the 35-second violation.
9:34 p.m. — Alright, let’s get the 1982 references out of the way early.
Shane Hanson is the Silverswords’ biggest threat, a transfer from UC-Davis.
We’ll see the same lineup for the Terps as we’ve seen in the first three games of the season.
C Jordan Williams, F Landon Milbourne, G Greivis Vasquez, G Sean Mosley, and G Eric Hayes.
9:31 p.m. — Congrats to Louisville’s women’s volleyball team for winning the Big East Championship. Now it’s time for Maryland hoops!
9:28 p.m. — Chaminade (0-0) lost most of their key players from last season’s 15-12 squad, so it’s safe to assume the Terps shouldn’t have too many problems in this one.
Then again, tell that to Ralph Sampson and No. 1 Virginia in 1982.
9:25 p.m. — Greetings from Hawaii (otherwise known as my man-cave in southern Pennsylvania, but, hey, a guy can dream, right?), as the Terps are set to take on Chaminade in the opening round of the Maui Invitational in just a few minutes.
Maryland (3-0) is off to a strong start in the 2009-10 season, but Charleston Southern, Fairfield, and New Hampshire aren’t exactly the highest level of competition on which to judge Gary Williams’ squad.
Though the tournament-host Silverswords (a Div. II school) won’t figure to provide much of a test to the 21st-ranked Terrapins in the opening round, it’s important to build momentum as a second-round meeting against Cincinnati (and Lance Stephenson) awaits tomorrow should Maryland advance.