What a dismal performance.
This Maryland team appeared uninspired, unenthused, and generally uninterested for the better part of their 69-57 loss to Cincinnati Tuesday night in the 2nd round of the EA Sports Maui Invitational.
It was almost as if they believed they were just so much better than Cincinnati that they only needed to run through the motions.
The more frustrating fact to stem from Tuesday’s loss was the realization that once Maryland realized they were in for a fight, the Bearcats turned out to just be a better team.
As Maryland managed just one field goal (and four total points) over the final 9:27 of the first half; Cincinnati scored 20 points to open a 13 point halftime lead. Maryland missed 8 shots during the stretch, any one of which could have halted the Bearcats’ run and kept the Terps within striking distance.
When the 2nd half opened up, Maryland managed to cut Cincinnati’s leads down to 7 and 8; but each time they did-the Bearcats answered back with a big jump shot (Dion Dixon 2, Rashad Bishop 3). Maryland’s mini-runs were squashed, and the Bearcats managed to play the 2nd half at an almost even level.
Due to Maryland’s true lack of outside shooters, this team just cannot afford to make poor decisions, take ill-advised shots, and take defensive sets off. When they do these things, good teams will answer with big shots. Maryland doesn’t have that big shot ability.
The Cincinnati game won’t be the last time this issue plays out this season. This issue will hurt the Terps throughout the year. Gary Williams ran every backdoor set and defensive trap he could think of to get his team back in it-but poor shot selection from Greivis Vasquez (who still lead the Terps with 19 points) killed their first rally, and missed free throws by Cliff Tucker and James Padgett doomed their 2nd rally. There were no more rallies to be had.
This IS an improved team. But they still have problems. Having real big men gives them a better shot on both ends, but their big men (at least until Dino Gregory returns) are freshmen. They’re raw, they need bulk, and they will go through long stretches where they struggle. They don’t shoot well. They rely on penetration, free throws and defense. If those things aren’t there-they’re in major trouble.
They’ll have to learn from this one. Wednesday’s consolation game will be a big statement for this team. In 2004, Maryland went through a 3 game stretch where they lost a heartbreaker to Wisconsin in Milwaukee-then a shootout to George Washington (with a win over a lesser George Mason team mixed in). The inability to win consistently away from Comcast Center early in the season was a theme that played out throughout the season as a streak of 11 NCAA Tournament appearances would eventually be snapped.
Losing to a team that in reality maybe just as good (if not better) than you are on a neutral floor is not damning at all-and could be a valuable learning experience. But failing to prove you can beat decent teams away from home can really hurt a team heading into ACC play.
9:10-Maryland falls to 4-1 with a 69-57 loss. I’ll be back shortly to wrap it up.
9:02-I know why Gary is shooting, but a lack of shooters will only lead to a larger margin of defeat.
This has been a real struggle for James Padgett tonight.
8:57-The good news is that whoever Maryland faces tomorrow (Gonzaga or Wisconsin) COULD still get good enough to make it a quality opponent at the end of the season. But tomorrow becomes a big game for this team. Leaving the island with just a win over Chaminade would hurt them a great deal. Indiana won’t help them RPI-wise, and Villanova is a tall task.
8:51-Just got a text from a friend asking if we can expect Maryland to be out-rebounded by every team all season.
The answer is maybe.
While bringing in Jordan Williams and James Padgett certainly gives the team size; they are going to be raw. They need to continue to add bulk, and learn how to battle. Landon Milbourne, Cliff Tucker, Sean Mosley and Greivis Vasquez MUST help on the glass.
8:48-Sean Mosley, Cliff Tucker and Landon Milbourne were the guys Maryland needed more from given Cincinnati’s size. They needed to match with athleticism, but have been unable to.
8:46-Terps 1/11 from beyond the arc, and the only make was a jumper from Hayes that hit everything on it’s way in. This is just brutal.
8:39-Terps doing a TERRIBLE job of getting back on defense after Cincinnati has broken the press. They just don’t shoot well enough to overcome these big deficits.
