No one really expected Maryland to defeat the Villanova Wildcats on Sunday night, but an upset is always possible with three seniors leading the way that have done it before.
The problem is two of the three, Greivis Vasquez and Landon Milbourne, struggled at the Verizon Center, and the Terps fell to Villanova, 95-86, in the BB&T Classic despite career games from Sean Mosley and Jordan Williams.
Maryland kept the game close throughout the second half but lacked the size and talent to outlast the explosive Wildcats who were led by Scottie Reynolds’ 25 points.
The Terps (5-3) allowed far too many second-chance opportunities, surrendering 23 offensive rebounds while playing zone for most of the game, and could not keep up with the sharp-shooting Wildcats who attempted a school-record 39 three-pointers, making 16 of them.
Mosley scored a career-high 26 points and was 11-of-14 from the field, including three three-pointers. The Baltimore sophomore is beginning to look more and more like a go-to scorer in addition to his defensive prowess and versatility.
Despite cutting the lead to three with an 8-0 run early in the second half, Villanova always had an answer for the Terps who needed a better effort from two of their top three scorers if they wanted to upset the third-ranked Wildcats. Vasquez and Milbourne combined for just 16 points and 10 turnovers, continuing a pattern of struggling against quality opponents that started back at the Maui Invitational two weeks ago.
Senior leadership is undoubtedly a valuable asset to have, especially in the ACC, but production needs to accompany it. Vasquez continues to struggle to find his shot—and the flow of the game—as the questions will continue over whether the senior guard is truly focused on his senior season at College Park or his NBA aspirations.
Despite the struggles of the other two, senior Eric Hayes had an outstanding shooting night, scoring 20 points and making 5-of-9 three-point shots to counter the Villanova shooting. Hayes continues to be the Terps’ only consistent threat from long range, narrowing the team’s margin for error with its struggles on the glass.
The freshman Williams had 19 points and 12 rebounds, providing the only real low-post threat for the Terps, as they were outrebounded 45-33 in the game. His confidence on the offensive end continues to grow as teammates fed him the ball in the low post repeatedly.
The Terps will receive a boost to their rebounding woes with the return of suspended forward Dino Gregory against Eastern Kentucky on Saturday. Despite the encouraging effort from Williams and fellow freshman James Padgett, it’s apparent that rebounding will again be an Achilles heel for this team.
After completing a 2-3 stretch away from Comcast Center, the Terps finally return home on Saturday. Though the three losses have come against Cincinnati, Wisconsin, and Villanova—all expected to be in the top 25 this week—it does little for the tournament resume when you can’t secure any victories against quality opponents.
The Terps still have the entire conference schedule in front of them and plenty of time to build their tournament argument, but if they’re struggling to grab a spot in the 65-team field in March, they’ll look back at this five-game stretch as a failed opportunity.
Check out the box score here and the live blog below.
9:58 p.m. — This one’s in the books. Maryland falls to Villanova, 95-86. Back with my post-game thoughts in a little bit.
9:54 p.m. — Hayes turns it over, giving it back to the Wildcats with a seven-point deficit.
9:51 p.m. — Reynolds hits both free throws to push it back up to eight.
It was an admirable effort, but when you get such lackluster performances from two of your three seniors, it’s very difficult to upset a top-5 team.
9:49 p.m. — Not a good play to foul Williams on that shot if you’re Villanova.
However, Williams misses both free throws, and that will just about do it.
9:48 p.m. — Hayes scores inside to cut the lead to six, but it makes it that much more difficult for the Terps when they don’t have many long-range threats.
Fisher’s shot is no good, and it goes out of bounds to Maryland.
9:46 p.m. — Vasquez is called for his fifth foul and will go to the bench. A very frustrating night for the senior. He had 12 points but turned it over seven times.
9:44 p.m. — As great as Mosley has played tonight, that was a very lazy pass and a costly turnover.
9:43 p.m. — Jordan Williams hits both free throws, very impressive performance against a top-5 team.
