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15-7-0

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15-7-0

Posted on 06 July 2009 by Glenn Clark

Let me start by saying this…..

The last time I spoke to Steve McNair was in January, right before the event he did with us down in Nashville. The call came in WELL after midnight on Thursday night; and Steve was the subject of controversy in Tennessee because he was going to be involved with a “Ravens rally” before a playoff game against the Titans organization whose existence he was so synonamous with. Steve’s manager had called me the day before to say he couldn’t be involved with the event. But Steve himself called me very late/very early Friday to say “I gotta do it man. I gotta do it for the kids.” I asked Steve if he knew what time it was, and he said “Yeah, but I had to let you know man.”

The event stood to benefit the Ronald McDonald House, which was particularly important to Steve. I was really happy to know that Steve was willing to stand up in the face of the people who challenged him.

I couldn’t tell you much more about Steve personally. I met him immediately when he was first traded to Baltimore, and I unfortunately left for Phoenix right before his two year run here began. I just never really got the chance to get to know him much more than that. As the news has unfolded this weekend, I’ve been a mess of emotions, and have thought so much about how much I admired the guy. I am not ashamed to admit that I respect Jeff Fisher in a way that might be borderline “man crush”, and I will admit that during the rivalry with the Titans early this century I always felt that the Titans franchise was remarkably similar to the Ravens, and I couldn’t help but respect their team (as long as the Ravens beat them on the field).

I thought about skipping this weekend’s 15-7-0; but it was important to me to laugh. I remember the day of Sean Taylor’s unthinkable murder, I was asked to do my daily 15 minute comedy bit for a radio show I worked for at the time. It seemed strange, but I felt it comfortable to mention the tragedy, and then ask for permission to try to have fun. It was KINDA like the time Lorne Michaels asked Rudy Giuliani if SNL was allowed to be “funny” when they came back after 9/11. “America’s Mayor” responded with the simple quip “Why start now?”

So I’m asking your permission to have fun. I’d ask for permission to be funny, but I know you’d have a smart one-liner for me. There won’t be anything more about Steve in here. I’ll let that play out on its own.

As a note, since this weekend started on Thursday night. Read accordingly.

You get props….

1-Joey Chestnut

hero

So, many of you know that at some point in my life I’m finally going to get around to writing my book. My book will of course be about the great Juan Dixon, and it will be called “We Needed A Hero.” The book will get that title because sports fans from this region who are about my age really never had a true “hero” until Juan Dixon came around. I’ll spare you the details of the book other than to ask that you buy it (if I actually finally get around to actually writing the damn thing). But anyway, buy my book.

Oh right, Joey Chestnut. You see, the moral of the story is that years later; we finally have our next great hero. I’ve seen a number of great accomplishments in my day; but standing on a street corner in Brooklyn to watch our greatest American champion successfully defend his crown and smash his own world record; I’d be lying to you if I said it didn’t bring a tear to my eye. Or that I didn’t rush up on stage the very second the contest was over to give the man a hug.

The best thing “Jaws” said to me all day?

“Plus, you know, I think the hot dogs are really good.”

This man is a hero America. Get on board now.

2-Adam Jones

Upon hearing the news that he had made the American League’s All-Star team as the lone representative from the Baltimore Orioles, Adam Jones released this statement……

“This is a big day for me. I feel like I have been named the prettiest girl at fat camp.”

(Editor’s note: No, no, he really said it. Just trust me. I mean, why would I lie to you if financial gain wasn’t an option?)

3-Tiger Woods

Do you think the invitations to Tiger’s event read like this…..

“Please come to my party, where you can enjoy watching me kick your ass. Cake and punch will be available.”

Also, you’ll be seeing this video (or actually Comcast SportsNet’s version of this video) a lot over the next 24 hours…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6hFVgur8W8[/youtube]

4-Shin-Soo Choo, Derek Lee, Justin Morneau and Casey McGehee

In other baseball news this weekend, Jason Bay made the All-Star team despite toting just a .260 average and going 0-5 with 5 strikeouts against the Orioles last week. But I think people from Boston are really smart. For example, this guy is an elected official……

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbK4cL3QSc0&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

Your city is awful, your people are worse. I guess I’ll throw in a shout-out to Tim Wakefield, who made his first All-Star team since 1963.

5-Serena Williams

For absolutely no reason at all, I’d like to remind you of what Serena Williams looks like in a bikini.

serena

If this isn’t a reminder of why America is the greatest country on the face of the planet, I don’t know what else you’re looking for. Seriously, this country rules. And Serena is apparently pretty good at tennis too.

6-Robbie Rogers

I would love Robbie Rogers even if he wasn’t the man of the match in the US’s win over Grenada. That is of course because Robbie went to the greatest school in the history of the world, a proud Maryland Terrapin.

I know what you’re thinking. “Glenn, does that mean that no matter what, you just immediately love every person that went to the University of Maryland, no matter who they are?”

Well, the answer is yes. Except for these guys anyway……

md

Ehhhh….who am I kidding? Even those guys.

7-Justin Turner, Radhames Liz, and Chris Salberg

Congratulations also go out to Jim Miller and Chris Tillman of the Norfolk Tides, who were each named to the International League’s All-Star team for next week’s game in Portland.

Wait……their reward is to spend three days in Portland that they could have spent on vacation?

I’m sorry…..there are no consolation prizes available.

8-Matt Russell

Remember how I said Tim Kennedy was my favorite soldier in the world? He has company. There’s really nothing about Matt Russell that falls into the category of “news” from this weekend, but Matt Russell is a former Navy goalie and current Washington Bayhawk who is currently serving in Iraq. For that, he kicks ass. And I know he’s not the only athlete who is serving or who has served recently, but he’s the only one that I had a story about waiting for me in my Inbox. And it is REALLY hard for me to go searching for other stories when I know that there is an episode of “Kendra” waiting on my Comcast DVR.

russell

So here’s to you Matt Russell. When you get home, I’m buying you a Blue Moon. I’d buy you more, but how would you drive me home?

9-Rick Maese

I get the feeling that I am going to SERIOUSLY regret the fact that I wasn’t able to hang out more with Rick Maese while he was working in Baltimore. I mean, it’s not as if I never knew the guy, but something tells me he would have been the perfect candidate to have me pass out on his floor after a weekend with Mike Grinnon in College Park.

nude

Rick recently took a new gig with the Washington Post as a Redskins beat writer following his dismissal from The Sun. He did an interview last week with the humorous DC-sports Blog “Mister Irrelevant”, and here are some of the many gems….

When asked about his firing while covering a game at Camden Yards:

No, it wasn’t cool, but there’s probably no perfect way to whack an employee. I didn’t need a hug or a pat on the back or a Baltimore Sun souvenir mug on my way out the door.

I’m a couple of months removed now and I mostly feel sadness. The Sun is important to Baltimore, and there’s still a lot of good people trying to do good work. To me, what’s happened there isn’t fair to these people who are on the ground — who are actually practicing journalism — and it’s not fair to the people of Baltimore who depend on the Sun in so many ways. So it’s sad to me. I sincerely hope the people steering the ship have a plan. In a perfect world, newspapers are run by journalists, not kamikaze pilots.

When asked about how he’s been spending his time off:

My recent extended vacation has forced me to figure out what else I like to do to pass the time. I’m big into music. In the past few weeks, I’ve seen Drive-By Truckers, Old 97s, Martin Sexton, Gaslight Anthem, Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers and Michael Jackson. Wait, scratch that last one. No one will ever top David Bowie or the Beatles. Seen Bowie once. Supposed to see him a second time, down in Miami several years back, but the show was canceled. After the opening act, some dude fell from the catwalk and died on the stage. Bowie never came out. I’m not sure anyone’s death has affected me quite so profoundly.

And on his memories from The Sun:

I’m going to sidestep your question slightly. I’m saving the embarrassing athlete stories for Larry King. Or. Maybe my best-man toast at Gary Williams’ wedding.

Anyhow, when I look back at my time with the Sun, it won’t be a singular story or some home movie. It’s more like flipping through a photo album. Going to work each day at one of the best ballparks in the country. Meeting Ali. China with Cal. China with Phelps. Brian Billick quotes. The student section at Comcast. Dressing as Lincoln and making a mockery of the Presidents Race. Getting an earful each morning from Angelos’ loyal staff subjects. Barbaro. Blindly hunting for Miguel Tejada in the Dominican Republic. Witnessing Dan Steinberg’s ongoing mental breakdown. And that unforgettable Orioles’ World Series. Wait, scratch that last one.

Anyone else get the feeling he’s better off?

10-Micah Owings

Hits a home run and throws a gem in a win. He goes both ways. Sorta like Tila Tequila…..

Tila Tequila

11-Keith Law

Here’s the quick explanation. Law is the man who came up with the quote “Sliced bread is the greatest thing since Matt Wieters” that the people over at MattWietersFacts.com turned into a t-shirt. So to bring everything full circle, Keith Law took a picture of himself wearing the t-shirt and holding a slice of bread.

law

Bringing things even fuller circle, the slice of bread was quoted as saying “You know what, that Matt Wieters fella is even more awesome than I am. Except of course when you slather Esskay bacon, lettuce, and tomato on me. Then I kick more ass than anything else in the world.”

12-Orange Blossom Cream Ale

creamale

I was a little worried that I was drinking a foreign brew on the 4th of July; but it’s from California. Which means it’s almost American!

13-Vladimir Guerrero

Do you ever get this feeling while you’re watching the Orioles:

“How come all of the good players play for the other teams?????”

