Terps Rally to Beat Wolverines 75-70 in Big Ten/ACC Challenge

December 03, 2008 | Glenn Clark

10:40-While tonight was a very good win for the Terps; it might be more important for the manner in which it came than for the lingering effects in will have. Michigan brought a 56 RPI rating (from guru Ken Pomeroy) into tonight’s game; and I don’t imagine that will change drastically through the season. They will have a chance to be competitive in a slightly down Big Ten; which could help push them towards 20 wins and maybe make them a NCAA Tournament team. But tonight’s game was almost a “must win” for the Terps as it was a chance to get a quality win; as the Terps could NOT afford to lose at home to a team that might well be a bubble team or less come March.

It really WAS huge for Maryland to show the type of resilliancy they did tonight in bouncing back from 2 bad losses over the weekend. Dino Gregory said that the team was excited to have a chance to play a marquee team (even if only in name alone) following such a difficult weekend. They needed to show that they could move on from the tough times; as they are likely to lose as many as 8 games (hopefully not more) come ACC play. It is also important for them to maintain only two losses going into conference play; as they don’t really want to have more than 10 losses going into Selection Sunday. If you’ll remember, the Terps lost FIVE games before ACC play opened last season (two in Kansas City, one in the BB&T, plus the American and Ohio debacles in College Park). While George Washington, American, and other talented teams still loom; the Terps have a very good chance to get through to January with just those two blemishes on their record. If they combine that with a 9-7 conference mark and 1 loss in the ACC Tournament, they’ll finish the year with no more than 10 losses. Of course, those are big ifs.

The most important part about tonight’s win was how the Terps responded at halftime. Instead of being forced to make up a 8, 9, or even double-digit point difference in the final 10-12 minutes; the Terps rallied IMMEDIATELY after halftime; and took control of things the rest of the way. The intensity they showed after intermission was the EXACT way they need to play against the ACC’s top competition to get wins. They are not always going to hit shots, and they are not always going to have the legs to run the way they want to; but they HAVE to remain intensity on both offense and defense. That clip tonight was an example of how the Terps are capable of playing; and will be an example of what they’ll need to do to win games against good competition. It’s easier to do at home; and this is a good stretch to learn how to do these things.

That’s it for me tonight. Talk to you tomorrow morning on AM1570 and on “Crabs and Beer” here on WNST.net. I’ll be back Sunday night (yes, I’m skipping Ravens-Redskins, please forgive me) for Maryland-George Washington.

Talk to you tomorrow.

-G

10:20-Gary made a few important points after the game, starting with Braxton Dupree. He said Dupree missed the game because he missed a class on Monday. He went on to say that everyone had to go to class on Monday (except himself) despite the fact the team had arrived around midnight Sunday night after a long weekend in Orlando. He did not confirm that Braxton would return to the starting lineup Sunday vs. George Washington.

Gary spoke very highly of the teams “resilliancy” following two tough losses in Orlando. He said the team “really had a lot of faith in each other” despite being “mentally beat up” after the consecutive crushing losses. He said the ability to bounce back makes him “know that they’re really trying, they’re really listening.” He said it was important that the team did not “act like the season was over” after being “beat up a bit” following the losses to Gonzaga and Georgetown.

Gary was happy with Eric Hayes taking 13 shots even though he was struggling from the field because “shooters have to shoot” when they’re open. He said similar things about guys like Adrian Bowie. He thought Dino Gregory (6 points, 7 boards in 26 minutes) was a “force defensively” inside; and thought Landon Milbourne was “great”, even going on to say that “sometimes Landon doesn’t know how good he is.” He also creditted his team for picking up Landon, saying guys “root” for the tri-captain, and really believe in him. He creditted Baltimore’s own Sean Mosley again (5 points, 2 boards in 18 minutes), saying Mosley is “important to (the team) because he’s a rebounder.”

When asked what he told the team at halftime to spark a 13-2 run that turned the game around, Gary said he told the team they “were gonna win the game……IF (they) out-worked” Michigan early in the 2nd half. That was certainly evident as the 2nd 20 minutes opened; and Gary said that he thought the success on offense helped the defensive intensity, and vice versa.

