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Six former Terps to compete in The-BALL Summer League

Posted on 25 July 2013 by WNST Staff

Six former Maryland Terrapins will compete in the Basketball Alumni Legends League, a summer showcase held in Washington, D.C., from July 27-August 5.

James Gist, James Padgett, Landon Milbourne, Adrian Bowie, John Gilchrist and Sean Mosley are the former Terps competing for the Maryland Ball Stars against the D.C. Dobermans at George Washington University’s Smith Center. The four-game series gets underway July 27th at 7 p.m.

Rosters for both teams will be filled by former college players from the area. The Ball Stars will have players from Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and Philadelphia, while the host Dobermans will be comprised of players from Georgetown, George Washington, George Mason and American.

Tickets for the event start at just $8. Visit www.The-Ball.com for more information.

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Bay Area Shuckers Impressive

Posted on 30 January 2012 by Tom Federline

Football is over. Get over it! There is still Terps basketball (men & womens), Capitols hockey and Wizards (supposed professional) basketball. All fine alternatives if you do not mind shelling out $100/ticket, $30 for parking, $50 bucks for  food and drink, sitting far from the action, in a cramped seat, next to people that are texting on their phone or conversing about nothing significant to the event. Well gang, in my book, bag that! I highly recommend getting  yourselves to a gem of a sporting event called minor league basketball – Atlantic Coast Professional Basketball League - style.

 

Located in between Baltimore and DC, in Severn, MD – Anne Arundel County, is the home court for the Bay Area Shuckers. The league is young and it’s the first year for the Shuckers – get there now while it’s fresh and kicking. If you want an evening out to experience the “Family Friendliest Pro Sport in Town” and to watch high energy action basketball, click on the  link www.BayAreaShuckers.com, for more details. Brace yourselves it’s $10/ticket - adult, parking is free and you don’t have to hit the wall safe for a hot dog. An inexpensive night out, time with family and friends, in an inviting environment, while watching a sporting event. Yeah, it’s nice.

I went Saturday night. I was lucky enough to be invited by a co-worker friend of mine who is directly associated with the team, as Director of Player Personnel/Scoreboard keeper. I was blown away. It was one of those, “are you kiddin’ me?”, pleasantly surprised deals, that have me checking the date for the next home game. Grant it, it was one heckuva game, Shuckers won 149 – 148. Yes that’s right people 297 points. You may say sarcastically and people have, “nice defensive game.” All I have to say is ON THE CONTRARY. These young guys can play. There is defense. Enough defense that, it is no place for one faint of heart or drive. The refs “let them play”, especially bringing the ball up. There is no such thing as a “hand check”, “reaching in”, or “body checking”. It is survival of the most talented. It is survival of the fittest.

Sure there is “run and gun”. Sure there is “one less pass than there should be”. So what? These guys can run, they can pass, shoot, block and rebound all at a high rate of speed. The young lads are quick. Much quicker than I had anticipated. If you could bring your seat belt in from the car, I would advise it. Nah, because guess what? You get to become “part of the event”. You get to jump, high-five, cheer, yell, respectfully heckle, all in fun. It’s all part of the beauty of this evening out. It is a minor league baseball game environment – indoors - during the winter.

The game score  - end of regulation – Shuckers 135 (soon to be - if not already crosstown rivals) - Beltway Bombers 135. They play 12 minute quarters, refs are questionable (which adds to the experience) and the teams I saw, go 8-9 deep with very little drop in talent. That is where your high scoring comes from. Talented ball players with fresh legs and decent substitution. And yes there are some stars that shine. The Shuckers made some mid-season acquisitions in #1 – Adrian Bowie (former Terp) and #23 Earl Jackson (inside guy) – tough. The Bombers weren’t slacking either, with this guy #22 ” Baby Shaq” and a #45 – forward, who clearly had above average skills. Fast breaks, 3-pointers, picks, alley-oops, corner fade aways, tenacious defense, no-doubt-about-it fouls. It was all there and it was non-stop. By the end of the game, I was drained and the ball had not touched my hands.

The evening festivities – Bald is Beautiful Cancer Awareness Night, basketball musical chairs while making baskets, kids 5 and under drawn from the stands prior to game time to give high (or low) fives to the players during introductions, t-shirts being vaulted into the crowd, cheerleaders/dance team during time outs, dinner gift certificates from local sponsors and restaraunts, etc. Yes, it was all there. No alcohol, language was curtailed, general admission seating, fan knowledge of  the game, respect for the people sitting around you, heck it was mostly family and friends of the players. Total crowd of say 150-200. Fan participation with fan appreciation! Beat that. 