14-Fruit Salad

fruit

In a recent taste test conducted by me; fruit salad was crowned heavyweight champion of the salad community. With no offense to pasta salad, macaroni salad, potato salad, or really anything else in the world; fruit salad is just much awesomer. So awesomer in fact that I decided to invent the word awesomer in order to be able to describe it.

15-America

At one point while standing on the corner of Surf and Stillwell in Coney Island Saturday, I looked at a friend of mine and said “is there anything greater about our country than being here on this day?”

Joey Chestnut was introduced to the crowd at Nathan’s Famous to the tune “Baba O’Reilly” by The Who. My pal John Chambers (buy his stuff on iTunes) and I immediately started air guitaring every riff and belting out every lyric. We then looked at each other and I said to him “why the hell don’t they just change this song to our national anthem?” My pal agreed, and it wasn’t until about ten minutes later than my buddy finally wised up and said “Wait, The Who isn’t an American band.” I responded by saying “I know, but they should be.”

And for as much ass as our country kicks, I’m not completely certain it is a good thing that the most patriotic song most people my age could think of Saturday was this gem from “Team America World Police” that is ABSOLUTELY not safe for work. Unless your work is being Bob Saget. And if that’s the case, thanks for reading Bob.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZdJRDpLHbw[/youtube]

You got lucky…….

1-Roger Federer

I’m not the type to take away from a man on the day of one of his greatest accomplishments, but damnit I thought Andy was finally going to do it today. I had 7 years worth of frustration pent up as an American tennis fan that I was ready to release, too. Here’s a bet I’d like to get advice on…..which happens first: an American wins a grand slam or the Orioles make the playoffs? Chew on that.

Anyway, at least having Pete Sampras in the crowd meant we got to see a few screen shots of the great Veronica Vaughn….

madison

…….and the reminder of Bridgette Wilson’s existence also reminds me that every girl I’ve ever met named Veronica has received this response from me…..”Veronica Vaughn……want to touch the heiney”

These are also reminders that there was a time when Adam Sandler was funny. That’s a pleasant memory.

2-Tony Stewart

Do you get the feeling that a newspaper in Daytona probably said “4th of July Fireworks Come ON Track in Race”?

Tony Stewart won the race. Kyle Busch wrecked on the last lap. I think I need a bigger iPod. Can someone donate one?

More NASCAR analysis later.*

(*By “later” I mean “likely never.”)

3-Ron Artest

This was the same guy who asked his team for some time off so he could promote his rap record.

Now, he’s an outstanding player again, and he’s going to pocket big money to go out to Los Angeles and collect championships with Kobe Bryant.

Nice life.

4-Manny Ramirez

Is there a less likeable guy who is more popular? If I was Sammy Sosa, I’d be kicking myself that I never thought to grow out dreadlocks. Or win two World Series titles. I guess there is a difference.

5-Ian Gregory

Look, this isn’t about Ian Gregory necessarily being lucky. A young man who has had to go through cancer absolutely deserves the chance to hang out with his favorite football team; even if he has a terrible parent who allowed him to root for the Cowboys.

What this is really about is the fact that it is “My Wish” week again on SportsCenter; which means their had better be a fresh box of Kleenex somewhere around the apartment. I wish I was kidding; but these damn videos ALWAYS leave me in tears.

Trust me, I hope Marion Barber turns his ankle in the first week of the season (unless I end up drafting him); but damnit I can’t help rooting for the guy for at least 3-4 minutes.

Here it is…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hD2lplGRisw[/youtube]

6-Shoot The Freak

coney

Only in New York. Nothing like wandering down the street and hearing “Shoot the freak in the freaking head!” or “It’s Coney Island, what did you expect?”

How this attraction still exists I don’t know; but there’s a part of me that’s glad it does. Look, New York isn’t for everyone. For example, I went to something called Rubulad while I was in town this weekend, and after my 4th or 5th Pabst Blue Ribbon; I decided it probably wasn’t for me.

But I wasn’t sure how to get off the roof.

Or why the cow next to me was watching a silent film on a projector.

And I only wish I had a camera to prove these things.

7-The Luckiest Dang Gal On The Face Of The Planet

skeeball

Now, I know that having the name “The Luckiest Dang Gal on the Face of the Planet” would tend to lead to the idea that the subject is, in fact “lucky”, but something I learned this weekend officially makes her even luckier.

The Skee-ball lanes above are at the Coney Island Arcade. When we arrived there Saturday while our friends took in the Wonder Wheel; I immediately requested $5 worth of quarters from the man in the Arcade so I could show off my freakish pop-a-shot basketball prowess; as well as my relatively mediocre Skee-ball stardom. I took the quarters, handed a couple to TLDGOTFOTP, and placed mine in the Skee-Ball machine nearest me. It was at that moment that potentially the most fateful words in the short history of our relationship were spoken…..

“I’ve never played Skee-Ball before.”

I know what you’re thinking.

“Glenn, how did you not leave her right there in that Coney Island Arcade and let her find her own way back to whatever people might still accept her?”

Trust me, I considered it.

But I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt, and a chance to show she was a quick learner.

But I was wrong.

Her first ball was thrown overhand.

Her send bounced right back in her face.

I’m pressing on for now, but I have to admit that the future of our relationship is still in doubt.

HOW IN THE HELL HAVE YOU NEVER PLAYED SKEE-BALL??????

You’re a zero……

Kansas City Royals

I know it sounds like I’m piling on; but the story of what they did to Baseball Prospectus’ Rany Jazayerli is practically Bader-istic.

The long and short of it? The Royals didn’t like something Jazayerli blogged; so they threatened to cut him off completely from the team…….and anyone (including radio shows) who associated with him as well.

Jazayerli is (of course) amongst the biggest Royals fans on the planet.

Somewhere Steve Melewski was thinking to himeself “I think the Royals are really doing a good job.”

-G

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Bird watching & no hoisting of goblet in Pittsburgh

Posted on 09 June 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

10:42 p.m. — Bring on Game 7! The Pittsburgh Penguins have been plenty feisty daing back to Game 7 in Washington, D.C. in what feels like a lifetime ago. It wasn’t the most exciting first period in Stanley Cup history, but the third period tonight at The Igloo was spectacular. Action, back and forth and up and down the ice. The game almost was tied with just 13 seconds remaining on a close one.

It was Stanley Cup magic. The Penguins and the city of Pittsburgh are 60 minutes away from a second civic championship in five months. Disgusting!

Meanwhile, Brad Bergesen did a nice job tonight against Seattle. The Birds won 3-1. Nolan Reimold hit a big fly. Melvin Mora had one interfered with in the first inning. It was a good, necessary win for the Birds.

8:40 p.m. — I’m in the midst of a typical spring night of wearing out the “previous” on my Comcast remote as I go back and forth between the Orioles-Mariners and Red Wings-Penguins.

The sky is a beautiful blood orange over downtown tonight and the Orioles game has been strange and the Red Wings look poised to hoist Lord Stanley’s chalice on enemy ice once again. Imagine these cockroaches from Pittsburgh having to watch the Red Wings raise The Cup at the Igloo for the second year in a row in front of the Steel City faithful.

Imagine the indignity! (But, it couldn’t happen to nicer folks that our neighbors in Pittsburgh!)

As for the Orioles, if you didn’t see the fan interference in the first inning on a near-home run for Melvin Mora (coincidentally, the kid was wearing an orange Mora No. 6 freebie giveaway that apparently no one knew about) you need to check it out. It was a Jeffrey Maier special, but when the umpires reconvened they rescinded a two-run homer call and the Orioles were suddenly only up 1-0 instead of 3-nil.

It looks like there’s less than 10,000 in the park tonight and the storm that rolled through town at dinner was biblical. Just horrendous where I was in Towson and White Marsh.

I don’t know if I’ll blog all night but I’ve been watching and I just felt like writing. It’s been a long week already and we’re making a lot of changes at WNST and you’ll see this site really come to life over the next few weeks.

Lots of work behind the scenes lately.

But tonight — for a beautiful Tuesday night — I’m watching hockey and baseball and enjoying it immensely!

Nolan Reimold just turned on one and the Birds are up 2-0. Also, my buddy Ed Frankovic keeps texting me from Hershey with Bears-Manitoba updates. Apparently, the Bears are losing.

Red Wings and Penguins are nil. Been a sleepy first period by Stanley Cup Finals standards.

A big night of fun sports…

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Memphis Ends Maryland’s Season With 89-70 Beatdown

Posted on 21 March 2009 by Glenn Clark

Maryland’s season came to a screeching halt with an 89-70 loss to Memphis Saturday in the 2nd Round of the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers were outstanding in all phases of the game; and possibly inspired by questionable comments made earlier in the week by Maryland star Greivis Vasquez. 

The season ends for the Terps with a 21-14 record; highlighted by 3 wins over Top 10 teams and the 3rd trip to the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament in their last 3 appearances. But that’s where the good news ends. 

Critics will point out that the Terps again finished their season without reaching the Sweet 16; making it a 6th straight season they’ve failed to reach that plateau. They will also point out that the team suffered another double digit loss to end the season; their 7th such loss this season. The Terps were considered a “bubble team” right up until Selection Sunday; finished under .500 in ACC play (even including a pair of wins in the ACC Tournament), and failed to produce a first team All-ACC Selection. 

Those who defend this Maryland program will likely point out that this was arguably Gary Williams’ best coaching job of his career at his alma mater; taking a team that lacked much in the way of special talent and coaching them into being one of the final 32 teams competing for a National championship. 

The season will be remembered by all as a season of great ups and downs; which kept fans and detractors entertained throughout. But with the end of the season; the Terps will now face a number of questions….