When asked about the importance of the ACC potentially winning the Big Ten/ACC Challenge again; Gary said he “used to think” it meant something, but with the Big Ten regularly getting more teams in the NCAA Tournament than the ACC, he’s not so sure anymore. He said he’d still root for the ACC to win.

10:10-Taking a look at the final numbers, a few things stick out. Maryland improved from the field in the second half; shooting 46.4%, and finishing the game 26-59 (44.1%). They improved to 4-10 (40%) beyond the arc, and finished the game 5-21 (23.8%). Not great, but certainly better than the sub-10% clip in the 1st half. The BIGGEST number that sticks out is the free throw line, where the Terps shot 16-18 (88.9%) in the 2nd half; 18-20 (90%) for the game. Michigan attempted only 6 free throws for the game (all makes).

The Terps out-rebounded the Wolverines 43-26, and picked up only 10 fouls on the game to Michigan’s 18. The teams had almost identical assist to turnover ratios (Maryland 14-11, Michigan 14-10).

Individually, Manny Harris lead Michigan with 15 points and 6 boards. Gary was quick to point out post-game that Greivis had held him to just 5-15 from the floor though. DeShawn Sims added 12 points and 7 boards, Zack Novak 12 points and 4 boards, and Kelvin Grady added 11 points.

For the Terps, Greivis Vasquez’s line was outstanding. He finished with 23 points, 12 boards, 6 assists (just 1 turnover) and even chipped in 3 steals. He was 8-16 from the floor and 5-6 from the FT line; the ONLY negative on his night was his 2-8 shooting from outside; which included a few shots early in possessions. Eric Hayes added 13 points, 4 boards, and 4 assists; Landon Milbourne 12 points and 3 boards; and Dave Neal 12 points and 4 boards.
9:28-Gary was particularly emotional early on in his radio interview with Johnny and Chris; as he’s clearly pleased with how the Terps responded from their bad losses in Orlando. Gary encourages the Terrapin fans to “just stay with us”, saying “no one in the country has played our schedule.”

9:27-Time expires on this one; and Maryland wins 75-70. They improve to 5-2, while Michigan falls to 5-2. George Washington is next Sunday night at Verizon Center in the BB&T Classic. Terps remain undefeated at home in Big Ten/ACC Challenge play. It’s 5-3 ACC now.

9:26-Siena with the big 75-68 win at Loyola; Towson blows out UMBC 82-65.

9:25-Hayes takes the drama away again; hitting both at the line. Maryland calls timeout, they lead 75-70.

9:24-Sims with the foul; he fouls out. Vasquez with 1 of 2 at the line; then Wright hits an UNREAL 3 on the other end. Hayes is fouled with 9.5 to play, Terps lead 73-70 and need at least one from Hayes. Terps are now in the double bonus.

9:23-Tough rooting game for Maryland tonight. They could certainly benefit from Michigan State winning and moving back toward the Top 5. But with UNC coming up twice on the schedule; it might help to have the Heels win for SOS and RPI reasons as well. Plus, there’s the whole ACC/Big Ten Challenge thing, which the ACC will likely still need to win another game tonight to clinch.

9:22-Penn State’s lead is 81-76 with 1:59 to play.

9:21-Greivis gets both at the line; he has 22. Anthony Wright (didn’t he play QB?) hits a 3 on the other end, and Michigan calls timeout. 72-67 Maryland with 19.8 left.

9:20-Michigan’s strategy works for now……Hayes misses a pull up jumper, they get the ball back with 37 seconds to play. They miss from outside; Greivis rebounds, and he’ll have the chance to ice this. Crowd begins “A-C-C” chant they’ve chanted at the end of every home game Maryland has played in the history of this Challenge.

9:19-Neal gets a block inside, Terps get the ball. Michigan decides to play defense instead of foul in a 2 possession game, Maryland calls timeout with 11 on the shot clock, 46.5 to play in the game.