Tucker not taking that shot says everything you need to know about this team.
8:38-Vasquez jawing with Stephenson? No need for that. Lance’s team is up 15. 53-38.
8:35-And that floater by Yancy Gates re-extends the lead to 13 for Cincinnati. Two steps forward, two steps back.
Jordan Williams misses 2 free throws, and Gates gets another 2. Another hoop from Deonta Vaughn off a a Vasquez miss, and Cincinnati is up 17. Really?
This one could get ugly. Maryland has pulled out all the stops, and they’re in worse shape than they were at the half.
8:32-Another great play run to Mosley, and another miss at the rim. I counted MAB’s (misses at basket) last season, I really didn’t think I was going to have to do that again this year.
Another free throw miss from Milbourne. Seriously?
8:29-Cashmere Wright abuses Padgett, and Cincinnati will have the chance to extend their lead back to 12. They’ve answered every spurt Maryland has put together.
8:27-Mosley adds to the misery of another missed free throw by missing a chip shot from under the hoop.
Every time something goes well, something goes equally wrong. 44-33 Bearcats, and Bowie misses ANOTHER wide open 3.
8:25-Tucker and Padgett each missed free throws on the last 2 possessions. Those are just crucial here in the 2nd half as this team tries to battle.
8:24-What a shot there from Bishop. Obviously the biggest difference in how these teams have handled runs. While Maryland couldn’t respond, Cincinnati has options.
8:22-Back to back plays run for Mosley. Gary clearly knows the importance of his involvement. He buries his freebies, and it’s 39-30 Cincinnati.
8:20-There is CLEARLY a nice contingent of Maryland fans there in Maui. They were making some noise a few minutes ago, but MUST remain vocal the rest of the way.
8:18-And FINALLY Sean Mosley gets involved. They’ve missed him badly. Nice execution out of the timeout.
8:15-Everything was going well, then Vasquez tried to force things again. If he’s going to force things, Maryland is going to be in trouble. 39-26 Cincinnati as they completely weather the storm-forcing Gary to take a timeout.
8:13-ANOTHER poor shot choice from Vasquez-just when everything was going well. And what do you know, Cincinnati stopped the run on the other end.
8:11-3 personal fouls now for Jaquon Parker. That’s big. Vasquez has 11, Maryland cuts lead to 33-26 on a Jordan Williams bucket.
8:09-Easy two for Rashad Bishop, but he can’t make it 3 despite Landon Milbourne’s critical 4th personal foul.
THAT is exactly how Greivis Vasquez should be allowing the offense to come to him.
8:05-Cincinnati out-rebounded Maryland 21-16 in the first half. The Terps shot a dreadful 7-26 (26.9%) from the field.
7:59-Deonta Vaughn lead Cincinnati with 10 points in the first half; Greivis Vasquez lead Maryland with 7 points.
7:49-That didn’t just happen, did it? Dion Dixon grabs a loose ball and puts it back at the buzzer, and they extend their lead to 31-18 at the break. Unthinkably bad half for the Terps, who will have to open the 2nd half on a run to get back in this. Wow.
7:47-This is where not having faced adversity at all yet this season is hurting this team. Their attitude is particularly poor right now; and Cincinnati appears very focused.
7:45-Larry Dixon draws another foul for Cincinnati. They are just taking it right to the Terps right now. Toyloy with a pretty hoop from the lane; and Cincy has their biggest lead at 29-16.
7:42-Gary Williams is obviously FURIOUS with a 6:14 scoring drought. Terps have just looked sloppy on both ends.
FINALLY the drought ends as Vasquez gets a friendly roll. 25-16 Maryland, and Cincinnati breaks the press easily to get a hoop from Dion Dixon. 27-16 Bearcats.
7:39-After the absolute GIFT of a missed dunk by Toyloy, Vasquez misses the front end of a 1 and 1. 25-14 Bearcats, and Maryland desperately needs more from Vasquez, Milbourne and Mosley.
7:37-This is a BRUTAL stretch for Maryland. Another dunk for Stephenson off the Terps turnover, and it is 23-14 Cincinnati now. Maryland has no outside answer.