-Will Greivis Vasquez return for his senior season?
-Will high school superstar Lance Stephenson choose to join the program? 
-Will Braxton Dupree or other underperforming players choose to transfer elsewhere?
-Will players who showed unpolished talent (Landon Milbourne, Adrian Bowie, Sean Mosley) progress into more all-around players with leadership capability? 
-What will incoming freshmen James Padgett and Jordan Williams do for this team’s almost completely absent frontcourt?
-Will there be any changes to the coaching staff? 

There will be one question no one will have to bother to ask; even though some will undoubtedly want to anyway….

-Will Gary Williams remain the head coach?

Whatever happens between now and Midnight Madness will be supervised by Gary Williams (save for some completely unlikely turn of events); and he will be able to do what he chooses without answering questions about his passion, desire, and ability for……at least a couple of days. 

It will be an interesting stretch for this Maryland program; and will likely lead to another interesting season. 

-G

——

Final Stats:

Tyreke Evans lead the Tigers with a game high 19 points. Doneal Mack scored 17, Robert Dozier 17 with 8 rebounds. Shawn Taggart added 14 with a game high 11 rebounds; Roburt Sallie scored 13. Antonio Anderson finished with a game high 11 assists; the Tigers tallied 21 as a team to go with 3 blocks. The Tigers out-rebounded the Terps 33-23. They shot 31-53 from the field (58.5%), 10-19 from beyond the arc (52.6%), and 17-22 from the free throw line (77.3%). 

Greivis Vasquez lead the Terps with a team high 18 points and 4 assists. Adrian Bowie added 11 points, Eric Hayes 10. Dave Neal finished his college career with 9 points and a team high 4 rebounds. Landon Milbourne added 8 points and Sean Mosley 7. The Terps finished with 9 assists and collected 3 blocks. They shot 27-62 from the field (43.5%), 5-14 from beyond the arc (35.7%), and 11-19 (57.9%) from the free throw line. 

——

5:24-Adrian Bowie finishes scoring; Terps fall 89-70. Terps finish the season with a 21-14 record. I’ll wrap this up in a second. 

5:21-Braxton Dupree in the game; you wonder if this is his final minute in the Under Armour threads. Preston Laird into the game for the Tigers. Yeah, me neither. 

5:20-My good friend and former Raven Tommy Knight chimes in via text-”Tickets for NCAA Tournament in Glendale? You coming?” Thanks for rubbing salt in the wounds pal….

5:18-Is Tim Brando calling Jin Soo Kim “Jun Soo Kim”? Really? Hoop from Mosley gets the Terps within 20; they can put some polish on this turd in the last 2 minutes by getting it under 15. 

5:14-I will certainly miss these live blogs. I have enjoyed doing them all season; even when it was just me & Rich bouncing stuff off each other. They have been a lot of fun. I will likely miss Maryland’s Spring Football Game due to the NFL Draft; so our next blog probably won’t happen until Maryland visits Cal in the fall to open football season. (Of course; given the state of sports media; let’s just hope we’re all still here in August!)

Drew Forrester chimes in via text…..”This one is over.” Forrester FOR THE WIN! I guess I’ll let my friends in Arizona know they don’t have to get me any Spring Training tickets for next weekend. 

Jin Soo Kim into the game. 

5:13-Dave Neal with the 3; he’ll enjoy the final few minutes of his college career. It was a special season for Neal; who Gary Williams wants to remind you was “All-Met.” 

5:11-The “bucket and the bruise” for Bowie (thanks Lamont Germany!). Tyreke Evans exits to a nice ovation; and Bowie completes the 3 point play. If the Terps can somehow get this below 20 in the final 4 minutes, they might confuse people into thinking this one wasn’t as bad as it was. 

5:10-Memphis fans with the “A-C-C” chant FTW. That’s good stuff from them; knowing that the ACC will now have just two teams left in the NCAA Tournament (North Carolina and Duke). 

5:09-Add another 3 from Mack; and Memphis’ lead is 29. Gary needs to go to the bench to get Memphis to call off the dogs too. 

5:07-Antonio Anderson finally gets on the board; and Shawn Taggart reaches 10 rebounds while sitting on the floor. Unreal. 

Rich; I have heard many of the same things about Memphis; but certainly have to say I am impressed by what John Calipari has done there. He proved a season ago that it is possible to win a National Championship from outside the power conferences; and may one day do so. I doubt it will be this season however. 

5:03-I haven’t flipped on the radio to hear what Johnny Holliday is talking about; but you imagine he’s trying to sell fans on what this team will look like next season with Jordan Williams and James Padgett joining the frontcourt. 

The bigger question would be who the scoring responsibility falls on if Greivis Vasquez does indeed end up in the NBA Draft. Obviously Maryland fans are hoping Lance Stephenson will be the option (or a returning Vasquez); but the reality is that a combination of Milbourne, Mosley, and Bowie might have to be where the scoring goes. None of them are good shooters. 

4:58-Maybe I should take it as a sign of mercy that my internet isn’t working. Sallie with another 3 to re-extend Memphis’ lead to 22 at 77-55. Vasquez called for a technical; he’s clearly showing his frustration here. I wonder if Vasquez is doing what Steve Francis allegedly did in his final Maryland game (a Tournament loss to St. John’s); and talking about how much money he’ll make in the NBA next season. About 8 minutes left in the season for Maryland; and Gary sends Vasquez to the bench. 

4:45-Greivis now with 16 on the day; and might put up a pretty number before it is all said and done. But if it comes in a blowout; it might not mean much.

By the way; when I said “hoop and the harm” recently; I couldn’t help but think of Morgan State Play by Play voice Lamont Germany. If you haven’t had the pleasure of hearing Lamont call a game; you’re missing out. His voice is outstanding; and goes with “the bucket and the bruise” as his basket and foul call. LOVE hearing Lamont call a game; and especially loved hearing his excitement as the Bears clinched the MEAC title. 

4:44-Lead right back to 20 after a 3 from Sallie. Evans fouled on the floor on the other way by Hayes. Terps with some fury; but still trail by 20 at the first official timeout of the 2nd half.

4:41-Doneal Mack FINALLY misses a 3. Vasquez feeds Milbourne inside on the other end; and Milbourne misses badly. Vasquez is fouled; then finally feeds Milbourne for the hoop. Vasquez drills a 3 after a Memphis turnover; but Memphis gets an alleyop. Terps and Tigers trade buckets before another 3 by Greivis; then two more traded hoops. 65-48 Memphis; and Maryland is pressing too hard and getting exposed in the halfcourt right now.

4:40-Ed; please refer to my blog from Friday. Vasquez put himself in this position. This is who he is; and it will certainly be part of his legacy.

4:36-Tyreke Evans with the hoop and the harm; but misses the free throw. 59-34 Tigers. Vasquez gets his first bucket of the 2nd half; and then the Tigers have to call a timeout when they can’t inbound the ball. Terps trail by 23.

4:35-Mosley called for the travel; he’ll sit down in favor of Hayes. We’re not too far from seeing Jin Soo Kim and Braxton Dupree……I think.

4:34-What did I say about Mosley and Bowie needing to make their free throws? Mosley makes just one of 2 this time. Taggart fouled inside by Dave Neal; and the Terps appear to be just about willing to accept their fate thus far in the 2nd half. Taggart makes both; and Memphis now has their biggest lead at 24; 57-34.

4:33-Vasquez misses his first jumper of the half; while Evans connects again. 17 for Evans; Tigers by 22. Mosley fouled going to the hoop next time down.

4:27-Seth Davis tabbed Adrian Bowie with the “Ba-Ba-Bowie” nickname during CBS’ halftime show; and I have to admit I chuckled. Although I imagine Davis didn’t exactly come up with that one. Greg Anthony dismissed Maryland’s chances before the game; and thus far he’s dead on.

This game is reminding me of the last Maryland-Memphis game (in 2004) I spoke of before tip-off. Except of course for the fact that MEMPHIS is playing the flawless basketball.

This might very well be the last 20 minutes of Greivis Vasquez’s career in College Park; and you can’t help but wonder about his legacy in comparison to his numbers. I guess I shouldn’t get ahead of myself; but………

Halftime stats: Tyreke Evans lead Memphis with a game high 15 points and 3 assists. Doneal Mack added 14. 8 points and 4 boards from Robert Dozier; 6 points and a game high 5 boards from Shawn Taggart. Roburt Sallie added 6 off the bench; and while Antonio Anderson was scoreless; he has a game high 7 assists. The Tigers out-rebounded Maryland 15-13. The tallied 11 assists and 1 block. They shot 19-27 from the field (an UNREAL 70.4%), 8-11 from beyond the arc (an even more unreal 72.7%), and 7-8 from the free throw line (87.5%).

Dave Neal and Greivis Vasquez each had 6 points ot lead the Terps; Adrian Bowie, Cliff Tucker, and Eric Hayes all added 5. No Terp had more than 2 rebounds or 1 assist. The Terps tallied just 2 assists and 1 block in the first 20 minutes. They shot 14-36 from the field (38.9%), 1-9 from beyond the arc (11.1%), and 4-6 from the free throw line (66.7%).

None of those numbers are pretty.

4:11-Eric Hayes FINALLY gets Maryland’s first 3; and Memphis will take a 53-33 lead to the break. I will say this much……Maryland is NOT playing as poorly as they played in the blowout loss at Duke. Memphis is just playing VERY inspired basketball. I’ll be back shortly…..because I have to. Glad I didn’t book my flight to Phoenix!

4:09-Vasquez and Tucker miss 3′s; Tucker’s was an airball. 1 minute to play after Tyreke Evans is called for the offensive foul. Terps BADLY need to score here; but Vasquez will turn it over instead.

4:08-Mack gets the roll on the floater inside; Vasquez goes to the hoop the other way. Kemp knocks down a 3; and Gary needs ANOTHER timeout. 53-30 Memphis; and this Tigers team can’t do ANYTHING wrong so far. This one is UGLY.