Decent ball, high entertainment value, competitive sporting event = Bay Area Shuckers. You want a breathe of fresh air (well, maybe not after the 3rd quarter), get down to the Kilby Athletic Center on the campus of Annapolis Area Christian School,  for a 7:00pm tip-off. The venue is an upscale high school gym and you are only 10 -40 feet away from the action. Check out the schedule, if the winter doldrums have hit and you need a little ”Let’s Get it Started” – (Black Eyed Peas), take some time out on a Saturday evening and treat yourself. You’ll thank me later.

D.I.Y.

Fedman

 

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Maryland Hosts Florida International Wednesday Night

Posted on 13 December 2011 by WNST Staff

FIU (3-6) at Maryland (5-3)
Wednesday, Dec. 14 | 7:30 p.m. | Comcast Center
ESPN | Terrapin Sports Radio Network

  • Maryland continues its six-game homestand with a Wednesday-night meeting with FIU. The Terrapins are currently on a two-game winning streak for the first time this season, having defeated Notre Dame on Dec. 4 and Mount St. Mary’s on Dec. 7. Maryland is also in a stretch in which it plays one game (FIU) in 16 days between Dec. 7 and 23 (vs. Radford), partly due to Finals Week.
  • The Terrapins have seven of the next eight games at home, with the lone road trip coming on Jan. 8 for the Atlantic Coast Conference opener at NC State. Following the trip to Raleigh, Maryland returns home for league games against Wake Forest (Jan. 11) and Georgia Tech (Jan. 15).
  • Sophomore guard Terrell Stoglin led the Terrapins in the win over the Mount with 23 points. It was his sixth 20-point game of the season and his fourth straight (25.8 ppg over his last four games). Stoglin is sixth in the NCAA in scoring average, heading into this week with a 22.5 ppg mark. Stoglin already has a pair of 30-point games on his ledger this year, including a career-high 32 in Puerto Rico in a win over Colorado.
  • Junior forward James Padgett has had four straight games in double figures, including 15 last Wednesday against the Mount. Padgett has averaged 13.3 ppg in those four outings and has raised his scoring average from 7.3 to 10.3 ppg. He leads the team with 6.4 rebounds per game and leads the ACC on the offensive glass with 4.1 rpg.
  • Freshman guardNick Faust had arguably his best game thus far in the win over Mount St. Mary’s. Faust played 37 minutes and had 13 points, tied for the team lead on the boards with six and had a team-best five assists. He also chipped in two blocks and a steal, while going 6-for-6 at the free-throw line.
  • Senior guard Sean Mosley had three assists, a pair of blocks, three steals, five rebounds and nine points against the Mount. His three steals pushed him into a tie for 18th place on the career list with 123. He is tied with John Gilchrist (202-05) and Ernest Graham (1977-81) and needs three more to tieAdrian Bowie (2007-11) on the next spot on the career ladder.
  • Free-throw shooting had been a problem for the Terrapin in the early part of the season, but positive signs are showing. In each of the last two wins, Maryland has gone 25-for-35 at the line, hitting at a .714 percentage.

    Scouting the Panthers

  • FIU has a 3-6 mark this season after pulling out a 58-56 win at Stephen F. Austin on Sunday… The Panthers are coached by Isiah Thomas, who is in his third season and has a 21-50 career record.
  • DeJuan Wright, a 6-foot-4 senior guard, leads the Sun Belt Conference in scoring at 17.0 ppg… Wright is shooting 56.4 percent from the field and also leads the team in rebounding (7.0 rpg), a mark that ranks third in the conference… Most recently he had 18 points on 5-of-6 shooting against Stephen F. Austin, as the Panthers shot 58.3 percent from the field.
  • Freshman guard Phil Taylor is one of four Panthers averaging more than 30 minutes a game and leads the team with 40 assists, while ranking second in scoring at 14.1 ppg… Senior guard Jeremy Allen and sophomore forward Domonique Ferguson, along with Wright, are the others averaging more than 30 minutes per contest… Allen is third on the team in scoring (12.3 ppg) and Ferguson is second in rebounding (6.4 rpg).
  • On the year, FIU is hitting at a .418 mark from the field while opponents are shooting .477… The Panthers are last in the conference in FG percentage defense… However, they lead the league in steals (8.9 pg) with three players who rank in the conference’s top-10 individually: Allen is first with 2.9 spg while Wright and Taylor are tied for seventh with 1.8 spg.

    Upcoming

    The matchup with FIU is the second in a six-game homestand that also has the Terrapins home in eight of nine games through mid-January… Maryland’s next game away from Comcast Center is on Sunday, Jan. 8 at NC State in the Terps’ ACC opener… Maryland then returns home for two more league games (1/11/12 vs. Wake Forest and 1/15/12 vs. Georgia Tech) before finally hitting the road for back-to-back games.