9:41 p.m. — Just a terrible pass by Milbourne, as Vasquez cannot handle it and turns it over. It’s been a forgettable night for both of them.
9:39 p.m. — Vasquez hits two free throws, cutting it to seven, but King hits a three-ball to put it back at 10. Probably not the shot Jay Wright wanted, but he’ll take it if it goes in.
Mosley with the beautiful fake and pass to Williams who scores and is fouled. The big man makes the freebie to cut it back to seven.
9:35 p.m. — Mosley scores and is fouled as Maurice Sutton has fouled out.
He hits the freebie to complete the three-point play, and the lead is just seven with 4:15 to play.
9:33 p.m. — Nova has 23 offensive rebounds in this one. I’ve said it on several occasions, but I’ll repeat it: this team desperately needs Dino Gregory back in the rotation.
9:32 p.m. — Stokes misses everything on the three, but Hayes cannot control the rebound. Those are the plays that have been the difference in this one.
Vasquez is called for an offensive foul on the other end as Reynolds takes the charge.
9:30 p.m. — Fisher hits the three after ANOTHER offensive rebound for Nova.
However, Hayes answers with a three of his own. It’s a nine point game with 5:39 remaining. There’s still time, but I get the feeling the Terps are just running on fumes right now.
9:28 p.m. — Cliff Tucker and Adrian Bowie were key contributors for this team last season. Both players stepped up for big performances on several occasions.
What happened to them?
9:27 p.m. — Jordan Williams continues to play a great game despite the Terps’ struggles on the glass. The freshman has 14 points and 11 rebounds in this one.
9:23 p.m. — Reynolds misses the open three, but Fisher gets Nova’s 20th offensive rebound and scores. The Wildcats are just quicker than the Terps getting to the loose balls.
Williams gets the second-chance bucket for the Terps, cutting the lead back to nine.
9:22 p.m. — Nice to see Scottie Reynolds helping out to clean up the floor.
9:20 p.m. — A beautiful pass from Hayes to Milbourne, but he’s called for an offensive foul. Not sure about that call, and a fan threw a bottle onto the court.
I understand the frustration, but no excuse for that as we’ll have a delay.
9:19 p.m. — Vasquez hits a three-pointer, cutting the lead to 10 with 8:59 to go.
Following a King miss on the other end, Williams gets the ball inside and is fouled. It’s clear his teammates have the confidence to get him the ball inside. However, he needs to make his free throws.
Williams makes one of two.
9:16 p.m. — Williams hits one of two, but it does end the 8-0 run for the Wildcats.
Another offensive rebound for the Wildcats (their 19th), and Stokes hits another three. The Terps are just getting killed on the glass, as Villanova has 23 second-chance points compared to just eight for the Terps.
9:15 p.m. — Vasquez gets it inside to Williams who’s fouled and will go to the line for two shots. Need to convert these.
9:14 p.m. — Reynolds goes to the line for the 1-and-1, making both and building the lead back up to eight.
Tucker turns it over, and Reynolds makes an unbelievable shot going to the hoop. Plays like that certainly aren’t going to earn Tucker more playing time.
9:11 p.m. — After the 8-0 run, the Terps have now gone cold again with Vasquez missing a couple. He’s human, of course, but you’d really like to see your leader build on the strong run—not slow it down.
9:08 p.m. — Maryland continuing to play the zone, and Nova is having trouble with it.
Vasque cannot tie the game with the three-point attempt.
9:06 p.m. — Hayes with the three, and the lead is down to 3. 8-0 run for the Terps and a timeout called by Jay Wright.
9:04 p.m. — Mosley with another shot from beyond the arc, the best he’s looked shooting the ball at any point as a Terp.
Milbourne gets the block on the other end, and Mosley hits the fadeaway from the foul line.
9:00 p.m. — Maryland is doing a much better job contesting shots in the second half, but the Terps continue to get killed on the offensive glass. The Wildcats have 15 offensive rebounds.
A beautiful pass inside to Mosley for two, but King answers on the other end with a long three-ball.