4:07-Willie Kemp makes one of two at the line; then Vasquez misses a 3 badly. Vasquez hears it from the Memphis fans; Terps trail by 20.

4:03-Rich; we might have to entertain ourselves in the 2nd half.

Sean Mosley misses the front end of the 1 and 1; then Mack nails ANOTHER 3. Mack gave Vasquez a look after the 3; you think the Memphis players heard what Greivis said yesterday?

Putback dunk for Gregory gets the Terps back within 19; then Neal misses another 3 after stepping up. Terps 0-5 from outside so far; and frustration is setting in as Gregory is called for a foul.

4:01-Sallie hit with the foul before the final official timeout of the first half. This story has played out one too many times this season. One team is just MUCH better than the Terps. This one looks like it will be the same story. Unfortunately; that’s the problem with not have the same talent level.

3:59-Neal hits both at the line; cutting the Memphis lead to 13. Tigers break the press again and get a dunk from Dozier. WAAAY too many easy buckets. Tigers by 15. Neal misses a turnaround; Mack drills another 3. Just when things were going right for a minute…..Tigers 44-26 now. 9 for Mack. Timeout Terps; and Drew Forrester might as well let us know this one is over. Tigers can’t miss.

3:57-Doneal Mack shoots over the zone; and he drills the 3. 36-21 Tigers. Tucker goes to the hoop this time down; he finishes and is fouled by Taggart. Tucker appears to have a black eye; don’t know what the story might be there. He hits the free throw; he has 5 points and heads to the bench for Hayes. Terps might need him on the floor for offense. Tigers break the press and get ANOTHER 3 from Mack. Neal fouled inside by Dozier. 39-24 Memphis.

3:55-You imagine this will be the only year Memphis has a player like Tyreke Evans; but it is certainly worthwhile. Evans puts home the layup after the alley-oop pass wasn’t there; he has 15. Mosley then blocks Evans in transition the next time down. Mosley gets the ball inside on an offensive rebound and is fouled by Sallie. 33-19 Memphis. Tucker tips one back in off a Milbourne miss; and the lead is 12 for Memphis again.

3:54-I will admit that I have really enjoyed the State Farm commercials during the Tournament. The hot dog vendor that doesn’t have buns; and the popsicle vendor that doesn’t have sticks-that’s good stuff. Much better than the game thus far.

3:51-CBS tells us that Memphis has an 11-7 rebounding advantage so far. You get the feeling that number would be more lop-sided if Memphis was actually missing a few shots.

Terps to the zone; and Bowie called for the foul away from the basket. We hit the 3rd official timeout of the half; Terps trail by 12.

3:49-Putback slam from Robert Dozier; and Memphis has their biggest lead at 31-15. Lots of Memphis fans in KC today apparently; and Maryland is doing little to quiet them.

Tough hoop from Dave Neal; then Bowie with the layup off the steal. John Calipari will take a timeout as the Terps cut the lead to 12. 5 points for Bowie to lead the Terps so far.

3:46-As a reminder; Tyreke Evans is NOT the troubled player Maryland recruited before problems within the athletic department kept him from getting to College Park. That player was TyREE Evans, who ended up at Tennessee.

TyREKE Evans makes both freebies; he has 13; Tigers by 14. Pierre Henderson-Niles called for the offensive foul on the other end. Bowie misses one inside; then Anderson is fouled driving. Cliff Tucker into the game; he HAS to give the Terps some offense.

3:45-Roburt Sallie AGAIN from 3…….is there a Roburt Sallie on Maryland’s bench somewhere??? Evans drives and is fouled by Hayes; Evans will go to the line with Memphis ahead by 12. Things don’t appear to be getting better. 6 for Sallie.

3:43-This will be another key today. A guy like Bowie CANNOT struggle at the line the way he has in the past. They can recover from things like that against lesser teams; but Bowie and Mosley have to get to the line; and they have to connect.

As I say that, Bowie front-irons his first attempt. He makes his 2nd; 24-15 Memphis.

3:40-Badly missed hook from Dino Gregory there. If he wants to be an ACC big man; that has to be in his arsenal. Bowie fouled; Tyreke Evans will re-enter. Bowie to the line with the Terps trailing by 10; 9:53 to play in the half after the 2nd official timeout.

3:39-Just when I mentioned Roburt Sallie…….there’s his first 3. Vasquez answers with a runner; 22-14 Memphis. Terps have to get a better defensive option. Can’t give a guy like Robert Dozier the room to hit a jumper like he just did. 24-14 Memphis.

3:37-Rich, too many missed layups all season. If you can’t shoot from outside; you can’t fail at the basket as well. They have done that WAAAY too much.

Brando and Gminski say Neal must be the “X Factor”; but I think they need to find a way to get Neal and Gregory both on the floor.

Jumper from Milbourne, then a drive and finish from Bowie; and it’s 19-12 Memphis.

3:35-A reminder that Tigers’ reserve guard Roburt Sallie went off for 35 points the other day thanks to hitting TEN 3 point attempts. Sallie has been a minimal factor throughout the season; but if he starts getting shots; this could get REALLY brutal. Of course, if the Terps don’t settle down, they might not even need that.

3:33-Vasquez into the lane for his first bucket; 17-8 Terps. Evans finds Taggart inside for a hoop the other way. Mosley steals a rebound from Anderson and Vasquez splits the defenders; but he misses the layup. I haven’t been counting the misses at the bucket in recent games; but I might start. Maryland gets the ball back after the first official timeout; but they already trail 19-8. Not good.

3:30-Vasquez gets into the lane; but misses the floater off the curl. On the other end; Evans goes right to the basket for a layup. Vasquez is stripped on the other end; and Evans gets another chip shot. 15-0 run for the Tigers; 11 points for Evans. Hayes FINALLY ends the run with a layup; and Maryland trails 17-6.

3:28-Greivis will have to be the man to carry the Terps through these tough stretches; although Memphis can neutralize that if they keep making every shot. Greivis is being defended by Antonio Anderson; who is amongst the best defensive guards in the country; and won the Defensive Player of the Year award in Conference USA.

3:27-Evans to the line; he hits both. 11-4 Tigers. Tigers go to the press; Eric Hayes into the game. Terps break it; but Milbourne misses a jumper. Dozier gets an easy hoop inside; and the Terps trail 13-4. I’ve seen one too many games start this way this season…..Gary takes his first timeout.

3:25-Mosley can’t find the jumper from the free throw line. I imagine he might get that shot a few times today. Evans banks in a long 2…..those are the type of shots that go in when it’s “your day.” Bowie drives and throws up a wild airball on the layup attempt; then Mosley fouls Evans as he drives. This one could get ugly quick…

3:24-Misses from Milbourne and Bowie on one end; then Taggart hits the jumper. Vasquez fouled in the backcourt; 7-4 Tigers.

3:23-Taggart makes both free throws; we’re tied at 2. Memphis is going to have a size advantage; the Terps will have to be scrappy on the boards. Mid-range jumper from Milbourne; then a 3 from Evans; and it’s 5-4 Tigers.

3:20-Maryland’s lineup remains Dave Neal/Landon Milbourne/Sean Mosley/Adrian Bowie/Greivis Vasquez. Memphis goes with Shawn Taggart/Robert Dozier/Antonio Anderson/Tyreke Evans/Doneal Mack.

Good defense from the Terps on the first possession; getting a steal at the end of the shot clock. Neal with the layup; and Brando calls him “The YMCA future star”…..brilliant. Vasquez fouls a driving Evans the opposite way; then Taggart is fouled by Neal fighting for a rebound.

Pre-game: After the debacle in Owings Mills the other day; I have returned to the Glenn Clark compound in White Marsh; where I will be joining you today.

The #10 seed Maryland Terrapins tangle with the #2 seed Memphis Tigers today in the 2nd Round of the NCAA Tournament; a quarterfinal in the Tournament’s West Region. The winner of today’s game will advance to face the winner of tomorrow’s Missouri/Marquette matchup in the Sweet 16 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ next weekend.

Gary Williams’ Terps bring a 21-13 record into today’s game; while John Calipari’s Tigers are 32-3. The teams have two common opponents on the season; with Memphis losing in overtime to Georgetown in December; and collecting a double digit win over Gonzaga in February. Maryland suffered double digit losses to both teams at the Old Spice Classic in November. Today’s game is being played at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.

To get here, Memphis tallied an 81-70 win over Cal State-Northridge in the first round; while Maryland beat Cal 84-71. The Terps have not reached the Sweet 16 since 2003; when Drew Nicholas’ Terps beat Xavier in the 2nd Round before falling to Michigan State in the round of 16.

The last time Williams and Calipari faced-off in the NCAA Tournament was in 1994; when Joe Smith and the #10 seed Terps stunned Marcus Camby and the #2 seed UMass Minutemen 95-87 in the 2nd round. Sound familiar?

The biggest storyline entering today’s game certainly has to be the comments made by Maryland’s leading everything Greivis Vasquez yesterday regarding the strength of the ACC in comparison to Conference USA. You can read about the comments in my blog from last night.

Today’s game can be seen on CBS-WJZ 13 in Baltimore (Channel 23 on Comcast in Baltimore County). The game is also available streaming online via CBSSports.com, thanks to “March Madness on Demand.” Tim Brando and Mike Gminski will call the action.

The Terps and Tigers have played just once in their long respective basketball histories. The game was played at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA to start the 2004-05 season. Maryland was thoroughly dominant in one of the most impressive basketball games the school has ever played; routing the Tigers 84-61. John Gilchrist and Chris McCray each had 16 points to lead the Terps; Gilchrist and Travis Garrison 10 rebounds each.

