With their 74-69 victory over NC State Thursday night in the first round of the ACC Tournament, the Terps can breathe again.
Maryland survived early struggles and an early onslaught from the Wolfpack; got 5 big outside shots from Eric Hayes off the bench; and managed to advance to the quarterfinals Friday night against Wake Forest.
But the Terps aren’t exactly going to sleep easy afterwards.
The win over NC State will be completely academic if Maryland doesn’t follow it up with an upset win over Wake Forest in the quarterfinals. But they couldn’t have gotten there without the win over the Wolfpack.
For now, this is little more than a chance to breathe again. And try to re-group in time for a game tomorrow night against a team that will have a serious size advantage.
Julius Mays came off the bench to lead NC State with 18 points. Ben McCauley added 14 with a team high (tied for game high) 7 rebounds. Dennis Horner added 11 off the bench; C.J. Williams 8. Brandon Costner struggled throughout thanks to 4 personal fouls; finishing with 5 points, 5 rebounds, and a team high 4 assists. Tracy Smith filled the stat sheet with 4 points and 6 boards; Courntey Fells added 4 points and 5 boards. The Wolfpack out-rebounded the Terps 32-24; adding 16 assists and 4 blocks. The Pack shot 26-59 from the field (44.1%); 8-27 from outside (29.6%), and 9-11 from the free throw line (81.8%).
Eric Hayes came off the bench to lead the Terps witha game high 21 points; shooting 5-6 from beyond the arc. Greivis Vasquez added 17 points, 4 boards, and a game high 10 assists. Dave Neal chipped in 10, Landon Milbourne 7. Sean Mosley and Dino Gregory each scored 6; Gregory tying for a game high 7 rebounds in key minutes. The Terps shot 25-53 from the field (47.2%), 9-16 from beyond the arc (56.3%), and 15-21 from the free throw line (71.4%). The Terps collected 16 assists and 4 blocks.
8:58-Milbourne makes one of 2; and Costner adds a putback hoop; but this will end it. 74-69 win for the Terps. Terps improve to 19-12 overall and advance to the quarterfinals to face Wake Forest tomorrow night. Will wrap up here in a second.
8:57-Both Maryland and Virginia Tech finished 7-9 in ACC play. Jimmy Dykes thinks the Terps need to beat Wake Forest tomorrow AND win again on Saturday to get in; but thinks Virginia Tech needs only beat North Carolina (even if Ty Lawson doesn’t play) to punch their ticket? Did Virginia Tech beat Michigan State this season? I must have missed it.
8:55-Hayes inexplicably misses his 2nd straight free throw; but makes the 2nd. If the Terps are tired; they’ll have to get it back together before tomorrow night’s quarterfinal. McCauley gets a putback after Hayes made his 2nd attempt. 21 for Hayes; 14 for McCauley. Timeout Pack with 14.6 seconds left in this one and the Terps up 73-67.
8:52-47.1 seconds to play and Mosley is fouled. Terps are going to win their first ACC Tournament game in 3 years. Mosley makes 1 of 2; then Julius Mays drills a 3. Mays leads the pack with 18 now. 38.7 to play; Terps lead 72-65. Hayes finally fouled with 26.4 seconds to play. He’ll shoot two.
8:50-NC State calls another timeout before Hayes goes to the free throw line; having a chance to extend the lead to double digits. Hayes now has a career high with 20; but misses the 2nd free throw. Terps by 9 with under a minute to go; and they can start making plans for the Demon Deacons tomorrow night.
8:49-Hayes fouled by Costner (that’s his 4th personal if it matters). Hayes makes both, he has a game high 19; Terps by 8 with less than 90 seconds to play; NC State turns it over and Hayes is fouled again with 1:05 to play.
8:47-Hayes makes both free throws; he is tied for the game high with 17. Terps with a bit of breathing room at 68-62 with under 2 minutes to play. Horner misses from outside; Terps get the ball back. State goes to the press, and Gary takes his 3rd timeout.
8:43-Under 3 minutes to play, and NC State needs a bucket to stay in it. Ben McCauley blocked inside; and Hayes fouled by Mays with 2:08 to play. We hit the final official timeout of regulation; Terps still up by 4.