9:18-Final in Winston-Salem: Wake 83, Indiana 58. 4-3 ACC now.

9:15-Penn State maintains a 79-74 lead in Atlanta with about 3 and a half to play.

Dave Neal fouled by Sims-that’s his 4th. Neal makes the first one interesting, but rolls it home. He swishes the 2nd, Maryland calls timeout with a 70-64 lead to set their defense. They will probably have to finish this one at the line.

9:14-This was the Terps’ 6th team foul; so no free throws from Michigan. Terps come up with a big stand, but Michigan will be in the bonus for the final two minutes. Crowd remains pretty quiet, and Grady responds by nailing a 3 with 1:35 to play. Beilein calls a timeout with his Wolverines trailing 68-64.

9:11-A big stand is followed by a HUGE 3 from Save Neal on the other end. He has 10, and Maryland leads 68-61. Terps called for a foul with 2:30 to play as we hit the final official timeout.

I will note that the crowd here at Comcast Center has been a bit disappointing in the noise area late in the 2nd half. We all know that Comcast Center is not as explosive as Cole Field House was; but you would certainly expect that this crowd would be rocking when Michigan has the ball late. Maybe it has something to do with 3 NIT’s in 4 years.

9:08-Momentum swings big for the Terps; as Milbourne comes up with a MONSTER block, then Vasquez finds him on the other end for a stuff, and the crowd goes crazy with Maryland extending their lead to 65-61. Michigan calls timeout to calm things down, 3:53 to play. Vasquez again motions for the crowd; which will need to remain loud down the stretch.

9:07-Neal with outstanding interior defense, but Manny Harris is in the right place at the right time for a putback. He has 15, Michigan is within 2.

9:05-Zack Gibson with the movement without the ball to get to the hoop, where he gets his first points of the game. Dave Neal is fouled on the bother end-Michigan’s 7th team foul, and makes 1 of 2. Maryland leads 60-57. Grady picked up the foul; it was his 2nd. Novak back in the game with 3 fouls. Harris goes to the hoop but can’t finish, Sims with the putback, he has 12-first points of the 2nd half. Greivis responds with the 3 from the wing, Terps lead 63-59.

9:03-Wake is now blowing out Indiana 72-47 in the 2nd half. Penn State maintains a 6 point lead on Georgia Tech late in an important swing game for the Challenge.

9:00-Manny Harris puts a nice move on Mosley to get around him for the two at the hoop. Mosley misses a jumper on the other end, and Bowie misses a wild layup the next time down. Milbourne gets the board and the putback; he has 10 and the Terps again lead by 4. Hayes picks up a foul on the defensive end; Greivis will re-enter; and the Terps lead 59-55 at the 3rd official timeout-6:55 to play. Terps did a nice job of not letting Michigan get control with Vasquez on the bench.

8:58-Michigan goes back to the zone, and forces a turnover as Mosley tried to penetrate and kick. On the offensive end; Novak picked up his 3rd foul fighting for a rebound, he’ll go back to the bench. Gregory gets a look inside but can’t get it to go. He’s played good minutes tonight however. Milbourne with the board and he’s fouled; Gregory gets a nice reception as he exits for Neal; and Milbourne hits both at the line. 57-53 and they set up the trap again.

8:57-Gary brings Greivis out for a breather; and likely to remind him to stay within himself. Harris hits both at the line, and Maryland’s lead is 55-53.

8:56-You can tell that Greivis wants to take this game over; but settling for early looks from outside is not a responsible way to try to control things. Manny Harris goes to the hoop on the other end; he draws the foul from Mosley; who also missed a jumper in the lane on the previous possession.

8:54-Vasquez hits both freebies; then Landon Milbourne hits a short jumper to make things 53-51 Maryland. Greivis adds a wild runner across the lane to stretch the lead to 4.

8:53-The Ravens-Redskins rivalry is alive in College Park; as a Clinton Portis appearance on the jumbotron was initially greeted with cheers, but then drowned out by boos and ending in a serious mix. LaVarr Arrington is also in the house tonight.