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Terps Run Out of Gas; Will Await Selection Sunday Fate After 67-61 Loss to Duke

Posted on 14 March 2009 by Glenn Clark

Maryland’s resume is complete.

They deserve to be dancing come Sunday night.

That being said; they had the chance to feel much more comfortable about themselves; but couldn’t beat Duke in the ACC Semifinals Saturday night; losing 67-61 in Atlanta.

But that being said; this team has a resume that the rest of the teams on the NCAA Tournament bubble just can’t claim.

20 win ACC teams with 3 victories over legitimate Top 10 teams belong IN. And in a year where the mid-majors weren’t quite as good as they were in recent years, they shouldn’t have to sweat as much as they will Sunday.

If for some wacky reason the Terps are left OUT of the NCAA Tournament; they will obviously have themselves to blame. In the final 3 weeks of the season; they lost 2 close games to Duke, one to Wake Forest, and one to Virginia. Winning any of those would end this argument.

But if the Terps are left OUT of the NCAA Tournament; they will also have a legitimate gripe with the NCAA Selection Committee.

They have the resume. The other bubble teams don’t.

St. Mary’s had a nice year. So did Creighton. So did San Diego State. Penn State, Arizona, Auburn and Florida all have arguments too.

But NONE of those teams have the resume Maryland has; even if Maryland’s season wasn’t always pleasing to the eyes.

It will be an interesting Sunday in College Park.

-G

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Final stats: Eric Hayes finished with a flurry to lead the Terps in scoring with 20. Greivis Vasquez added 14 with team highs in rebounds (6) and assists (4). Adrian Bowie finished with 10 points; Sean Mosley 8 with 5 rebounds. 6 points and 4 boards for Dave Neal; Dino Gregory scored just 1 point but added 5 boards. Landon Milbourne finished with just 2 points and 4 rebounds. The Terps and Devils each pulled down 28 rebounds. Maryland collected 7 assists and 4 blocks. They shot 25-63 from the floor (39.7%), 4-15 from beyond the arc (26.7%), and 7-9 from the free throw line (77.8%).

Jon Scheyer lead the Devils with a game high 22 points; Kyle Singer chipped in 14 with a game high 11 rebounds. Nolan Smith added 10 points; Gerald Henderson 8 with 5 boards, and tied for game high with 4 assists (Vasquez). David McClure chipped in 6 points off the bench. The Devils tallied 11 assists and 4 blocked shots. They shot 20-55 from the field (36.4%), 9-22 from beyond the arc (40.9%), and 18-21 from the free throw line (85.7%).

——

6:15-Drew, I don’t think that either team really showed much in the way of desire today. I think Duke was just a bit better; which we all kinda knew coming in. The Terps didn’t have that next level to ramp up to when challenged; and that did them in. They were tired; and when a mediocre team gets tired, they look like a bad team. I think Duke did JUST enough to win; but didn’t show much to me when it comes to desire. They just hit a few shots and then hung on. Good teams do that and win.

6:12-That will be the end of this one. Maryland’s regular season will come to an end with a 20-13 record; and they’ll await their Selection Sunday fate tomorrow night. Duke will improve to 27-6 and will face Florida State for the ACC Championship tomorrow. The Terps didn’t seal their fate either way tonight; and it will be a tough 24 hours in College Park. 67-61 Duke win.

6:11-Smith makes both; Duke by 6. Terps probably don’t have this miracle left in them.

6:10-1 of 2 for Scheyer; then Hayes with another hoop. Smith fouled with 15.4 seconds to play. Duke 65-61.

6:09-1 of 2 for Smith, followed by a Hayes layup. He fouls Scheyer with 24.8 seconds to play; Duke 64-59.

Chris-Mosley was a spark plug; but clearly lost his legs. When your role is energy; and you have none left, it’s hard to do anything.

6:08-Scheyer indeed makes both; 21 for him. Hayes gets another hoop in the lane; 63-57 Duke and Smith is fouled with 34.9 seconds to play.

6:06-6 second half points for David McClure. Hayes finally fouls Scheyer with 47.1 seconds to play. He’ll head to the line; you can just about count both of these.

6:05-Duke breaks the press for a dunk by David McClure. Hayes cans a 3 to answer with 56.3 seconds to play; he has 14 now. Terps trail by 6, they have to get a foul here.

6:03-Singler makes both, he has 14. 59-50 Devils with less than 90 seconds to play. Hayes with the quick hoop; 59-52; Hayes has 11 on the game. Terps call timeout; they’re going to have to start fouling. 1:17 to play.

6:02-Bowie blocks Henderson; but Hayes misses the 3 that would have made this a game again. Under 2 to go; Duke back to work on the clock. Smith misses; but Singler with the BIG offensive board. 1:26 to play; and Singler to the line for 1 and 1. That might well do it.

6:01-Under 3 minutes to play, Terps work the give and go with Vasquez again; and he’s fouled by Singler-6th team foul. Tough hoop from Neal; 57-50 Duke. 2:40 to play, they’ll work the clock again.

6:00-Henderson fouled by Mosley with 8 seconds left on the shot clock. Tough call. Henderson to the line for 1 and 1 with 3:07 to play. He’ll make 1 of 2; Devils by 9 again.

5:58-Give and go to Vasquez; and he’s fouled by Nolan Smith. 3rd personal on Smith; Vasquez to the line for 2. He’ll hit 1 of 2; 56-48 Duke. 14 for Greivis.

5:55-Terps get the ball back with the Devils unable to get the dagger. 3:36 to play as we reach the final official timeout of regulation. The Terps aren’t dead yet; but they have to get a score here.

5:53-Terps get the ball back with under 5 to play; and Hayes puts another hoop off the glass to cut Duke’s lead to 56-47. Do they have a run left in them? Bowie called for the foul; 6th team foul.

5:50-Chris; Gary certainly isn’t getting out-coached. He clearly went to the zone because Maryland had no legs left. With Mosley not being able to finish at the rim; his legs are amongst the most tired. Gary had been doing a remarkable coaching job for a team that couldn’t get things going; but Duke just started canning outside shots.

Another turnover; and McClure finishes. He misses the free throw; and Singler called for interference. 56-43 Duke with 5 and a half to play. Hayes gets a quick hoop; 56-45.

5:48-After a turnover; Neal misses a runner, and Scheyer gets a layup in transition. That’s 19 for Scheyer; Devils by 9 with 6 and a half to play. Bowie settles for a long 3 point jumper; and Duke gets the ball back. McClure drives and finishes; Devils by 11; Gary needs another timeout. 54-43 Duke; and Maryland appears to be out of answers-or out of energy.

5:44-Vasquez with the tough pull up jumper; but Scheyer DRILLS a 3 on the other end. Duke by 7 again; 50-43. Vasquez will have to have every answer on the offensive end; but can’t finish this time down. 50-43 Duke at the 3rd official timeout. I just don’t know if Maryland can keep responding to Duke’s shooters.

5:42-Big momentum changing 3 from Henderson; who had been struggling. 47-41 Duke with 8:44 to play; and Gary calls a timeout.

5:40-Maryland does go to the zone; I don’t think Duke will be afraid to shoot over it. Foul on Cliff Tucker fighting for a board; then Maryland gets the ball back thanks to a Hayes rebound. Hayes’ 3 pointer is blocked; 1 second on the shot clock. Neal heaves an airball up with 9:08 to play.

5:37-Jon Scheyer with a hoop; followed by buckets for Vasquez and Neal. Coach K takes a timeout with 10:16 left and Maryland responding well following Duke opening their biggest lead of the game 44-41 Devils now. 14 for Scheyer; 11 for Vasquez.

5:35-This is a SERIOUS trouble spot for Maryland. They can’t keep giving away points on the offensive end; as Duke almost certainly has another hot streak in them.

5:32-Gregory gets the ball in the lane and can’t finish in close. Terps have given away some 12-14 points in near the hoop already in the 2nd half. Duke will maintain their 42-37 lead as Dino Gregory is hit with the foul. We’ll go to the 2nd official timeout of the half.

5:31-Bowie switches hands to finish a transition layup; he has 10. 40-37 Terps. Nolan Smith then flips in a reverse layup to extend Duke’s lead back to 5. Terps continue to have troubles inside.

5:30-Gregory makes 1 of 2; his first point of the game. 40-35 Duke, Terps trap early, then back off. Scheyer drives and is blocked by Gregory/Milbourne. Steve Martin seems confused that Maryland hasn’t gone to the zone. Has he seen how Duke has been shooting???

5:29-Scheyer makes all 3; he has 12 and the Devils take their biggest lead of the game at 40-34. Lance Thomas called for his 3rd personal on Gregory inside; he’ll shoot 2.

5:28-Vasquez settles for a decent look at a 3 but misses; and Hayes fouls Scheyer shooting a 3 the other way. He’ll head to the line for 3 shots; and the Terps are going to have to dig deep.

5:27-Nolan Smith fires up a 3 at the end of the shot clock; and Williams is their for the board and putback. Devils by 3. Williams called for his 2nd personal the next time down. Mosley with another inside miss; Maryland really struggling inside

5:24-Rich, I was afraid they were going to call a foul on that Williams play; but I also don’t quite understand how you can fall down and not move your pivot foot. I’ll refrain from comment; I don’t want to get fined.

5:21-Elliot Williams fouls Vasquez; we haven’t called Williams’ name much. Mosley drives for 2 but wave it off for a travel. Singler drives, loses it; and is stripped by Gregory. Terps miss THREE chances at the rim before Vasquez eventually turns the ball over. Duke by 1 with 15:09 to play in the game, and we reach the first official timeout of the 2nd half. Mike Gminski thinks the Terps are losing their legs playing their 3rd game in 3 days. I might well concur.