8:58 p.m. — Reynolds hits two of three free throws, pushing the lead back up to 11.
Hayes hits another three for the Terps, as the senior guard is heating up.
8:57 p.m. — Williams has to go to the bench with his third foul. That will hurt as he’s clearly been the biggest force inside for the Terps tonight.
8:56 p.m. — Mosley scores inside, cutting the lead to nine and the Terps-heavy crowd is getting into it.
Jordan Williams stuffs King’s shot inside as Maryland is playing a more aggressive zone to begin the second half.
8:54 p.m. — Considering Hayes is the Terps’ only long-range threat, it doesn’t bode well that he’s ice cold.
Maryland has picked it up on the defensive end the last couple of possessions.
Hayes finally hits a three-ball.
8:52 p.m. — Nice running shot by Vasquez. The Terps desperately need their leader to get into the flow of this one if they want to have a chance to come back in this one.
8:48 p.m. — Scottie Reynolds is just controlling the pace of this one. No one can stop him, and he just creates so well for his teammates as Nova is off to a 5-0 run to begin the half.
8:34 p.m. — When you consider the fact that Villanova is 11-for-22 from three-point range and Vasquez picked up two fouls in the early minutes of the game, the Terps have to consider themselves fortunate to be down only 11 at halftime.
Mosley and Jordan Williams have really been the only notable contributors in this one, as Mosley has 12 points and Williams has 10 and six rebounds.
8:30 p.m. — Vasquez has to make that wide-open shot. I know he’s not in the flow of the game after picking up two early fouls, but that could have cut the lead to eight points going into the half.
8:28 p.m. — Stokes hits another three, but Mosley answers with his own trey.
The Terps clearly aren’t a great perimeter team, but they’re going to have to make some outside shots if they want to compete in this one.
Mosley is a perfect 5-for-5 from the field and then takes the offensive foul. He’s been the Terps’ best player on the floor tonight by far.
8:26 p.m. — Tucker drives the lane, scores, and is fouled. Nice to see the junior guard with the aggressive play after sitting out the entire game in Bloomington.
Two offensive rebounds on the possession for Villanova and Dominic Cheek scores. You MUST control the glass when your opponent is shooting so well from the field.
8:24 p.m. — Villanova is just 5-for-14 from two-point range, but the Wildcats are shooting just under 53 percent from downtown.
8:21 p.m. — Nice to see Jordan Williams hitting both free throws. The big man has a nice stroke, but just needs to shoot with confidence.
And of course, Stokes hits a three for Villanova, the 10th of the half for the Wildcats.
8:18 p.m. — Maalik Wayns hits a three. Why not? Everyone else is.
8:17 p.m. — Milbourne goes to the line and drills both, cutting the lead to nine points.
Maryland desperately needs to get some defensive stops in the final six minutes of hte half.
8:14 p.m. — Reynolds hits another three-pointer for the Wildcats. Just ridiculous.
Milbourne hits the baseline jumper on the other end, but if Maryland keeps exchanging 2′s for 3′s?
Well, you get the idea.
8:13 p.m. — Mosley is so dangerous on the defensive end as he gets the steal and hits the mid-range jumper.
8:12 p.m. — Williams is starting to look more and more confident—and aggressive on the offensive end.
Cliff Tucker has checked in at the 10-minute mark after not playing against Indiana.
8:10 p.m. — I’m not sure Bowie should even be allowed to think about shooting outside of the paint, let alone doing it.
Nice pass from Vasquez to Choi for two.
Fisher nails another three, the seventh of the game for the Wildcats.
8:06 p.m. — Villanova showing some great passing as Stokes finishes off the possession with another three for the Wildcats.
And on the other end, you never want to see Adrian Bowie take that shot.
8:05 p.m. — There’s just no flow to the Maryland offense right now.
Eight turnovers already.
8:04 p.m. — Maryland called for another moving screen, the second of the night.
Quite a few whistles in the early stages of this one.
8:02 p.m. — Maryland shows the press, forcing a timeout and then getting the turnover as Mosley lays it in.
