All of the warm fuzzies of the Carolina win are officially gone.
Once again, Gary Williams will have to pull a rabbit out of his hat, or this will be another fruitless Spring in College Park.
Maryland gave their doubters fuel with their 68-63 loss at Virginia Saturday; and Gary Williams’ detractors will be sure to make their voices heard again this week and next; depending on the outcome of the ACC Tournament.
The Terps had their chances both early and late. They had the chance to put Virginia away for good in the first half after opening up a 13 point lead, and they had the chance to finish a rally from 9 points down when they had the ball in the final 90 seconds.
Instead, they’re left scratching their heads; with stories of how they weren’t on the same page and blaming each other.
Instead, they’ll enter the ACC Tournament having lost 3 of their last 4; including back to back heartbreakers.
Instead, they’ll have to wonder if they’re relegated to their 4th NIT Tournament in the last 5 seasons. Dave Neal will have to wonder if he’s already played the final NCAA Tournament game of his career.
It shouldn’t have gotten to this, but it has. It won’t be an easy week in College Park; and the Terps will not be guaranteed even as much as one win in Atlanta (the Terps will face either Miami or NC State in the first round).
The Terps will continue to have sour memories of Charlottesville; as little good has happened for them here in recent years. This one will be particularly sour; as this years Cavs should not have been the type of team that could break the Terps’ hearts.
There’s plenty of blame to go around. Gary and Greivis weren’t on the same page for one of the more crucial moments of the season. Landon Milbourne and Adrian Bowie have taken turns disappearing. Cliff Tucker has barely shown up against teams not named North Carolina. Eric Hayes missed shot after shot until finally tying things up tonight. Dino Gregory, Braxton Dupree, and the cast of characters inside have offered little defensive resistence. Dave Neal has struggled with foul trouble. The finger can’t just be pointed at one person.
And collectively, this team will have point the fingers at themselves and work to win basketball games in Atlanta…….or everyone else will be pointing fingers at them until next season for failure.
The Terps were lead by Greivis Vasquez’s 21 points. He also chipped in 5 boards and tied for a game high with 6 assists. Dave Neal added 15 points, Landon Milbourne 10 with a team high 6 rebounds. Eric Hayes finished with 7 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds. The Terps shot 27-66 from the field (40.9%), 5-22 from beyond the arc (22.7%), and 4-6 from the free throw line (66.7). They finished with 19 assists to 9 turnovers; 1 block, and 7 steals. They were out-rebounded 36-27.
The Cavs were lead by senior Mamadi Diane’s game high 23 points; with Sylven Landesberg chipping in 14. Mike Scott added 11 points and a game high 11 rebounds. Calvin Baker had 9 points and tied for the game high with 6 assists. The Cavs finished with 13 assists to 18 turnovers with 2 blocks and 3 steals. They shot 21-46 from the field (45.7%), 6-14 from beyond the arc (42.9%), and 20-24 from the free throw line (83.3%).
Maryland outscored the Cavs in the paint (32-22), off turnovers (14-9), in 2nd chance points (7-2). The Cavs outscored Maryland in fast break points (6-4), and off the bench (22-11). In one of the more puzzling statistics of the game; the Terps attempted 40 2nd half field goals to Virginia’s 19; yet were outscored 42-36.
Gary Williams didn’t say much; but what we just heard in the last 25 minutes is pretty damning.
When I asked Gary what happened on the possession after Mamadi Diane’s 3 to put the Cavs ahead 64-61 in the final minute, Gary seemed resigned to passing on the chance to answer. But when I asked him again what he wanted Greivis Vasquez to do on the possession, he added simply “run a screen and roll play. We didn’t get the shot we wanted there.” More on Gary’s explanation in a minute.
Looking for clarification; Greivis Vasquez had an answer, saying he was “confused” as to which play to run, and didn’t know what play Gary Williams wanted. Dave Neal added that Gary Williams had called one play, while Greivis Vasquez called another.
A reminder that the Terps still had one timeout and some 30 seconds to try to pull out a win.
Let that sink in. With their Tournament lives likely on the bubble; the team’s head coach and superstar player weren’t on the same page; and the possession ended with a Greivis missing a wild shot with 10 seconds on the clock.