8:41-Nessler lets us know there have been 12 lead changes in the last 3 minutes. Mays can’t continue his unreal night; missing from outside. But Vasquez coolly nails a triple; and Maryland’s lead is now 4 at 66-62. Maryland calls a timeout; Vasquez now has a game high 17 to go along with 10 assists.
8:40-Another big 3 from Hayes after the timeout; and Maryland goes back ahead 61-59. Game high 15 for Hayes. That doesn’t last long. Julius Mays continues his unreal night with a 3 of his own; he also has 15. Nice drive and finish by Mosley; and Maryland goes back ahead 63-62. Both teams hot right now.
8:37-Mays pulls up for the jumper from the top of the key, he has 12. State calls timeout now ahead 59-58. The Terps will have to keep finding a hero to hit big shots.
8:36-Julius Mays drills a 3; Nessler informs us that’s only the 11th 3 he’s hit all season. 10 for Mays now. Neal drives and scores; he has 10. Terps by a point again, 58-57 with under 5 minutes to play.
8:34-Major audio troubles for ESPN2, as Horner makes a pair of freebies. Horner now has 11 for the Pack; and we’re tied at 54. Vasquez misses from outside and inside; but Mosley gets his first field goal the next time down inside. 56-54 Terps with 6 minutes to play.
8:31-Fighting for the board; Mosley called for the foul on Horner. We’ll hit the 3rd official timeout of the 2nd half with Maryland ahead by 2.
8:29-Horner knocks down both free throws, he has 9. 52-51 NC State; and Greivis finds Gregory inside for the hoop and a foul. Gregory makes the plus one attempt; and Maryland goes ahead 54-52. 6 team fouls on both sides now; as we go under the 8 minute mark. Maryland must improve their interior defense and get some rebounds.
8:28-This game is starting to pick up a bit. Mosley drives and can’t finish, but Milbourne is there to put it back. Horner fouled by Hayes in the lane; he’ll shoot a pair.
8:26-Horner takes the 3 and connects with the shot clock running out; 7-0 run for the Pack and 7 for Horner now. Neal answers with his own 3; and McCauley gets a hoop inside (12 for him now); and NC State goes ahead 47-46. That’s short lived, as Vasquez finds Neal for another 3 (8 assists for Vasquez, 8 points for Neal). 49-47 Terps with under 10 minutes to play. C.J. Williams then drills a 3 to put the Pack back ahead 50-49.
8:21-C.J. Williams with the ball fake, then hits the jumper. State has pulled within 1 at 43-42, and the Terps are one and done after Vasquez misses a jumper. Horner misses a 3, but the Pack will keep it after a jump ball and the official timeout. Terps by 1.
8:20-Horner makes both; Vasquez answers with another tough hoop. That’s 14 for Vasquez, 10 in the 2nd half. McCauley with the turnaround inside; he has 10 and Maryland’s lead is 43-40.
8:18-Costner picks up his 3rd personal foul battling for a rebound. Vasquez with the pretty dish to Milbourne inside; but he’s stuffed going up by McCauley. Nice pass, even nicer defensive play. Nessler and Dykes are clearly more comfortable talking about SEC basketball; maybe this was the wrong assignment for them. Dino Gregory called for the foul as Horner goes up, he’ll shoot two.
8:12-Mosley gets the ball underneath; he’s fouled. Nessler and Dykes are struggling to name the players who are picking up the fouls. Mosley makes just 1 of 2 at the line (his first point of the game); and the Terps now lead 36-34. Tracy Smith called for the player controlled foul this time down; while Nessler and Dykes continue to chat about last year’s tornado at the SEC Tournament in Atlanta. Ugh. Hayes knocks down his 4th 3 point basket (he has 12); Gonzalez finds McCauley for 2 on the other end (8 for Ben); and Vasquez gets another teardrop (he has 12 as well). 41-36 Terps. I’ll handle play by play while the ESPN2 guys talk weather. You can pay me later.
8:09-Vasquez drives and is fouled again. He goes to the line and hits 2; making Maryland’s lead 35-32. 10 for Vasquez, 3 personals on Courtney Fells. Pack break the press easily; and Tracy Smith gets a bucket and is fouled by Hayes. Smith misses the plus one attempt as Gary Williams, Chuck Drieseell, and Robert Ehsan all yell at Dave Neal for going for a steal.