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Maryland misery: What happened and what’s next for the Terps?

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Maryland misery: What happened and what’s next for the Terps?

Posted on 15 March 2011 by Luke Jones

As you settled in Tuesday night to embark in this new era of the “First Four” and tried to figure out what channel truTV was on, or if you settled for the ho-hum action of the NIT, the noticeable absence of Maryland basketball leaves many in the area pondering the same question.

What’s next for the Terps?

After failing to qualify for the NCAA tournament or NIT for the first time since 1993, Maryland finds itself in territory not seen in College Park since the inky shadow of NCAA probation was still lingering. But after a couple days to digest the duel rejection that ended a season of disappointment, are you really that distraught over missing out on the NIT, a tournament nobody wanted to go to anyway?

In retrospect, what did you really expect entering the 2010-11 season?

Losing three key seniors, including ACC player of the year Greivis Vasquez, not only left a 54.5 percent hole in scoring, but also valuable leadership difficult to replace. Beyond the anticipated improvement of Jordan Williams — who blossomed into the best big man in the ACC as a sophomore — coach Gary Williams would bestow his hopes on three seniors who combined to score 14.7 points per game as juniors to lead the Terps back to the NCAA tournament for the third straight year.

Repeating as ACC regular season co-champions seemed out of the question, but reaching the tournament was a possibility if the ball bounced Maryland’s way.

It proved to be too much to ask of a disappointing senior class — which originally included forwards Braxton Dupree and Shane Walker who left the program for Towson and Loyola respectively — that never lived up to lofty expectations. Ironically, it was Baltimore’s Dino Gregory, the least distinguished of the trio through three seasons, who showed the most improvement and outshone his veteran counterparts. His leadership and 9.1 scoring average was the bright spot of the senior class.

The first half of Adrian Bowie’s career was stronger than the finish, starting 28 games as a sophomore, but the Greenbelt product struggled to shoot consistently enough to make a significant impact in his final two seasons.

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And, of course, there was the curious case of Cliff Tucker. Entering his senior season, many envisioned a Drew Nicholas-like senior season for Tucker after playing behind the likes of Vasquez and Eric Hayes. Instead, despite a strong start in which he reached double figures in narrow losses to Pitt and Illinois, he turned out to be, well, Cliff Tucker, the athletic and frustratingly inconsistent figure who could take over a game one moment and dribble the ball off his foot the next.

It’s a group that will be remembered for not being good enough, a description befitting the entire season.

Unlike most teams during Williams’ tenure at Maryland, this one never improved collectively, the curse of poor long-range shooting, inconsistency from the line, painful scoring droughts, and shoddy perimeter defense dooming the Terps countless times against the better teams on the schedule.

It was the improvement of freshmen Terrell Stoglin, Pe’Shon Howard, and Haukur Palsson that was often needed to counter the decline of Tucker and the inconsistency of Bowie and junior Sean Mosley down the stretch as Maryland held on to slim hopes of reaching the field of 68. The trio showed promise for the future, but growing pains escorted that development as the Terps dropped four of their last five games to end the 19-14 campaign.

For the fourth time in seven years, Maryland has fallen short of the NCAA tournament, and the detractors are once again pushing for change at the top. The effects of an underwhelming senior class are the responsibility of the man who recruited them.

What now for the iconic coach?

Regardless of where you stand with Williams, who has two years remaining on his current contract, the end is approaching some time in the not-so-distant future. For perspective, the legendary North Carolina coach Dean Smith stepped down at age 66, the same age Williams reached earlier this month. Crediting his good health, Williams has appeared re-energized since a not-so-secret attempt to push him away from the Maryland sideline two years ago. Still, Father Time waits for no one, and Williams’ departure is a reality for which athletic director Kevin Anderson must plan.

Despite the decline of the program since a national championship in 2002, the collective success of Williams’ 22 years at Maryland cannot be diminished, regardless of how entitled or disenchanted some might feel. He has earned the right to decide, within reason, when he’ll walk away from a Hall of Fame career, but you have to wonder if the hourglass has expired for him to guide the Terps back to the consistent top-25 — and even better — status they enjoyed a decade ago.

Even being in the November of his coaching career, I’ll still take Williams, the in-game coach, against anyone with comparable talent. But therein lies the problem. The Maryland coach cannot continue to bring a knife to a gun fight and expect favorable results over the long haul. A program cannot afford to have recruiting classes such as the one graduating in May without experiencing major bumps in the road.