8:50-Michigan continues to find their shooters outside as the Terps collapse on the ball. Novak with the 3; he has 12. A nice give and go between Mosley and Greivis will get the latter to the free throw line after the official timeout. Michigan leads 51-49 with 11:32 to play in the game.

8:49-Hayes goes inside this time; drawing the foul from Novak. Novak is the 3rd Wolverine to pick up his 2nd personal foul. Hayes hits both at the line; he has 11 and the Terps lead 49-48 as they again set up the trap.

8:47-Vasquez cuts inside to find Dino Gregory, who stuffs the ball home to give Marland the lead back at 47-46. Maryland allowed Michigan back into the game; they’d like to re-establish their advantage. A missed 3 from Hayes and a layup from Grady won’t help that; Michigan now has a 48-47 lead.

8:45-Novak does add that free throw; and the Terps turn it over on the other end; where Vasquez picks up a loose ball foul. That’s his 2nd, and the team’s 3rd early in the 2nd half. A nice cut to the hoop gets Novak two more; and an instant 6-0 run has the Wolverines within 1 at 45-44. Make it an 8-0 run as Gregory is called for a questionable goaltending, and Michigan leads 46-45. Hoop goes to Shepherd on what appeared to be an emphatic block.

8:43-Word before the game was that with Ball State not committing to play Boise State in a Bowl game; Maryland was “90% done” to the Humanitarian Bowl in Idaho. However, I overheard a fairly contentious conversation AD Debbie Yow had during halftime; and she remained non-committal; even keeping the at-large Bowl games an option. There will be a lot of talk amongst Maryland fans regarding the team’s decision to not participate in the EagleBank Bowl during exams week; I will likely write about that tomorrow morning; hopefully in Crabs and Beer.

8:42-Just when everything WAS going right; some of the life comes out of the crowd at the official timeout, as Zack Novak hits an off-balance 3 with the shot clock running down. Making matters worse; he was fouled by Bowie and will go to the line with the chance for a 4 point play to cut Maryland’s lead to 3. It’s 45-41 for the moment.

8:41-Vasquez works inside for a hoop in the lane; and Maryland extends their lead to 7. He now has 13 on the night.

8:40-Bowie connects on both free throws; Maryland has their largest lead of the game at 43-38 and sets up the trap again. This pace is certainly much more to the Terrapins’ liking.

8:37-Comcast Center comes alive as Gregory gets another basket; then Maryland comes up with a steal using the press, and Adrian Bowie draws the foul inside. Maryland on a 12-3 run to open the 2nd half; and leads 41-38. Vasquez goes to the fist pump to further incite the crowd.

Funny moment; as soccer coach Sasho Cirovski wanted to walk through the media area to get to the floor and say hello to some fans. The security guard didn’t recognize the coach; and stopped him because he didn’t have a credential. The Media Relations staff helped him out, and Sasho got to the floor. If he wins a 2nd national title next weekend, he might be recognized a bit more.

8:33-Greivis with consecutive intelligent plays here. First, he used a ball fake to penetrate inside; where a pass to Milbourne was deflected out of bounds. On the inbounds pass; Greivis threw the ball off the back of a Michigan defender. When the other defenders collapsed on him inside; he kicked the ball out to an open Eric Hayes, who drilled another 3. However, when the Terps got the ball again; Greivis QUICKLY took a 3; and off his miss Manny Harris hit a 3 on the other end. It’s the Jeckyl and Hyde of Greivis. Another inside hoop from Dino Gregory and a Dave Neal jumper later, Maryland has regained the lead at 39-38.

8:32-Greivis gets his first shot from outside to open the 2nd half; allowing Maryland to set up the press finally. 35-32 Michigan.

8:29-A couple numbers to point out from the halftime stats. Maryland does hold a 20-12 rebounding advantage; and their 13-31 (41.9%) shooting from the field is not particularly bad. They are being done in however by a Michigan team that is unafraid to shoot from outside, and is currently 6-14 (42.9%) and 13-27 (48.1%) overall from the field. Maryland is just 1-11 (9.1%) from outside; and attempted just 2 free throws (both makes) in the first stanza. THAT number in particular could be game-changing.