Getting back to Gary though; he finished his answer to me with another comment…
“Doesn’t come down to the last play, there’s 39 minutes before that.”
He’s absolutely right about that. But that possession might have been the 4th nail in the coffin in the last 5 years.
Gary said that the start of the game might have made the Terps think things were “too easy.” He said the Terps “got a little stiff” after the Cavs went zone; and “got away from running (their) offense properly.” He thought the Cavs “made a nice run” to close the first half, and “hit some big shots” to complete the comeback. He also thought the Cavs’ Diane was “great” despite a mostly subpar season. Gary said he was “proud of the comeback” the Terps made late to get back into things, having a shot to take the lead with just over a minute to play.
Gary said the Terps would “be ready to play” in the ACC Tournament next weekend in Atlanta; but admitted he “hadn’t even thought about” what his team will need to do to try to get back into the NCAA Tournament picture. He closed his press conference by saying that he told his team in the locker room to “come in Monday ready to practice.”
Greivis Vasquez and Dave Neal were equally disappointed with the loss; Greivis admitting that he didn’t think the team’s effort was there; embarrassed to lose to “one of the worst teams” in the ACC. Greivis first said the Terps would have to go win the ACC Tournament, but then backed off and said the Terps just needed to prove they could win games “night in and night out.” Dave Neal said he thought the Terps needed to win 2 games in Atlanta to advance to the NCAA Tournament; and added that if any player on the team wasn’t ready to go tonight knowing what was on the line, he “questions how much (they) love the game of basketball.”
5:31-Baker makes both; that’s how this one will end. 68-63 Virginia. Maryland falls to 18-12 (7-9 ACC). Cavs improve to 10-17 (4-12 ACC). The Terps will have to do it on their own in Atlanta. Back with more after Auld Lang Syne.
5:29-Scott makes both; Greivis gets a layup with 5 seconds to play. Milbourne fouls out sending the Cavs back to the line with 4 seconds left; again needing to make just one to end this. Calvin Baker to the line.
5:28-It means little in an already lost season for Virginia; but the Terps will always remember how Mamadi Diane closed his career at John Paul Jones Arena. 23 points including the last minute dagger.
No timeouts for Maryland now.
5:27-Nothing doing for the Terps; and this one will likely be over. Diane will be the hero on Senior night. Milbourne fouls Scott after the rebound of a bad miss by Vasquez. Gary will take his final timeout with 10.8 seconds to play; it won’t matter if Scott hits one of these.
5:26-Terps in the zone; daring Virginia to shoot over. Diane does just that. 38.5 seconds to play, Virginia by 3.
5:24-Terps can’t take advantage; and Virginia gets the ball back with a minute to play. They’ll take their 3rd timeout with 57.7 seconds left in the game; we’re tied at 61. They’ll look to get it inside I imagine and try to draw a foul.
5:23-Landesberg makes both; but Hayes FINALLY hits a 3. Tied at 61; 1:30 to play. Diane misses, Cavs one and done. Terps ball.
5:22-This is a game again; and Milbourne fouls Landesberg as he makes a move along the baseline. He’ll shoot two.
5:21-Cavs turn the ball over again as Mike Scott falls down. Dave Neal with ANOTHER huge 3; getting Maryland within 1 at 59-58. That’s 15 for Neal now with about 2:15 to play.
5:20-Tucker hits both, he has 7. Vasquez drives and finishes; he’s fouled by Mike Scott. Both teams in the bonus now. Vasquez makes the free throw; 59-55 Virginia and Maryland needs stops.
5:19-Calvin Baker answers with arguably his biggest shot of the season; and that could be the dagger for the Terps. That 3 gives Virginia a 57-52 lead; and Milbourne misses before Mosley fouls Jamil Tucker with 2:56 to play. Terps got within 2; but that might be as close as they get.
5:18-Dave Neal with arguably his biggest shot of the season; a 3 to pull the Terps within 2 at 54-52. Maryland’s lone senior has 12 on the day. 3:30 to play.