Consistently falling to Duke and North Carolina in their best years is understandable. Finishing 0-5 against Virginia Tech, Boston College, and Miami — three NIT teams — and compiling a 10-20 mark against the three former Big East defectors since 2005 is unacceptable. Nobody knows that more than Williams.

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Terps’ late-season fade continues with 74-60 loss to Virginia

Posted on 05 March 2011 by Luke Jones

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Minutes after Maryland’s regular season concluded with a third straight loss, Gary Williams offered a remark that could summarize his team’s entire season.

“Close doesn’t count, especially this time of year. You have to figure out a way to win those games.”

It’s a mantra that rings true for a team that’s failed to close out victories against top opponents and to complete comeback efforts on several occasions.

It’s the reality the Terps now face, needing to win four straight in the conference tournament as their only means to make the NCAA tournament.

Continuing their late-season collapse, the Terps fell to Virginia, 74-60, in a game controlled by the Cavaliers all afternoon on Maryland’s Senior Day. The loss leaves Maryland (18-13, 7-9 ACC) with a three-game losing streak to finish the regular season for the first time since 2005 and Williams to search for answers before the ACC tournament in Greensboro, N.C. next weekend.

The Cavaliers (16-14, 7-9 ACC) slowed the tempo to their liking, turning it over just six times as Maryland’s full-court pressure failed to produce any points off turnovers. Virginia received career-high performances by junior center Assane Sene (15 points) and junior guard Sammy Zeglinski, who torched the Terps for 25 points on six 3-pointers. The pair combined for eight points in the teams’ first meeting, a 66-42 Maryland victory in Charlottesville on Jan. 27.

Virginia’s 8-for-17 performance from beyond the arc continued a disturbing trend for the Maryland perimeter defense that allowed wide-open looks to Zeglinski all afternoon.

“They did a better job of running their offense as opposed to us,” Williams said. “There’s no excuses in a situation like that.”

Even so, the Terps found themselves in a familiar position to what they faced at Miami on Wednesday, using an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to 63-58 with 5:12 remaining. However, Maryland could get no closer, scoring just two points the rest of the way as Virginia finished the afternoon with a 9-0 run to beat the Terps at Comcast Center for the first time since 2007.

Maryland shot just 37.5 percent in the second half, scoring 27 points in its attempt to erase a 37-33 halftime deficit. Williams pointed to missed shots in the paint when the gap was narrowed, allowing Tony Bennett’s squad to regain control down the stretch.

“It was close and then they pulled away, and then we had to fight back,” said Jordan Williams, who led the team with 17 points and six rebounds. “It was an uphill battle all night. We kind of just let them play with us early. We should have just taken them out of the game at the beginning, but we didn’t do that.”

The Maryland coach’s frustration level bubbled over in the second half when he drew his first technical foul in over two years. At one point, Williams sent the unconventional lineup of Dino Gregory, Pe’Shon Howard, Mychal Parker, Hawk Palsoon, and Berend Weijs to the floor in the second half, looking for the spark his regular rotation was not providing.

The Terps did get closer, but not close enough, as Gary Williams put it so bluntly.

After meek losses to Miami and Virginia, he’s looking for answers in every nook and cranny. And finding none.

“Monday’s practice will be interesting in terms of trying to find the right guys to go down there and represent us in the ACC tournament,” Williams said.

It’s the type of comment you expect to hear at the start of the season — not in March.

Maryland will now attempt to become the first team to win four straight in the ACC tournament since it was expanded to the current format in 2005. The Terps will play as the seventh seed in Greensboro should Miami fall at Georgia Tech on Sunday; Maryland falls to eighth if the Hurricanes defeat the Yellow Jackets.

In a down year for the ACC, it shows just how far the Terps have fallen from a year ago when they shared the regular season title with Duke and were led by ACC Player of the Year Greivis Vasquez. Unlike the Baltimore native Gregory, who’s been one of the few pleasant surprises in an otherwise disappointing year, the senior backcourt of Adrian Bowie and Cliff Tucker failed to elevate their respective games nearly enough to put the Terps in a position to make it back to the Big Dance.

Senior Day was a painful conclusion, as the two combined for just 10 points while Gregory had 15 to continue his strong play down the stretch.

Unfortunately, it’s a senior class that will go down as one of the most disappointing of the Gary Williams era, with only Gregory raising his play substantially during his time in College Park. When you consider forwards Braxton Dupree (transferred to Towson) and Shane Walker (Loyola) had already left the program, the recruiting class of 2007 appears even more critical to the team’s downfall in 2011.

Gary Williams and the Terps will try to make the best of their trip to the Greensboro Coliseum, stating they expect to make noise in Greensboro and knowing their only option is to win four in a row.