8:16-Shawne Merriman honored at halftime; receiving a surprisingly mild ovation from the crowd. The NCAA Champion field hockey team will also be honored at half; they’re standing in front of me right now with their championship trophy. The ovation for the field hockey team is certainly louder than the one Merriman received.

8:14-Michigan REALLY hurting Maryland from outside; as a runner Vasquez missed in the lane turns into a 3 from Grady. 35-27 Michigan, and we’re under a minute.

Hayes again misses from outside; and the Terps manage to corral the ball for a hoop from Vasquez. They had the chance to take the final shot of the half; but instead shot with about 15 seconds to play. Michigan misses on the other end; and Maryland goes to the half trailing 35-29.

8:12-Vasquez with the move to the hoop for the lay-in , he has 6. Sims answers with a shot from outside, he has 10 and the Terps trail 32-25. Hayes responds with a long two; maybe that will help his confidence outside. 32-27 as Burney does a nice job of taking a foul inside from Harris; who now has 2 and heads to the bench.

8:10-Trying to correct his previous misses, Greivis resorts to the high archer from outside; but again misses. Terps were doing a good job of penetrating the Michigan defense earlier; but have gotten lazy since then. Manny Harris with a great baseline cut and move to the hoop for 2, Michigan extends their lead to 29-23.

8:09-Manny Harris hits a pair at the line coming out of the official timeout; and Michigan’s lead again goes to 4 at 27-23.

8:07-Towson appears to be inspired by WNST night at the RAC Arena; as they have a 44-37 halftime advantage over UMBC. Loyola currently trails Siena 38-30 at Reitz Arena. You can’t help but wonder if Jimmy Patsos might have done some damage with his players in the Davidson game.

8:04-A poor inside switch from the Terps gets Shepherd an easy bucket, and Michigan breaks Maryland’s run; taking a 25-21 advantage as we nudge under 5 minutes to play. Hayes responds with a great move inside for a layup; credit Milbourne for saving a ball inbounds off a Wolverines defender to maintain possession.

8:03-The early struggles from outside have clearly shaken Eric Hayes, who again passed up on an open look from outside. Landon Milbourne goes inside however, and draws a foul on Douglas. No Wolverine with more than 1 personal foul yet; but Milbourne gets both freebies, and a 7-0 run has the Terps within 2.

8:00-It’s Mosley who finally connects from outside; and the Terps now trail only 23-19. Crowd comes alive; but Bowie’s shot is again flat on the other end. Cliff Tucker will check in with 5:58 to play in the half; and Beilein takes a timeout after the Wolverines airball a jumper from outside.

7:59-Terps now getting tentative to take outside shots even when there is space, and haven’t been able to get anything going in transition. Bowie with a nice runner in the lane; not a high IQ shot, but it went, and the Terps trail 23-16.

7:55-Bowie with ANOTHER miss from outside for the Terps; and Jevohn Shepherd gets an inside hoop PLUS ONE in transition on a Gregory foul. Zack Novak then hits an off-balance 3; and the Wolverines extend their lead to 23-14 and Gary is forced to take a timeout. Michigan is now 4/9 from outside in comparison to 0/7 from Maryland. That number can make a game get out of hand quickly. We hit the official timeout with the same 23-14 score.

7:51-Adrian Bowie with a nice offensive rebound; but goes up wildly and can’t find the hoop. Wolverines get a breakaway, and Jevohn Shepherd cashes in. Terps get a good 15 foot jumper from Mosley on the other end; who used a nice fake to create space. 17-14 Michigan.

7:48-Terps legends in the house tonight; as not only is Shawne Merriman here for his annual coat drive (he was signing autographs before the game); but all-time great Buck Williams is also here, serving as honorary captain.

7:46-Kelvin Grady does with Vasquez and Hayes couldn’t; he hits a jumper from 3. 15-12 Michigan as Dave Neal is called for an offensive foul and we hit the 2nd official timeout. Terps 0/6 shooting from outside so far; which has to change.