5:19-There’s the great equalizer for Duke; as Scheyer cans a 3. That’s 9 for Scheyer, and Duke goes back ahead 35-34. Mosley and Henderson then trade 3′s before the Terps get the ball back on the alternating possession.

5:18-Sean Mosley opens 2nd half scoring with a putback to tie things at 32. Another putback by Mosley gives the Terps a 34-32 lead. Another solid effort from the freshman out of St. Frances. He’ll foul Henderson this time as Henderson goes to drive.

5:14-The winner of today’s game will play Florida State at 1pm tomorrow for the ACC title and an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. Also, if you do not have TV access but you’re following along with the blog; the game is being streamed live on RaycomSports.com.

And when the ad for Chick-Fil-A appeared on the screen; credit to my roommate; who jumped right up off the couch and said “i’ll be back in a minute; i’m going to get dinner for us.” And he’s paying. Winner winner chicken dinner.

5:09-Rob, I’m certainly not unhappy to be trailing by 2 at the break; but I would definitely be wary of which team comes out of the break firing. Duke can turn a 2 point lead into a 10 point lead in 120-150 seconds; and the Terps CAN’T let them go on that kind of run. If this is still a one possession game at the 15 minute mark; that’s a win for the Terps, who will feel a little more like “we’re supposed to be here” the rest of the way.

Halftime stats:

Greivis Vasquez lead the Terps with 9 points and a game high 3 assists. Adrian Bowie had 8 points; Eric Hayes and Landon Milbourne contributed 5 apiece. 4 points for Sean Mosley, 2 for Dave Neal with a team high 3 rebounds. The Terps out-rebounded the Devils 12-11; adding 5 assists and 1 block. The Terps shot 11-27 from the field (40.7%), 3-6 from beyond the arc (50%), and 5-5 from the free throw line (100%).

Kyle Singer lead the Devils with 12 points and 6 boards; also tying for a team high with 2 assists (Gerald Henderson). Jon Scheyer added 6 points, Nolan Smith 5. The Devils collected 6 assists and 1 block. They shot 10-27 from the field (37%), 6-12 from beyond the arc (50%), and 6-6 from the free throw line (100%).

4:59-Mosley makes both, 32-30 Duke. His free throw shooting is vastly improved. Devils can hold fo the last shot; which Henderson leaves off the front iron. 32-30 Duke at the break; I’ll be back shortly.

4:58-Foul away from the ball on Greg Paulus; that’s their 7th team foul, and Mosley will go to the line for 1 and 1 with 21.4 seconds to play.

4:55-More good ball movement by Duke; but Scheyer misses the 3. Singler called for the foul away from the ball. That’s the first personal on Singler. Hayes turns the ball over; and Henderson lays it in. Under a minute to play in the half, Devils 29-28. Vasquez travels with a wide open path to the basket; Mike Gminski isn’t sure that was a good call. 52 seconds to play, Duke ball. Scheyer DRILLS a long 3; putting the Devils up 32-28 and getting them an extra possession before the end of the half. Gary Williams takes a timeout; as these last 42 seconds can be HUGE.

4:53-Hayes toe was apparently “this far” behind the line; so it’s a 3. Paulus EXPLODES to the hoop but can’t finish. Singler put it back, but was waved off for basket interference. Dave Neal called for the illegal screen; 6th team foul on Maryland, 1st personal on Neal.

4:51-Sean Mosley pulls up for the airball; but Milbourne gets his first field goal the next time down with a mid-range jumper. Paulus drills a 3 after Singler finally missed one; but the Devils have made 3 of their last 4 from outside. Hayes with the great ball fake and a 3 of his own; 28-27 Terps with 2:13 to play in the half. They’ll look at that again to see if Hayes’ foot might have been on the line.

4:49-Rich, I don’t know about you; but Duke’s ability to shoot lights out over long stretches REALLY concerns me. I just get a bad feeling that at some point (maybe right now); they’ll can about 5 or 6 mid-to-outside shots in a row; leaving the Terps flat-footed. Building momentum will not be easy for a Maryland team that doesn’t shoot well; as the atmosphere in the Georgia Dome is nothing like the typical atmosphere in College Park.

4:48-This could be that stretch. Singler buries another 3; he has 12 and the Devils go up 24-23. We’ll hit the last official timeout of the first half. 3:37 to play before the break, Devils by 1.

4:46-Vasquez with the bucket to tie things at 18, but he rushes the jumper next time down. Bowie drives and is fouled; making the PLUS ONE attempt to give him 8. Singler ties things at 21 with a 3; then Neal hits a floater after hitting Smith hard again on a screen and the Terps go up 23-21. Timeout on the floor with Smith banged up a bit.

4:41-The Terps have stayed focused defensively; which has kept Duke from jumping out to a big lead here before the half. They need to take advantage of that on the offensive end; as at some point, Duke will almost certainly go on a 5 minute pace where they make EVERYTHING.

4:38-Vasquez pulls up for the VERY deep 3 and cans it. 7 for the junior from Venezuela. 18-16 Devils. Dave Neal turns the ball over the next time down. We’ll hit the 3rd official timeout of the half with the Devils up by 2 following a Scheyer turnover. 7:06 to play in the first 20 minutes.

4:37-Vasquez goes toward the hoop; he’s fouled by Lance Thomas. Terps have to keep doing that exact same thing. They’ve gone cold from the field; and could use some extra trips to the line. It worked last night.

4:36-Nothing surprising about a 6-0 advantage for Duke in 2nd chance points. Vasquez goes to the bench for a breather; but checks right back in. Terps can’t afford to let Duke extend this past a 2 possession advantage here.

4:34-Hayes does the right thing by driving there; and is called for a late offensive foul; his first personal. I don’t know how the call could have been after the shot; as the shot appeared to come after contact.

Nolan Smith finds himself open from the corner, and he cans the 3. 18-13 Duke. Hayes is too strong on the 3 when he gets the look on the other end.

4:32-The Terps started the game well, attacking the basket. They can’t afford to go away from that; and it can’t just be Greivis. Bowie needs to continue moving towards the hoop; trying to get fouls even he is met with the type of defense that doesn’t let him finish. And if the Devils are going to meet Eric Hayes at the 3 point line; he needs to slash before he even sets.

4:29-Hayes loses control, gets it back; then turns the ball over again. Paulus called for traveling as he slips. Terps can’t afford to be tentative offensively, they need to attack the basket. Hayes pulls up for 2; 13-12 Terps. Great ball fake by Scheyer gets Vasquez off his feet; he drills the 3; 15-13 Devils. Vasquez turns the next one over; and we’ll hit the 2nd official timeout with 11:04 to play in the half, Duke by 2.

4:28-Rich, he might be more confident; but it hasn’t paid off yet. Bowie with a good looking 3 ball that won’t fall; then he can’t finish at the rim after the Terps held on to the ball. Greg Paulus into the game for Duke; and Singler is fouled underneath. If the Terps let the Blue Devils get offensive rebounds; the Devils will make them pay. First personal on Vasquez, Singler makes both. Duke with their first lead at 12-11.

4:27-Singler with the drive; he’s fouled by an entering Gregory. That’s the first on the sophomore. Braxton Dupree into the game early for the Terps. Singler makes both, 11-10 Terps. David McClure checks in for the Devils.

4:25-Terps to the press; Devils pass through it and Smith hits an open jumper. Vasquez with the runner on the other end; then Zoubek flattens Vasquez on the illegal screen. 11-8 Terps; 1st personal on Zoubek, who killed the Terps at Cameron; then was inexplicably left on the bench for much of the game at Comcast Center.

4:23-Henderson nails the pull-up jumper; then Kyle Singer gets a putback hoop off a Maryland turnover. 7-6 Devils; and their half-court defense is taking away Maryland’s driving lanes. Duke with a couple ugly looking/partially blocked shots; and Sean Mosley is fouled in transition. Nolan Smith in the game; probably still thinking about that screen Dave Neal leveled him with. Mosley makes both; 9-6 Terps.

4:20-Ohio State appears to have punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament for sure; they beat Michigan State to advance to the Big Ten Championship Game. LSU falls to Mississippi State; the Bulldogs will play for an automatic berth tomorrow and might be getting off the bubble themselves.

4:19-Vasquez with the spin move; he’s called for a travel. We’ll hit our first official timeout with the Terps ahead 7-2. Nice first few minutes, but they have to get more in sync with their halfcourt offense.

4:18-With the shot clock winding down; Vasquez goes from side to side for the penetration and his first hoop. Great screen by Neal. Bowie’s next drive is blocked; but Rich you are absolutely right about what that could do for his confidence. Neal misses a long 2; Terps get the ball on the alternating possession. Eric Hayes in. 7-2 Terps.

4:16-Lance Thomas fouled by Landon Milbourne underneath; he’ll shoot two. Thomas makes both; 5-2 Terps. Devils to the press, Vasquez dribbles out of it in dangerous territory.

4:14-Greivis is content to let Elliot Williams take shots, but doesn’t want him using his athleticism to get to the basket. Two inside misses for Maryland before losing the ball on the alternating possession. I’m not going to have to start counting inside misses again, am I? Devils cold from outside to start; that’s a good sign. On the other end; Bowie drills a 3 (No Really! It was a good looking arc and everything). He has the first 5 points of the game, and Coach K needs a timeout.

4:12-Terps win the tip; Mosley with the bad miss to start. He improved as the game wore on last night; but can’t afford to miss chippies. Bowie in transition for the first bucket of the game; 2-0. Terps could really use a nice slashing game from Bowie.