But their recent play resembles a group that will struggle to survive Thursday’s first-round match-up, much less make it to Championship Sunday.

“We’re struggling right now, but next week I think it’s going to be a whole different team,” freshman Pe’Shon Howard said. “I think we’re going to do well in the ACC tournament.”

Valiant words, but it’s been the same result all season.

Close, but no cigar.

Why would it change now?

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Maryland-Virginia: Turtle Power live chat at 2:00

Posted on 05 March 2011 by Luke Jones

***Join us in the Turtle Power live chat as Maryland takes on the Virginia Cavaliers in the regular season finale***

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — It’s Senior Day at Comcast Center as the Maryland Terrapins (18-12, 7-8 ACC) close out the regular season by hosting the Virginia Cavaliers (15-14, 6-9 ACC) at 2:00.

Seniors Dino Gregory, Cliff Tucker, and Adrian Bowie will be honored as they play their final regular season game in College Park. The senior class has clearly been a disappointment this season with Maryland counting on the three to play bigger roles after losing over half of its point production from a season ago.

Despite an NCAA tournament bid looking to be out of reach unless the Terps win the ACC tournament, Maryland will look to close out the regular season on a high note by reaching the .500 mark in conference play and build some momentum heading into Greensboro, N.C. next Thursday.

This afternoon’s game can be seen on the ACC Network (WNUV-TV 54 in Baltimore) with Tim Brant and Dave Odom calling the action from Comcast Center. As always, join us in the Turtle Power chat beginning at 2:00 and follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the quickest updates and analysis from College Park.

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Maryland overwhelmed by UNC, 87-76, as at-large hopes go up in smoke

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Maryland overwhelmed by UNC, 87-76, as at-large hopes go up in smoke

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Luke Jones

In a game the Terps needed to win to keep their at-large hopes alive for a bid to the NCAA tournament, North Carolina was the bigger, stronger, and faster team.

Gary Williams called timeout after timeout — burning his last one with 10:32 remaining in the game — to search for the right words or combination of players to ignite a spark.

But short of finding Juan Dixon or Greivis Vasquez sitting at the end of the bench — or at least a Lonny Baxter to counterbalance the Tar Heels’ dominant frontcourt — it wasn’t going to matter.

The Terps ran into a buzz saw that was simply better than them in an 87-76 loss in Chapel Hill Sunday night. Short of a miracle run in Greensboro, N.C. in two weeks, Maryland saw its tournament hopes fade away in a similar fashion to many of their losses this season.

A respectable effort, but just not good enough.

North Carolina’s frontcourt combination of Tyler Zeller and John Henson combined for 35 points and 21 rebounds as the Tar Heels racked up 19 offensive rebounds, 14 coming in the first half to build a 43-31 lead at intermission. The Heels’ 46-42 edge in rebounding failed to tell how lopsided it was in that department, particularly in the first half when North Carolina thrived on second-chance opportunities.

The Tar Heels’ freshman combination of Harrison Barnes (21 points) and Kendall Marshall (10 assists) was terrific while sophomore Leslie McDonald came off the bench to add 15 points and three 3-pointers.

To be fair, North Carolina (22-6, 12-2 ACC) played like a group staking its claim as the ACC’s best team with a home rematch against Duke only six days away to likely determine the conference’s regular season champion.

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Maryland received another sterling effort from freshman Terrell Stoglin who scored a career-high 28 points, his sixth straight double-digit performance. Sophomore Jordan Williams, battling a stomach bug, added 16 points and a career-high 19 rebounds but was clearly not 100 percent against North Carolina’s massive front line.

After that for the Terps?

Not a whole lot.

The senior trio of Dino Gregory, Cliff Tucker, and Adrian Bowie combined for just 16 points on 7-for-19 shooting in a game the Terps needed to win to avoid ending up where the three played to conclude their first season at Maryland: the NIT.

The Terps went 2-for-12 from 3-point range, making a double-digit deficit too steep to overcome in the second half.

Despite the optimism created by consecutive wins over NC State and Florida State, Maryland reverted back into the team it’s looked like all season against tougher competition.

One that doesn’t have enough to make the NCAA tournament.

While optimists will point out that Maryland doesn’t have a bad loss to its name and will envision possible scenarios that might get the Terps invited to the Big Dance — short of the automatic bid that accompanies winning the ACC tournament, of course — they’ll only be grasping at straws.

An 0-6 record against top-25 teams and a lone win against top-50 RPI teams (1-9 overall) doesn’t warrant mention in the conversation, let alone recognition as a bubble team.

Two wins in Greensboro over an ACC bottom feeder and Virginia Tech or Florida State won’t do it for the selection committee. A trip to the final along with other bubble scenarios falling perfectly in Maryland’s favor might make the selection show worth watching, but still won’t leave the Terps in great shape.