Great pressure from Mosley and Milbourne to take it away from Reynolds.
Wright takes another timeout.
8:00 p.m. — Reynolds drills another trey. If Nova’s going to shoot like this, it’s going to be a LONG night for Maryland.
Williams gets the tip-in and Pena picks up his second foul, perhaps neutralizing the absence of Vasquez a bit.
7:59 p.m. — Vasquez hits the off-balanced shot, but I can’t imagine that’s what Gary Williams wants to see out of the half-court offense.
On the next possession, Vasquez is called for the offensive foul, his second.
7:57 p.m. — Another turnover for Maryland. Very sloppy start to this one for the Terps. Unfortunately, it’s becoming a pattern.
Pena scores and is fouled by Jordan Williams. Looked like an extra step but no call.
Pena misses the freebie, but the Wildcats get the rebound and Taylor King hits a three-pointer.
Timeout taken by Maryland. Good grief.
7:52 p.m. — Maryland is struggling to score—and even hold on to the ball—in the early stages.
Four turnovers already as the Terps are suddenly struggling in that area after doing a great job in controlling the ball early in the season.
7:49 p.m. — Fisher and Reynolds hit back-to-back threes for the Wildcats.
Two early turnovers for the Terps. Nova will make you pay for those.
Stokes now hits a three for the Wildcats.
7:46 p.m. — Villanova controls the opening tip but cannot score off the second chance as Williams pulls the board for Maryland.
Fisher is called for a foul on the other end, and Mosley hits the three-ball.
Big start for the sophomore from Baltimore.
7:42 p.m. — Maryland will wear its home whites at the Verizon Center as the co-host of the tournament (along with GW).
Here are tonight’s starting lineups:
Scottie Reynolds G
Corey Fisher G
Corey Stokes G
Antonio Pena F
Maurice Sutton F
Greivis Vasquez G
Eric Hayes G
Sean Mosley G
Landon Milbourne F
Jordan Williams C
7:19 p.m. — George Washington knocked off Navy 81-69 in the first game of the Classic.
7:00 p.m. — Good evening and thanks for joining me as we await the start of a major test for the Terps as they take on the third-ranked Villanova Wildcats (7-0) in the BB&T Classic at the Verizon Center.
Maryland (5-2) is coming off its 80-68 victory at Indiana as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Tuesday night. After dropping two games in a disappointing trip to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational, tonight’s game is a golden opportunity for the Terps to gain a non-conference win over a top-5 opponent. And as we saw last year when the Terps upset eventual national runner-up Michigan State early in the season, it can be a very nice feather to have in the cap for the middle of March.
Tonight’s game will feature two of the better stables of guards in the nation as both teams like to play the transition game. While it’s no secret Maryland’s biggest strength is its guard play with seniors Greivis Vasquez and Eric Hayes leading the way, Jay Wright’s Wildcats advanced to the Final Four last season behind the efforts of Scottie Reynolds (13.9 ppg so far this season), Corey Fisher (11.9) and Corey Stokes (10.3).
Considering Maryland has struggled with playing its full-court press and Villanova’s strong ability to run, it will be interesting to see whether Gary Williams tries to press or moves to a zone as he did against Indiana.
Villanova is anchored on the inside by forward Antonio Pena, a 6-foot-8 junior averaging 13.4 points and 10.6 rebounds. Pena figures to be a significant test for the Terps frontcourt, once again playing without Dino Gregory who is eligible to return from suspension against Eastern Kentucky next Saturday.
Tonight’s game marks the first meeting between the two nationally-recognized schools since 1986. Villanova leads the all-time series, 2-1.
Maryland is 14-9 all-time in the BB&T Classic, now in its 15th year. Keep in mind the event was originally a two-day tournament before switching to the current format in 2005. Though the Terps look overmatched in this one on paper, Maryland has several huge wins in the event including an upset over Kansas in 1997.
Tonight’s game can be seen on MASN with Jim Hunter and John Feinstein providing the call.