4:10-Rich and I were debating blocking Drew from the live blogs. Of course, it might end up just being the two of us if we did. You’ll stay for now Drew.

Carolina ran out of miracles without Ty Lawson, falling to Florida State in the final minute. Terps lost their only contest with the Seminoles this season, an overtime loss in Tallahassee back in January.

Terps stick with Dave Neal, Landon Milbourne, Greivis Vasquez, Adrian Bowie, Sean Mosley
Duke goes with Kyle Singler, Lance Thomas, Gerald Henderson, Elliot Williams, Jon Scheyer to start

4:08-Drew Forrester poking his head in to offer up the early kiss of death this time. Thanks for that, Drew. I didn’t make a pick on this game; but if I had, I would almost certainly pick the Devils. As someone who had the pleasure of driving to Durham to see the Terps get pasted by 41 at Cameron Indoor; it isn’t the most comfortable of feelings. Need I remind everyone that Maryland has lost 4 straight to Coach K’s boys……ugh.

Pre-game: Okay, no internet issues at the Glenn Clark compund; and WNST.net has been pretty good today; with a lovely site upgrade on the back end (a gift to us, but not to you.) That being said; we shouldn’t have the issues today that we’ve had getting underway for the first two rounds (please knock on wood.) The 7th seeded Terps enter today’s ACC Tournament semi-final with a 20-12 record following a 7-9 regular season. They knocked off 10th seeded NC State and 2nd seeded Wake Forest to reach the quarters. The 3rd seeded Duke Blue Devils enter the game with a 26-6 record following an 11-5 ACC regular season. They held on to beat 6th seeded Boston College last night to reach today’s semifinal. Many prognosticators believe the Terps clinched an at-large berth with their win over the Demon Deacons last night; but many others think they’re still sitting on the bubble. With a win today, the Terps would advance to tomorrow’s ACC Championship; where they’d face Florida State for an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. Today’s game is again at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta; Maryland has won 4 straight games they’ve played at the venue. The last team to beat them at the home of the Atlanta Falcons? You guessed it, Duke. They fell in the semifinals of the 2001 ACC Tournament to the Blue Devils before reaching their first Final Four in school history that season.

Today’s game can be seen locally in ACC markets via Raycom Sports (WNUV 54 in Baltimore…..Channel 14 on Comcast Baltimore County.) Steve Martin and Mike Gminski will again handle the Play-by-Play of today’s game for Raycom, Scott Pryzwanski will patrol the sidelines. The rest of the country can see today’s game on ESPN; Mike Patrick and Dick Vitale have the call with Heather Cox on the sidelines.

The Terps will be playing their 3rd game in as many days for the first time all season (they played 3 games in 4 days at the Old Spice Classic in Orlando over Thanksgiving weekend). The Devils will be playing on back to back nights for the 3rd time this season (they did it twice at the beginning of the season during the 2kSports Classic).

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Terps Suffer Likely Fatal Blow; 68-63 at Virginia

Posted on 07 March 2009 by Glenn Clark

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.

-G

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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.

Pretty damning.

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.

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Terps Fall Apart Late; Suffer Costly 65-63 Defeat to Wake on Senior Night

Posted on 03 March 2009 by Glenn Clark

This one could haunt the Terps.

They were supposed to be a different team. A team that had matured, a team that wouldn’t give away games anymore. They wanted to prove that they were a good team, not just a team that had beaten some good teams. They’ll instead finish the regular season with just one win over an ACC team that is considered a “lock” for the ACC Tournament (North Carolina); and two wins against “bubble” teams (Virginia Tech, Miami).

The Terps had their chances in this one for sure. They had a 6 point lead with about 7 minutes to play. They had an 11 point lead in the first half. They had a 7 point lead at the half. But they reverted to doing the types of things they have done way too much this season. They settled for jumpers instead of finishing shots. They missed a staggering TWENTY shots in or around the circle. They lost focus and intensity, they got selfish and tentative; and they allowed their opponent to absolutely take it to them in a 65-63 loss.

Wake Forest was obviously trying too, but this wasn’t supposed to happen this late in the season.

There’s still hope for this Maryland team. Many will argue that an 8-8 ACC team deserves to make the NCAA Tournament, and the Terps will have a chance to reach that plateau Saturday. Others will argue that if the Terps can use the ACC Tournament to get a 9th conference win; they should be in. And they’ll have a legitimate chance to do that as well.

But even if all of those things go the right way; they’ll be a bubble team. Short of a run to the ACC Tournament semi-finals; the Terps will find themselves sweating on Selection Sunday when they had a chance to feel much more confident.

They’ll need to regroup, and they’ll need to refocus. But more importantly, they’ll need to get wins. This one could be the type of emotional loss that they can’t get away from; much like other Maryland teams have suffered late in the season.

They could have held fate in the palm of their hands.

-G

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Jeff Teague lead the Deacons with 17 points in the win. Aminu Al-Farouq poured in 16 points and a game high 14 rebounds. Ish Smith added 11 points and a team high 4 assists. James Johnson chipped in 9 points and 8 boards. The Deacs out-rebounded the Terps 50-32, including a 19-11 edge in offensive rebounds. The Deacs had 9 assists to 16 turnovers; 10 blocks, and 6 steals. They shot 25-63 from the field (39.7%), 5-15 from beyond the arc (33.3%), and 10-17 from the free throw line (58.8%).

The Terps were lead by 19 points from Dave Neal (game high), along with a team high 6 rebounds. Greivis Vasquez added 16 points, a game high 7 assists, and 5 rebounds. Hayes, Bowie, and Mosley all contributed 6 points each. The Terps had 15 assists to 10 turnovers; along with 3 blocks and 8 steals. They shot 27-69 from the field (39.1%), 7-19 from outside (36.8%), and 2-2 from the free throw line (100%).

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To call Gary Williams dejected in his post-game press conference might be an understatement. Gary said “I thought our guys did a very good job of getting ready” and continued defense of his team throughout; but not in the almost arrogant way that he did last Wednesday after the loss to Duke. Some other thoughts on the team:

-”You look at the last 3 games, they’ve been against good teams. We’ve been there.”
-”We had the chance to break it open” in the 2nd half
-”We were in a position to win that game.”
-”This is a different team” than last year’s team (who also found themselves on the bubble late)
-”These guys have had my back all year, I had their back going into this game.”

Gary made mentions of Wake Forest’s very effective zone defense, which he thought was “big” because they were both tall and agile. He added that the Terps “can’t duplicate it in practice”, meaning they weren’t really able to fully prepare for the defensive look. Gary said of the Terps’ 2nd half struggles: “We just couldn’t move as well as we did in the first half, and that hurt us against a team of that size and speed.” He also said of Wake’s size “we got inside a couple times and they blocked everything.” And considering Wake’s ability to pull down offensive rebounds; Gary said the Terps were “used to” having a team out-board them, and needed to “fight through” multiple chances, reminding the media that the team still must play defense on a 3rd offensive opportunity.

Gary did take a few minutes to speak highly of senior Dave Neal on his final home game; saying Neal “made some big shots for us”. He reminded the media that Neal “does what he can” and “uses whatever he has” every time he’s on the floor.

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11:00-There is something to be said about the fact that the Terps had to play 2 games in 3 days; a very difficult task. But Clemson was faced with the same task two weeks ago; and instead dispatched Maryland easily; getting stronger in the 2nd half. This is how ACC basketball works. If you don’t want to sweat on Selection Sunday; you have to win games like this. Charlottesville is never an easy place to win; but the Terps will have to get that one. That’s their 4th home loss this season by the way; all of which have been decided in the final minutes.

10:56-Mosley fouls Teague again here; but this is academic. 5.6 seconds to play. Dave Neal re-enters to a nice ovation, but this game is over. Teague misses the first; and Neal hits another 3 at the buzzer. He’ll finish with a game high 19. 65-63 Wake is the final. Terps fall to 18-11 (7-8); Deacs improve to 23-5 (10-5). Terps will face ANOTHER must win Saturday at Virginia; and may still need to do some work after that.

10:54-Teague hits both, he has 17. Vasquez misses a 3, Bowie misses one inside. 20 MAB’s. Hayes FINALLY makes a 3 with 6.2 seconds left; and the Terps call timeout trailing 65-60. This one could very well haunt them.

10:53-Terps will need a miracle. Vasquez turns the ball over with the Terps trailing by 5; and the team is yelling at each other. Crowd heads to the exits, and Milbourne fouls Teague again.

10:52-Wake runs some clock but turns the ball over. Vasquez misses the layup in transition; but Neal gets the putback. James Johnson with the 2nd chance hoop on the other end. Neal goes to the hoop and is blocked. 19 MAB’s, and this one might be over as Vasquez fouls Teague with 35.5 to play.

10:50-Aminu goes to work on Neal, but can’t finish. He’s called for the foul after the Terps get the rebound. That’s the 6th team foul on Wake. Hayes gets ANOTHER open look from outside; and misses. He’s had his chances in the 2nd half.

10:48-Desperately trying to curl; Vasquez is fouled by Clark. That’s the 5th team foul on Wake. Hayes penetrates, but is stuffed by the rim. 17 MAB’s. In transition; Vasquez’s lazy layup doesn’t fall. 18 MAB’s. Smith with a basket; answered by Milbourne’s first field goal of the game. 59-56 Wake with 2:21 to play; they’ll take a timeout.

10:45 Wake maintains the 3 point advantage as we hit the final official timeout of regulation, 3:45 to play. Terps CANNOT let this possession end with nothing more than an outside shot. Teague’s dunk clearly rattled them; but they’ve had two timeouts now to settle down. This has been a game of runs; and they have to end Wake’s now my establishing something at the basket. We’ve been sitting at 16 MAB’s for some time now; but that’s deceiving because the Terps really haven’t even tried anything underneath.