Cutting down the nets at the Greensboro Coliseum — the same place where John Gilchrist and company did it in 2004 — looks to be Maryland’s only key to opening the door for a spot in the field of 68.

So what’s next for Maryland?

The silver lining in Sunday’s loss to the Tar Heels was another tremendous performance by Stoglin, playing his first game at the Dean Dome with everything on the line for the Terps.

Not only has Stoglin improved from his early season struggles to adjust to the college game, but it now looks like Gary Williams has the makings of a special player on his hands the next three years.

But now, Maryland (18-11, 7-7 ACC) must turn its attention to the final week of the regular season (a game at Miami Wednesday followed by Virginia at home on Saturday) and the near-impossible task of winning the ACC tournament to make it to the Big Dance.

The Terps’ three seniors must take a long look at themselves to determine how they want to be remembered in College Park. Aside from Gregory’s steady improvement, it’s been a terribly disappointing year for the group.

Entering the season, the biggest question facing the Terps would be how much the three seniors and junior Sean Mosley would step up to fill roles more critical to the team’s success. They — or some combination of the four — would need to provide the leadership and much of the production left behind by Vasquez, Eric Hayes, and Landon Milbourne.

With the Terps now finding themselves locked into the crosshairs of the NIT and needing to rely on a freshman as the only consistent scoring complement to Jordan Williams, the verdict to that question has become pretty clear.

It hasn’t been enough. And it’s why the Terps find themselves on the outside looking in with March on the way.

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Maryland’s tournament hopes still alive after 78-62 win over FSU

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Maryland’s tournament hopes still alive after 78-62 win over FSU

Posted on 24 February 2011 by Luke Jones

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — If their NCAA tournament chances were flatlining following back-to-back road losses to Boston College and Virginia Tech, the Terps discovered a pulse, if only a faint one, on Wednesday night.

Five Maryland players reached double-digit scoring, and the Terps held Florida State to just 39 percent shooting in the second half to seize a convincing 78-62 win over the Seminoles, their first win over a top-50 RPI school this season.

It was the type of performance Gary Williams was waiting for all season despite an ominous start to the evening at Comcast Center.

With the “Wall” nearly empty at tip-off (see below) and not filling much more during the game, the veteran coach was clearly displeased with the lack of student support — evident in his post-game comments thanking those in attendance for “not giving up” and pointing out negativity in the student newspaper.

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Williams couldn’t have felt much better when the Seminoles sprung out to a 9-2 lead two minutes into the game with all points coming from the sharp-shooting Deividas Dulkys. The opening looked and felt like the disastrous 12-0 start against Virginia Tech last month, a game in which the Terps never found the energy or effort to make it competitive in a 17-point home loss.

Instead of sleepwalking as it did against the Hokies, Maryland awoke from the early lapse to answer Florida State’s high-energy level in what amounted to a frenetic first half before the Terps overwhelmed the Seminoles after intermission, outscoring them, 40-25. Defensively, the Terps (18-10, 7-6 ACC) held Florida State to 39 percent shooting in the second half to complete one of its best all-around performances of the season.

“Guys are getting comfortable with each other,” said Williams, who labeled his team’s man-to-man defense in the second half the finest it had played in awhile. “It takes time. Landon [Milbourne], Eric Hayes and Greivis [Vasquez] were four-year seniors [last year]. Now we’ve got three freshmen out there some of the time. It’s a little different.”

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Whether the gelling of this team has come too late remains to be seen, but the Terps took a step toward the postseason bubble — they’re not there yet — with a win over the third-place team in the ACC.

Chris Singleton or not — Florida State was without its leading scorer for the second straight game after the junior broke his right foot against Virginia on Feb. 12 — this was a big one for a Maryland team needing a quality win for both its hollow tournament resume and confidence with March quickly approaching.

Florida State entered the game leading the country in field-goal percentage defense, but Maryland shot 51 percent from the field, becoming only the second team to reach the 50-percent mark against the Seminoles this season. The Terps did it without a dominating performance from Jordan Williams, who still earned his 21st double-double of the year with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

After searching all season for a consistent scoring option behind the sophomore star, freshman Terrell Stoglin turned in a strong 17-point performance — 14 coming in the second half — but was only one of four other Terps (Dino Gregory, Adrian Bowie, and Sean Mosley the others) to contribute double digits to the point total. Maryland also went 7-for-14 from 3-point range after attempting only one shot from beyond the arc in Sunday’s win over North Carolina State.