5:17-Drew Forrester likes to say “If you can’t beat Virginia at the end of the season; you don’t belong in the NCAA Tournament.” And if the Terps can’t stage a comeback here; they won’t, save something absolutely miraculous in the ACC Tournament. This happened just this way a season ago. The Terps fall in crushing fashion on Senior Night in College Park (last year Clemson was the victor), then lose at Virginia to finish the ACC schedule 7-9.
5:15-Cavs get the ball inside to Scott; who can’t finish. Landon Milbourne misses a jumper on the other end; but Mosley stays with him. We’ll hit the final official timeout of regulation with the Terps clinging to life; 54-49 Cavs with 3:55 to play.
5:13-Cavs struggle; but break the press and slow it down. The want to work the clock and get the ball inside. Diane is forced to throw up a desperation heave with the shot clock expiring; but it misses everything. Under 5 minutes to play. Hayes misses again from outside; but Vasquez with the rebound and Milbourne with the dunk. 10 now for Landon. Cavs in trouble along the baseline, inadvertant whistle bails them out and they eventually break Maryland’s trap again.
5:11-Cavs get the ball inside to Scott, who is fouled by Milbourne. Cavs are trying to help the Terps on the free throw line; as Scott makes just 1 of 2. Cavs by 9. Terps desperately need a basket; and Neal gives it to them. He has 9. 54-47 Virginia; and they call timeout with Maryland going back to the press.
5:10-Diane makes 2 of 3; ad the lead is 53-45 for Virginia. Terps turn the ball over again; and Eric is going to have plenty of friends joining him in calling for Gary Williams’ head if something drastic doesn’t happen now.
5:07-Maryland is falling apart quicker than my internet connection. Buckets by Bowie and Hayes; but Virginia gets a pair of hoops as well; then Diane is fouled shooting a 3. We hit the 3rd official timeout of the 2nd half with 6:34 to play; and Diane headed to the free throw line to shoot 3. The Terps are going to have to REALLY dig deep here as their bubble is really bursting.
5:00-The Terps wipe away the Cavs’ 5-0 run with a 6-0 run by Vasquez; who now has 16 after that 3. But the good news ends there; as the Cavs turn the ball over and Vasquez misses an ill-timed 3. The next time down; Landesberg gets the hoop and is fouled by Hayes. He makes the free throw; 12 for the freshman. 47-41 Cavs again as Vasquez commits a turnover. One step forward, two steps back.
4:58-Big play out of the timeout; as Vasquez scores off the curl and his fouled by Jamil Tucker. He gets the PLUS ONE attempt; and Maryland trails 44-38. Bowie had the 4th MAB shortly before that. Cavs turn the ball over. 13 points for Vasquez.
4:56-The foul was on Adrian Bowie; his 2nd personal and the team’s 6th. Landesberg nails the open 3; then Diane gets another one in the lane. Diane has 18, Landesberg has 9. The Cavs’ lead has stretched to 44-35 after those 5 points; and Gary is going to have to reach into his bag of tricks now. 44-35 Virginia as the Terps take their 4th timeout with 10:50 still to play. The Cavs just appear to want this one more; which is somewhat stunning.
4:55-Maryland with a lacrosse win today; 9-7 over Towson. That one doesn’t appear to have been particularly prettier to watch than this one has been. The Terps improve to 4-1 and face UMBC next weekend in College Park.
4:52-Milbourne with the 3rd MAB of the game (remember-MAB’s are “Misses At (the) Bucket).” Jamil Tucker called for his 3rd personal (team’s 4th) with a charge. Ugly stretch continues with the Terps called for another foul battling for a rebound. 39-35 Cavs still as we hit the 2nd official timeout of the 2nd half. 11:46 to play and the Terps in a very bad funk.
4:50-Hayes with another outside miss; but the Terps get a defensive rebound and Bowie gets his first bucket in transition. 39-35 Wahoos. The zone is absolutely killing the Terps again; but Virginia doesn’t have Wake’s size. Two misses by Virginia-one goes off Hayes out of bounds; the other leads to a traveling call on Gregory. Gary Williams is screaming on the Maryland sidelines and was warned by an official.
4:49-More bad news. Vasquez fouls Landesberg as he drives; and Landesberg makes both. 6 for the freshman; and they lead 39-33. Terps HAVE to do something to solve this zone.