7:44-Another good move to the hoop by Eric Hayes off a ball fake draws a foul on Michigan’s David Merritt. Vasquez gets another 2 to make things 10-10. Sean Mosley follows with an outstanding swat inside; and Dino Gregory now enters the game with about 13:20 to play. You have to wonder if there’s something more to the Dupree story. Neal with another hoop inside; but Sims responds by getting away for a dunk. 12-12 with 12 and a half to play in the first.

7:43-Neal checks back in with Sean Mosley; DeShawn Sims greets them with a 3. Vasquez gets his first points of the game on a 2nd chance effort when Michigan is called for goaltending. 10-8 Wolverines.

7:41-The Big Ten and ACC come into tonight’s play tied at 3 apiece in the Challenge; with 5 games on the docket tonight. Indiana and Wake are tied at 20 midway through the first half; Penn State has an 11-4 lead AT Georgia Tech early. With each of tonight’s late games coming at Big Ten locations (UNC and Michigan State are playing in Detroit at Ford Field; Florida State visits Northwestern); Maryland’s outcome could be crucial to trying to keep the ACC unbeaten in the Challenge.

7:38-Sloppy play early as Maryland tries to find offensive rhythm. Chuck Driesell takes some extra time to talk to Braxton Dupree on the bench; probably trying to keep his head in the game instead of sulking over the fact that he has yet to enter in the game’s first 5 minutes. Eric Hayes cuts inside for a layup; but Manny Harris answers with a bucket of his own. Hayes then misses the Terps’ first try from outside; and we hit the first official timeout with Maryland trailing 7-6.

7:35-Michigan appears content to shoot from outside; and Stu Douglas finally gets one to go on the Wolverines’ 4th try. 5-4 Michigan; and Jerome Burney enters for Dave Neal after Neal badly misses a baseline jumper.

7:33-Terps HAVE to improve on the boards. Michigan missed two 3-pointers; but got 2 offensive rebounds and an easy hoop inside from DeShawn Sims. Milbourne responds with another inside hoop; 4-2 Maryland. Like the offense to far; interior defense has to match; Terps get a steal, but Bowie can’t connect on a good look from outside.

7:31-Large media contingency here tonight; including many of the DC area radio and TV personalities that don’t make most games. Michigan might not be the caliber program they once were; but their win over UCLA might have sparked some extra interest.

Right off the bat, Terps use Milbourne to cut inside; who feeds to Neal for the easy hoop. 2-0 Maryland.

7:28-Surprised to see a number of empty seats in the lower bowl of the arena; while the upper deck appears full. The student section has a LARGE number of empty seats; however it is possible that the school attempted to sell some of those tickets to the general public.

Surprise in Maryland’s starting lineup: Dave Neal is in; Braxton Dupree is out. Clearly Gary is trying to send a message. Landon Milbourne, Greivis Vasquez, Adrian Bowie, and Eric Hayes join him; Sean Mosley is back out. Terps likely want to use Neal inside if Michigan goes to the 1-3-1 zone; and might be a sign that the Terps understand they need to attack and use athleticism more than try to pound the ball and take outside shots.

7:20-We’re here in College Park at the Comcast Center as the Terps prepare to battle the Wolverines. The Terrapins are 4-2 and coming off back to back losses to Gonzaga and Georgetown; the Wolverines are 5-1 and coming off a dramatic overtime escape over Savannah State. Each team has a win over a premeire team; as Maryland defeated Michigan State in Orlando; while Michigan beat UCLA at Madison Square Garden. Former West Virginia Coach John Beilein heads up the Wolverines, Beilein beat the Terps in his most recent matchup-which came in the 2003 BB&T Classic at the building that is now known as the Verizon Center. That was a 78-77 overtime stunner in the consolation round. Tonight’s game can be seen on ESPNU if you want to play along at home; local lacrosse guru Quint Kessenich has the call, while former Wisconsin Badger Mike Kelley provides analysis.

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