7:35-James Padgett REALLY needs to hit his free throws there. A 4 minute scoring drought is a great way to lose games. He’s gonna get fouled, he HAS to hit his shots.
Lance Stephenson hits ANOTHER outside jumper. It might just be a 2; but it hurts to see someone on another team hitting outside shots.
7:32-Can’t have Jin Soo Choi in right now. He’s hurting them. 19-14 Cincinnati.
7:31-When Cliff Tucker drove with no plan, Bill Raftery said EXACTLY what I was thinking: “What are you doing?”
GREAT defense from Greivis as Cincinnati had an outlet.
How does Scott Van Pelt get off work during Thanksgiving week to go to Hawaii with the Terps?
7:28-Seems a little early for Jin Soo Choi to be in the game. I guess they want his size, but he’s a bit of a liability.
And how can Adrian Bowie POSSIBLY have not improved his outside shot by now???
Deonta Vaughn 3 puts Cincy back ahead 16-14.
7:25-Thunderous dunk there on the stick-back from James Padgett. Since Terps aren’t a great shooting team from the field, offensive rebounds are crucial.
Deonta Vaughn makes a pair of freebies to cut Maryland’s lead to 14-13.
7:23-Very smart basketball play there on the inbounds pass by Vasquez. As I was just saying to Bob Haynie over on Twitter-he is SO much better when the game comes to him.
7:20-By the way, I have a side bet tonight with former Cincinnati Bearcats and Baltimore Ravens LB Brad Jackson. It involves us having to wear the gear of each other’s alma mater and having to sing each other’s fight song. He’s joined in on the conversation at Twitter. (@WNST)
That’s great offense there from Cincinnati to get that wide open jumper from Darnell Wilks. 11-9 Cincy.
7:18-Big jumper there from Milbourne there after a TERRIBLE shot from Vasquez. Landon can’t settle for outside jumpers, but his mid-range game changes everything this team does offensively.
7:15-Terps still playing very strong defense, but haven’t been able to get anything going in transition yet. Midway through the first half they usually try to take some more chances.
7:13-Someone is going to have to hit some jumpers to extend Cincinnati’s defense. Landon Milbourne might have to be the guy.
7:11-I don’t know what words to use to describe the color of the shirts Gary Williams and staff are wearing. I like the fact that the school incorporates all colors of the state flag in their uniform scheme-but the yellow polos do NOT look as good as the yellow uniforms.
7:08-Clearly Lance Stephenson is fired up to face this Maryland team. He’s got 5 early as the Cats take a 7-5 lead.
Milbourne responds, 7-7. The Cats certainly have the athleticism to match the Terps.
7:06-Jordan Williams, James Padgett and Landon Milbourne are going to have their hands full with Yancy Gates underneath. They CANNOT let him control the glass.
Bit of a bitter pill to swallow watching Lance Stephenson drive like that….2-0 Bearcats.
7:02-Certainly the lack of scoring from Greivis Vasquez so far is a concern, but Maryland fans have to happy to see how he’s run the floor. Allowing Eric Hayes to be more of a natural shooting guard has been a major benefit for this team in halfcourt offensive sets.
6:49-Greetings from my couch, where I’ll be hanging with you tonight as the Maryland Terrapins battle the Cincinnati Bearcats from the Lahaina Civic Center in Maui. This is the 2nd round of the EA Sports Maui Invitational, the winner advances to face the winner of tonight’s Gonzaga/Wisconsin game in the Championship. The losers will meet in tomorrow night’s 3rd place game.
The most intriguing storyline of tonight’s game is former Terps recruit Lance Stephenson getting a crack at his former Lincoln High School (New York) teammate James Padgett. You remember the hoopla surrounding “Born Ready” last Spring before most schools decided they weren’t interested in him. He’s been off to a decent start with Mick Cronin and Cincy, but has struggled from the field.
Tonight’s game can be seen on ESPN. Sean McDonough, Bill Raftery and Jay Bilas are on the call.