4:46-Vasquez misses from outside; but Gregory gets a big offensive board. Vasquez misses again from outside; but another offensive board for Milbourne. The possession ends though with Milbourne stepping out of bounds. Landesberg drives and finishes, but the hoop won’t count as he is called for an offensive foul (1st personal, 3rd team). Cavs have gone to a zone with the Terps struggling from the field. Outside misses from Hayes and Tucker this time down (Tucker’s was a 2 point attempt); and the Terps are 1/13 from beyond the arc to this point; having missed their last 12. Fouls on Gregory and Milbourne battling for position; first personal on each, 4 team fouls now.
4:44-You can’t help but be reminded of what Dave Neal did Tuesday night on his own Senior night in College Park while watching Mamadi Diane tonight. These guys just don’t want to lose during their final home games of their career; and are capable of doing some pretty special things to try to avoid it.
4:41-Jamil Tucker picks up the foul (2nd personal, 2nd team); but Vasquez misses a runner and the Terps are one and done again. Dave Neal called for his 3rd personal (2nd team) battling for position underneath defensively, and he has to leave for Gregory. Very nice move by Landesberg in the lane for just his 2nd hoop. 37-31 Cavs. Nice dish by Vasquez to Milbourne; who finishes inside. He has only 4 (had only 2 on Wednesday night). Cavs turn the ball over; and we hit the first official timeout of the 2nd half with the Terps trailing 37-33. 15:53 to play in regulation.
4:37-Dave Leitao’s decision to start his senior Diane is paying off big time right now. Diane makes both free throws and has 16. The Terps with another one and done before Jamil Tucker hits a long 2 to give the Hoos a 35-31 lead. This building is rocking; and the Terps DESPERATELY need to settle down offensively. Gary takes his 3rd timeout with 17:09 to play in the fame and the Terps trailing by 4-Virginia’s biggest lead of the game.
4:35-Cavs with 2 turnovers to open the 2nd half; Adrian Bowie with just the 2nd MAB of the game. Vasquez with a big steal and bucket; he has 10. Scott answers inside for UVa; he has 6. Terps 29-28. Mosley fouled by Calvin Baker (1st personal, team). Neal with a hoop; but Diane drills a 3 to tie things up for the first time since 0-0. 14 for the senior. Another miss from Neal; and Neal is hit with his 2nd persoal on Diane in the lane. Diane will have the chance to give Virginia their first lead.
4:29-Greivis Vasquez lead the Terps with 8 points in the first half; Landon Milbourne chipped in 6 with a team high 4 rebounds; 5 points for Dave Neal. No Terp had more than 2 assists (Mosley, Vasquez, Bowie). The Terps were out-rebounded 18-13. They had 8 assists to 6 turnovers (4:3 ratio); 1 block and 3 steals. They shot 12-26 from the field (46.2%), 1-9 from beyond the arc (11.1%), and 2-2 at the free throw line (100%).
Mamadi Diane lead the Cavs with a game high 11 points in the first half. No other Cav had more than 4 (Calvin Baker and Mike Scott). Scott lead the Cavs with a game high 6 rebounds; Baker added a game high 4 assists. The Cavs had 7 assists to 8 turnovers with 1 block and 3 steals. They shot 11-27 from the field (40.7%), 2-8 from beyond the arc (25%), and 2-4 from the free throw line (50%).
Neither team had and 2nd chance points, the Terps had only one offensive rebound. Virginia’s bench outscored Maryland’s 9-6.
4:15-Vasquez loses the ball in the lane; and Dave Neal can’t connect from 3 at the end of the possession. Diane with another big basket; and Maryland’s lead is just 27-26. Terps get a final shot, but run a bad set and Hayes’ desperation heave at the buzzer goes off the iron. 27-26 Terps at the break; I’ll be back shortly.
4:12-Milbourne with the long pull up jumper for 2; he has 6. 27-24 Terps. We’ll hit the final official timeout of the first half with 1:20 to play and the Terps ahead by 3.
4:11-Rich, good to hear from you. This hasn’t just been ugly, it’s been brutal. Making matters worse; the Terps have really gotten lazy at times on both sides of the floor. This team can’t forget what their identity is, even when they’re successful.