The balanced effort certainly builds confidence as the Terps are now faced with a trip to Chapel Hill to challenge No. 19 North Carolina on Sunday night. A win over the Tar Heels would propel Maryland back into the NCAA tournament discussion, which is about as much as the Terps can ask for at this stage.

“This [win] definitely builds our confidence,” said Jordan Williams, who passed the 600-rebound mark for his career and joined Joe Smith as only the second Terp to reach the plateau as a sophomore. “North Carolina is a great team with a great coach. We are excited for the challenge.”

A tall challenge it will be as Maryland has a final attempt to beat a top-25 opponent in the regular season. Of course, the Terps have found themselves knocking loudly for a big victory several times this the season.

Only to smash their fingers in the door at the worst possible time.

Though a win seems unlikely, Sunday’s meeting with the Tar Heels is the kind of game Gary Williams has managed to win many times throughout his distinguished career.

Left for dead a little over a week ago, Maryland is suddenly playing like a team that doesn’t want to settle for the NIT.

“We’re a better team now,” Gary Williams said. “I knew it would be a process this year. It takes time to develop a team. I think we’re laying the groundwork here with this year’s team for very good things to happen in the future, but we want to win as many games as we can this year.”

The Terps still have a long way to go to even think about the bubble, their body of work, or their RPI (a modest 85th entering Wednesday night’s game), but they inched a step closer to the discussion with a win over one of the better teams in the conference.

And for now, that’s all Gary Williams and the Terps can do.

An even larger step will be available Sunday night.

NOTES: Maryland is 7-0 against the Seminoles in Comcast Center. … Williams’ double-double left him one shy of the single-season school record set by Len Elmore (22) in 1974. … Stoglin is averaging 19.2 points per game over his last five contests and has made 23 of 24 free throws in his last three games. … Gregory’s 14 points gave him double-digit scoring for the fifth consecutive game. … Five Terps reached double-digit scoring for the fourth time in the last five games. The exception was Sunday’s win over NC State when Maryland had four players in double figures.

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After falling to Virginia Tech, Maryland must look to backcourt future

Posted on 16 February 2011 by Luke Jones

It was an entertaining and highly competitive game in Blacksburg, but it produced the tired final act we’ve seen too many times this season.

Despite plenty of opportunities, Maryland fell short against Virginia Tech, 91-83, on Tuesday night, downgrading the Terps’ faint NCAA tournament hopes from life support to a virtual flatline with five games remaining in the regular season.

Dropping to 5-6 in the conference and being swept by a third ACC team — the Hokies joining Duke and Boston College as schools with two wins over Maryland — simply won’t garner any deserved consideration for the tournament in a down year for the ACC.

Barring a miraculous finish unseen since the Terps’ ACC tournament championship in 2004, Maryland will find itself playing in the NIT for the first time since 2008 when current seniors Adrian Bowie, Cliff Tucker, and Dino Gregory were finishing their freshman year.

As deflating as that reality is in the middle of February, a tiny beacon of hope shined at Cassell Coliseum with the impressive performance of freshman Terrell Stoglin. The shifty guard scored a career-high 25 points — 15 coming before intermission after the Terps had fallen behind by 10 points early in the half — and handed out six assists, a few being highlight-reel material.

Stoglin can be both exhilarating and frustrating depending on the possession, but there’s no denying his talent or fortitude, even if it amounts to ill-advised drives or forced shots as we saw a few times in the second half.

With the emergence of Stoglin and Pe’Shon Howard (making his fourth consecutive start), it’s time for Gary Williams to go with his best options in the backcourt, both in the present and future. The two kids should be on the floor together whenever possible. We’ve seen it more frequently over the last two weeks, but there’s no point in holding back with only a handful of games remaining.

Williams has always been loyal to his upperclassmen throughout his coaching career, but we know the book on Bowie and Tucker.

Decent role players who can help your team in spurts, but not the type of players you can count on consistently. Both are accustomed to coming off the bench and will still see plenty of minutes in reserve roles — as Tucker has already done most of the year — but not at the expense of the two freshmen.

If Tuesday night was any indication, we can expect to see more of the freshmen playing together as the Terps wind down the regular season and await their humbling postseason fate. Howard and Stoglin combined for 58 minutes while Bowie played just 11 despite starting the game. Though Tucker played 27 minutes, he failed to score in the final 20 minutes after scoring 10 points before halftime.

No one knows how good Howard and Stoglin can be — especially playing together — but they give Maryland just as much chance to win as Bowie and Tucker. The Terps haven’t been good enough against the better teams on their schedule all season, so why not allow the two kids to grow together over this final stretch of the regular season and into the ACC tournament and NIT?