8:06-After a big offensive rebound by Dave Neal, Greivis Vasquez opens 2nd half scoring from the lane. Jimmy Dykes then drools over the skill set he’ll show in NBA Draft camps. Brandon Costner responds with a 3; then Vasquez with another hoop. That’s 8 now for Greivis; who is called for the foul as Maryland again tries to press. Maryland gets a turnover after the press; but Vasquez misses the 3; and then Milbourne is hit with a foul after the Pack goes in transition.
8:02-Maryland must continue to hit a few outside shots to keep North Carolina State’s defense honest. The Terps have shown vulnerability inside on the offensive end; and can’t let Brandon Costner get things turned around. If the defense stays open, the Terps should be able to slash a bit more in the 2nd half; and hopefully get more than 4 free throw attempts.
The Pack shot 12-26 in the first half (46.2%), 2-9 from outside (22.2%), and 3-4 from the free throw line (75%). The Terps shot 11-28 (39.3%), 4-7 from outside (57.1%), 3-4 from the line (75%). The Wolfpack out-rebounded the Terps 16-13. Maryland had 8 assists and 3 blocks, NC State 5 assists and 2 blocks.
7:59-I have to imagine Arizona is OUT now; having lost to Arizona State today. This would end their streak of 24 consecutive NCAA Tournaments. The ESPN2 gang (including Doug Gottlieb and Tom Brennan) seems to think Penn State is sitting pretty with a win over Indiana; but I think they might need to make some more noise in the Big Ten Tournament to feel comfortable on Sunday.
7:52-With the Terps again DESPERATE for offense, Eric Hayes was the hero again in the first half. Hayes knocked down 3 3 point baskets for a game-high 9; which has completely opened Gary Williams’ offense back up against Sidney Lowe’s NSCU club.
Landon Milbourne, Greivis Vasquez, and Adrian Bowie all have 4 each (Vasquez has added 4 boards and 5 assists); Dino Gregory and Cliff Tucker each have 3 off the bench (Gregory also has 3 rebounds). Dave Neal has 2, no points yet for Sean Mosley. Braxton Dupree has not hit the floor yet.
I think Brad Nessler and Jimmy Dykes have done a solid job calling this ACC Tournament first round matchup on ESPN2; Wake Forest of course looms for the winner tomorrow night. Should the Terps not win; they are of course likely off the NCAA Tournament bubble completely.
7:47-Mays pulls down a big offensive rebound in the corner; and the Terps get a steal but turn it over. Mays’ last 3 won’t fall, and we’ll head to intermission tied at 29. Mays has 7 to lead the Wolfpack; I’ll update Maryland’s stats in a second.
7:45-Julius Mays called for the offensive foul, Terps get the ball back with under a minute to play. He gets to keep the teardrop he hit right before the foul; so NC State goes ahead for the moment. Dino Gregory to the free throw line while Vasquez and Mays are chirping. Gregory hits the first, misses the second. Tied at 29.
7:39-Updating the numbers:
NC State has 5 apiece from Javier Gonzalez and Julius Mays; 4 apiece from Courtney Fells and Ben McCauley (who also has 2 personal fouls). C.J. Williams has 3; Dennis Horner and Tracy Smith each have 2. Brandon Costner picked up 2 quick personal fouls without scoring. Simon Harris has also been held scoreless.
With Dino Gregory’s jumper here, the Terps have gone ahead 26-25. NC State just committed a shot violation; then Vasquez (who hasn’t scored in some time) tipped in his own miss; and the lead is 28-25. McCauley gets it inside, cuts the lead to 1 with 90 seconds to play in the half.
7:36-I got live just in time apparently. NC State jumped out to as much as a 13 point lead in the first half; but the Terps didn’t fold. With Cliff Tucker’s last 3; the Terps have pulled within 1 at 25-24 at the last official timeout of the first 20 minutes; and have had a LOT of success since switching to their own zone defense.
7:33-Sorry for being late. Internet issues here at the compound; much like the Terps have had basketball issues at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Will do my best to catch up; much like…..well, you get it.