4:09-Hayes with the hop step and the finish for his first basket. Maybe that could have been a walk. 25-19 Terps now; but Diane connects from outside to make it 25-22. 9 for the senior so far in his final home game. Cliff Tucker misses from outside; and Calvin Baker with a hell of a drive to get the Cavs within 1. Gary Williams takes his 2nd timeout with the Terps’ lead cut to 25-24 and just 2:05 to play in the half.
4:07-Hayes misses from 3; but Jamil Tucker connects for the Wahoos. 21-19 Maryland and John Paul Jones Arena comes alive. Vasquez with the determined drive to the lane and is fouled by Tucker. He hits both free throws and has 8. Terps by 4. Cavs break Maryland’s press with little trouble.
4:05-Diane makes both; he has 6. Terps 21-14. Milbourne misses a jumper without continuing the progression of the offense, and Farrakhan goes to the basket for his first points. 21-16 Terps and Gary takes his first timeout with 4:36 to play. Cavs on a 6-0 run.
4:03-Mustapha Farrakhan into the game for the ‘Hoos. Terps get a jumper from Neal (he has 5); Cavs get a dunk from Scott then a layup from Diane. 21-12 Maryland with Hayes turning it over again in the lane. Diane goes to the basket in transition and is hammered by Mosley. He’ll shoot 2.
4:01-The Terps and Cavs are pretty similar in a lot of ways. Neither is a good shooting team, neither offers much muscle under the hoop, both are lead by a streaky, not particularly polished scorer (Maryland’s Vasqeuz, Virginia’s Landesberg); and neither has recruited the type of talent they probably should in the area. The biggest difference is that the Terps are a bit more mature and CERTAINLY have better coaching. But watching the two on the same floor doesn’t make for great basketball.
3:58-If there’s good news; the Terps really haven’t been giving points away at the rim. Still just one MAB after Vasquez rolls one in. He has 6. Calvin Baker and Milbourne exchange buckets before we hit the 3rd official timeout of the half. 19-8 Terps with 7:06 to play in the half.
3:57-Cavs take their first timeout here after another turnover. 15-6 Terps with 8:13 to play in the half of a game that has not been particularly pleasing to look at.
3:55-Cavs still yet to knock down a 3 point basket; but the Terps had 3 consecutive unsuccessful trips after the timeout. That finally ends with a jumper by Gregory off a Mosley steal; 15-6 Terps.
3:51-The media section in Charlottesville is at the top of the lower section in the oval endzone (the student endzone is square); so I can’t see things quite as well immediately. The only unfortunate thing about this nice new facility is that it is NOT a sports only facility like Comcast Center. This arena also houses local events despite being an on-campus facility. It is operated by big event company SMG. That is the biggest difference in why I still feel that Comcast Center is the best facility in the ACC.
3:50-Landon Milbourne pulls up for a jumper from the top of the key and connects for his first points MUCH earlier than he got his first points in the Wake game. We’ll hit the 2nd official timeout with 10:33 to play in the half; 13-6 Terps.
3:49-Very tough runner by Landesberg; his first basket. Gregory gets the roll on a turnaround in the lane; 11-6 Terps.
3:48-Turnaround jumper by Vasquez finds only air; and the Virginia fans treat him accordingly. Terps have gone cold from the floor; now shooting just 4-11. Virginia is just 2-12 thus far. Adrian Bowie back in; Cliff Tucker also has entered.
3:45-Mike Scott finally asserts himself inside for the Cavs’ 2nd field goal. 9- 4 Terps. Dave Neal fouls Landesberg inside the next time down; he’ll shoot two into the endzone with so many Maryland fans. Dino Gregory in for the Terps; Jamil Tucker for the Cavs. Landesberg misses both; but the Cavs get the rebound. Four chances for the Cavs on that trip; but no points. 9-4 it remains.
3:43-I actually thought the Cavs’ mascot (a cavalier on horseback for football games; sans horse for basketball games) was pretty cool; but after reading THIS; I don’t believe the mascot has a name. That absolutely ruins any chance of the mascot being cool.
3:41-Tough bucket off the curl by Vasquez. That’s not an easy play, as he had to know exactly where he was on the floor. 9-2 Terps as we hit the first official timeout with 15:13 to play in the half.