It should give Williams a clearer picture entering next season when Howard and Stoglin are joined in the backcourt picture by two more freshmen in Sterling Gibbs and City’s Nick Faust.

At best, the Terps gain momentum with a new lineup heading into the postseason and wind up surprising a few teams.

At worst, Maryland continues to lose games to the superior teams on its schedule.

As the curtain continues to fall on Maryland’s NCAA tournament aspirations, it’s time to promote both young understudies to the lead roles in the backcourt.

And then hope for the best.

It’s all the Terps can really do at this point.

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Tournament hopes grow fainter in Terps’ 76-72 loss to BC

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Tournament hopes grow fainter in Terps’ 76-72 loss to BC

Posted on 12 February 2011 by Luke Jones

He might not be Mr. October, but Boston College’s Reggie Jackson dealt a postseason blow to Maryland that would have made the Hall of Fame slugger proud on Saturday afternoon.

Jackson’s career-high 31 points on 12-for-16 shooting led the Eagles to a 76-72 victory over the Terps in Chestnut Hill, putting Maryland’s NCAA tournament hopes on life support with six games remaining in the regular season.

Five Maryland players reached double figures, but the Terps could not overcome Jackson’s heroics as the junior guard went 5-for-7 from beyond the arc to give the Eagles the season sweep. Boston College improved to 6-5 in the ACC while the Terps dropped to 5-5 in the conference.

Dino Gregory led the Terps with 15 points while freshmen guards Pe’Shon Howard and Terrell Stoglin each had 14 points and combined for 10 assists. Jordan Williams, frustrated for much of the afternoon by double-teams in the paint, finished with just 12 points and eight rebounds.

Other than a brief time early in the first half, the Eagles had no problem with Maryland’s full-court press and shot 48.2 percent from the field, often getting easy looks in the process.

The game featured two of the biggest stars in the Atlantic Coast Conference in Jackson and Williams, but it also exposed the biggest reason why the Terps have struggled to win games when they’ve mattered the most. Jackson was able to touch the ball nearly every time down the floor — and did not disappoint when he did — while Maryland’s big man took only seven shots in 34 minutes of play.

While Howard and Stoglin played admirably to keep the Terps in the game, Maryland’s veteran trio of guards — Adrian Bowie, Sean Mosley, and Cliff Tucker — went a combined 7-for-24 from the field and committed six turnovers. Defensively, Maryland’s backcourt players appeared slower and were unable to generate the second-half spark needed out of the press to win a game they desperately needed to have.

In fact, Tucker and Bowie found themselves confined to the bench for much of the second half as Gary Williams went with Howard and Stoglin down the stretch as his senior guards came up empty in the most crucial game of the season to this point.

Despite plenty of rhetoric about urgency and the need to play a consistent 40-minute game against the better teams on the schedule, Maryland (16-9, 5-5 ACC) once again fell short against a formidable opponent. The Terps had won five of their last six games entering Saturday’s game, but only one was against an opponent ranked in the RPI’s top 100 (a 79-77 win over Clemson on January 22).

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All season long, fans have lamented poor free-throw shooting, ill-timed scoring droughts, and shaky guard play as reasons why the Terps had fallen short against the Pittsburghs, Villanova, and Dukes of the college basketball world. Once Maryland would straighten out those issues, they’d be in business. They weren’t that far away in many optimists’ minds.

Alas, the old principle Occam’s razor roughly states the simplest explanation is usually the right one.

This Maryland team just isn’t that good.

An 0-8 record against top-50 RPI teams supports that sobering claim.

The Terps’ NCAA tournament hopes aren’t completely dead yet, but that dream grows weaker by the day. A win at Virginia Tech on Tuesday night followed by wins in at least four of their final five games (with a presumed loss at North Carolina) would put Maryland at 10-6 in the ACC.

And, of course, a 2004-like run in the ACC tournament can never be ruled out, no matter how unlikely it seems. That John Gilchrist-led squad was 7-9 in the ACC before winning three straight games in the Greensboro Coliseum — though the current 12-team format is far more daunting.

But the difference among those other bubble teams of the past decade and this year’s team is the absence of a backcourt player that can carry the team on his back such as Gilchrist in 2004 or Greivis Vasquez in his four years at Maryland. As terrific as Williams has been in the low post all season long, success at the collegiate level is bred by quality guard play, something the Terps haven’t had on a consistent basis this season.

If it hasn’t shown up in the middle of February, how much longer do you wait before acknowledging that train simply isn’t coming?

Perhaps the strong performances by Stoglin and Howard — not to mention both being on the floor in the closing minutes — provide hope for the future, but the clock appears close to striking midnight on Maryland’s NCAA tournament hopes.

And the shoe sure doesn’t look like it fits.

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