3:40-Vasquez into the lane and gets the hoop; 7-2 Terps, his first points. Mike Scott (the only other Cav besides Landesberg to be averaging double digits) into the game. Cavs struggling from outside early. Shooter Sammy Zeglinski checks in.
3:38-Bad possession for the Terps. They were tied up; and then lost the ball with an over and back after Dave Neal threw it away. Eric Hayes into the game.
3:36-Terps go to the corner for an opening 3 after Bowie partially blocked the Cavs’ first shot. Bowie picks up his first personal next time down; and Diane cuts the lead to 3-2 with a jumper. Maryland fans are VERY vocal thus far. 5-2 Terps after a Mosley layup. Cavs turn the ball over; and Bowie is rejected in the circle. First MAB (miss at basket) of the game for Maryland.
3:33-Terps stick with their Sean Mosley-Adrian Bowie-Greivis Vasquez-Landon Milbourne-Dave Neal lineup; Cavs counter with a lineup featuring their seniors Soroye and Diane; as well as Calvin Baker, Landesberg, and former Maryland recruit Jeff Jones. Cavs win the tip.
3:29-Still a pretty good crowd here in Charlottesville despite how miserable the season has been for the Cavs. Credit to their fans for coming out. Although; I guess being further away from Washington, DC means there aren’t as many options for your entertainment dollar in the area.
3:10-Strong showing from Maryland fans so far; with the bottom end of the arena basically filled with fans of the Terps. This is my first game at John Paul Jones Arena; which opened in 2006 replacing University Hall.
Of note: while “Rock and Roll Pt. 2″ was banned from being played at Maryland games; it has not been banned in Charlottesville. The Maryland fans in attendance have enjoyed screaming “You Suck” at the Virginia band and smaller student section.
In earlier ACC action; Boston College may well have punched their dance ticket for sure after surviving Georgia Tech 67-66 thanks to a last second jumper by Rakim Sanders. Miami was a 72-64 winner over NC State; meaning they’ll finish the regular 7-9 and can wind up no worse than the 9th seed in the ACC Tournament. The Maryland women were 95-84 ACC Tournament semifinal winners over North Carolina in Greensboro; they’ll play for the title tomorrow.
I haven’t heard “Auld Lang Syne” played yet today; and would like to hear it as little as possible. That’s a New Year’s Eve song; not a fight song.
Pre-game: Greetings from John Paul Jones Arena on a very pleasant day in Charlottesville, Virginia. The 18-11 (7-8 ACC) Maryland Terrapins play the 9-17 (3-12 ACC) Virginia Cavaliers today in a game that will help determine seeding for next week’s ACC Tournament in Atlanta; and may well be a game the Terps need to stay “on the bubble” for the NCAA Tournament.
Gary Williams’ Terps come into today’s game on the heels of a Tuesday night loss to Wake Forest; Dave Leitao’s Cavs come into today’s game having lost 4 straight (2 at home) to NC State, Miami, Wake, and Clemson. The media notes tell me that the Cavs have played the #1 toughest schedule in the country according to ESPN Insider RPI; but that can only be due to ACC scheduling. The out-of-conference schedule for Virginia included only one ranked team (Xavier); and was highlighted by losses to Syracuse, Minnesota, and Auburn as well.
Today’s game is broadcast via “ESPN on ABC”; WMAR Channel 2 in Baltimore (Channel 12 if you have Comcast cable in Baltimore County). Mike Patrick and Terrapins great Len Elmore have the call.
It is Senior Night (afternoon I guess) here at JPJA; the Cavs will honor 5th year senior Tunji Soroye and reserve wing Mamadi Diane before tip-off. The Cavs are lead by freshman guard sensation Sylven Landesberg; who is averaging 16.9 ppg. The Terps won the previous contest with the Cavs this season; 84-78 at Comcast Center.
As reported earlier this week; the Terps will be without reserve big man Jerome Burney for the rest of the season with a foot injury. The Terps have received decent minutes from Braxton Dupree in his stead; and it will be interesting to see how they appraoch a Virginia team who has not overwhelmed much of anyone with their size this season.