10:43-Ish Smith with the BIG 3 ball, and Wake reclaims the lead. Vasquez penetrates and pitches to Hayes, who misses another 3. On the other end, Teague takes the ball RIGHT to the goal for a thunderous jam; and Wake goes ahead 57-54. 9-0 run for the Deacs. Gary takes his 4th timeout with 4:01 to play. Terps HAVE to get inside somehow.

10:41-Wake continues to be effective with the zone, as Hayes misses a 3 here. Maryland can’t JUST rely on shooting against the Wake defense; they HAVE to TRY to penetrate; with kicking still being an option. Vasquez called for his first foul here on a call the crowd doesn’t like. 6th team foul.

10:39-Wake back to the zone with two men up top. Vasquez misses the 3. Deacs miss 2 shots from outside, but get two big boards before Aminu is fouled by Gregory. He exits for Milbourne. Aminu gets one of two; he has 16. Neal misses a shot from the corner, and Teague drills a 3. He has 11. Terps call timeout before Wake can get it any closer; but they’ve cut Maryland’s lead to 54-52.

10:37-Dave Neal must not want to ever buy a drink at Cornerstone again. If this continues tonight, his folk hero status will shoot through the roof. But the Terps have to maintain their defensive intensity and can’t waste possessions. Hopefully Neal’s shooting will open more paths to the basket for the Terps’ slashers. This one is FAR from over.

10:35-A shot clock violation by Wake; and we’ll hit the 3rd official timeout of the half. Chants of “Dave Neal” from the crowd. 54-48 Terps with 7:07 to play. They can really start to try to ice this one now.

10:31-The play where Vasquez was blocked was the 16th MAB. Johnson makes 1 of 2; and Neal drills his 3rd 3 on the other end. He has 11. Aminu with the big offensive board on a miss by Teague, 49-48. Vasquez drives and kicks to Neal for ANOTHER 3. WHAT A RUN FOR THE SENIOR! 14 points for Neal! Wake with another miss, and Gregory puts the ball home off an outlet pass. 54-48 Terps, timeout Wake. DAVE NEAL THE HERO!

10:30-The Terps will need Dave Neal’s shot the rest of the way. He takes the feed from Tucker and drills the shot from the corner, he has 8. Tucker then with the big steal and jam for his first points. Comcast comes alive again; as the Terps re-take the lead at 46-45. Deacs eventually get the ball to James Johnson inside; he’s fouled by Dave Neal from behind on a block attempt. 3rd foul on the senior.

10:26-Johnson can’t finish the 3 point play; and the Terps nearly throw the ball away. They get it back, but Milbourne misses another jumper. On the other end; Teague frives and gets the hoop; is called for a foul after the basket. His 2nd personal. Greivis drives and is blocked; Wake can’t corral an offensive rebound. 45-41 Wake right now; and the Terps can’t let them move this towards double digits.

10:24-The atmosphere picks up here at Comcast Center; but the defensive intensity fails before the official timeout. James Johnson with the ball fake and drive; he has 6 and will get a PLUS ONE attempt after the official timeout. Foul on Hayes after his slide wa too late. 43-41 Deacs for the moment, 11:44 to play. Terps absolutely need to start using the quick hands again to force turnovers.

10:22-The Deacs again work the clock against Maryland’s zone; and Ish Smith can’t hit the 3. Bowie with the quick basket the next time down; and Dino Gaudio calls his 2nd timeout. We’re tied again at 41 with 12 minutes to play.

10:20-Teague is forced to hoist one after a good defensive possession by the Terps. Mosley is blocked again inside; 15th MAB. Terps turn the ball over after Greivis doesn’t get a shot off before the clock expires. Greivis misses a 3 the next time down; and Neal goes to the bench. Gregory misses a jumper to end that possession.

10:19-The foul was the first of the game on Jeff Teague. Mosley knocked down both freebies; he has 6. Defensive intensity has to pick back up. Terps go to the zone.

10:17-0 points for Landon Milbourne sticks out like a sore thumb on the board right now. This isn’t a foul trouble issue; as Milbourne doesn’t even have one foul. It’s Wake using their size to take Milbourne out of his game. He HAS to get going in the 2nd half; and might need to start that by getting one or two outside.

10:15-Rich, I’d absolutely love to LOL at Georgetown for losing to St. John’s; but the Terps have to get going for me to feel excited again.

Things get worse after the timeout. Mosley blocked underneath; 13th MAB. Aminu knows down the 3 in transition. 10 for Aminu. Terps trail 41-37. Comcast is VERY quiet. Mosley fouled underneath; he’ll head to the line after the first official timeout of the half. Terps trail by 4; 14:42 to play. That becomes the 14th MAB since Mosley didn’t finish even though he was fouled.

10:12-Vasquez drives but loses the ball out of bounds. Ish Smith with the drive and finish. Landon Milbourne misses the outside jumper; and James Johnson gets a dunk the next time down. Terps cannot solve the Deacs defensively in the 2nd half; and their halftime advantage is completely gone. 38-37 Wake now; and Gary has to take his 2nd timeout.

10:09-Another bad stretch here. Big block by Mosley; then Vasquez with the no look feed to Mosley, but he misses the layup. 12th MAB. Wake gets a steal; and Ish Smith fouled by Bowie after making the hoop. Smith finished the 3 point play. Vasquez stops the bleeding with a nice drive and finish. He has 16. L.D. Williams uses a hop step for a drive of his own; 37-34 Terps. Hayes drives, he’s fouled by Williams. That’s Williams’ 4th personal; he’ll be forced to sit. David Weaver into the game for Wake.

10:07-Vasquez goes right inside to Neal; who misses a short one. 11 MAB’s. Marissa Coleman in the house; sitting in the press area. Vasquez chucks a 3 and misses; Adrian Bowie called for the foul.

10:06-Terps start with the ball, but turn it over. Aminu gets a 2nd chance hoop to open 2nd half scoring. Vasquez drills the 3 on the other end. Teague with a leaner the next time down; and Vasquez then turns the ball over. 35-29 Terps.

10:04-The Terps did a very nice of driving to the basket; and they MUST continue that in the 2nd half. They absolutely have to get free throw attempts and try to get some of Wake’s bigs in foul trouble. Will be interesting to see if Wake goes back to the same defense.

10:00-Al-Farouq Aminu lead the Deacons with 8 points. Gary Clark added 6. Tony Woods had a game high 5 rebounds in the first half; no Deac had more assists than Ish Smith’s 2. The Deacs out-rebounded the Terps 22-15; and had 5 assists to 11 turnovers; along with 4 blocks and 3 steals. They shot 10-27 from the field (37%), 2-6 from outside (33.3%), and 3-6 from the free throw line (50%).

The Terps were lead by Greivis Vasquez’s 11 points, he also tied for team high in rebounds with 3 (Mosley, Gregory). Dave Neal chipped in 5 points, and 4 Terrapins had 4 points each. Mosley had a game high 3 assists. The Terps had 7 assists to 4 turnovers; along with 1 block and 6 steals. The Terps shot 15-34 from the field (44.1%), 2-5 from outside (40%), and did not attempt a free throw. They also have 10 misses within the circle area (that’s 20 points given away at the basket).

9:55-If this is real; this is BRILLIANT! Amir missed the shot badly; and the crowd went absolutely insane. He freaked out, running around the court, and his friend came to present him with the check; where he lost his mind upon realizing that he hadn’t won the money. The video will be up on CollegeHumor.com tomorrow apparently. I can’t imagine this is real; but again, if it is; it is BRILLIANT.

9:51-The popular website CollegeHumor.com is apparently recording a prank at halftime. I don’t know if this is real or not; but if it is, it is BRILLIANT. The setup goes back to a popular viral video where a young man was punked by someone putting a marriage proposal up on the video board for his girlfriend. The video can be seen here. The victim of the prank is trying to get his friend back; and has asked the crowd to go crazy thinking his friend Amir has hit a halfcourt shot for $500,000. Let’s see how this goes….

9:48-Smith makes one of two; and Dave Neal gives the Terps a GIANT lift at intermission by drilling the open 3; this place goes absolutely nuts, and the Terps will take a 32-25 lead to the half. What a huge momentum play there.

9:47-Jeff Teague boards his own miss and finishes to cut the Maryland lead to 3. Terps finally end their slide with a nice dish from Vasquez to Mosley inside. 6 second differential between shot clock and game clock here; and Hayes called for a questionable foul inside on Ish Smith with 17.4 seconds to play.

9:45-Harvey Hale into the game for Wake; they have gone to a zone defense. Maryland with another turnover; someone is going to have to become an outside shooting option. Dave Neal checks back in with his two personals. Mosley can’t hold on to a pass inside; and the Terps turn the ball over again. VERY bad stretch for the Terps here.

9:44-Tucker’s shot there was almost impossible; but still the 9th MAB. L.D. Williams called for the offensive foul; his 3rd; team’s 6th. Gregory misses a dunk attempt on an offensive rebound; 10th MAB. Aminu with the easy bucket on the other end; and Gary needs a timeout. 8 for Aminu, Wake on a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to 27-22 Terps.

9:41-Rich, “MAB’s” are “Misses At (the) Basket.” Anytime a Terp misses a bucket (or is blocked; or loses it going up) from inside the circle area; I’m putting it in the MAB column. 8 MAB’s so far.

Subway spokesperson Jared Fogle is hear tonight; he does a little presentation during the official timeout.

9:40-Aminu with his first field goal on a stick back; 27-20 Terps. The Terps can’t afford to let Wake make a run here to close the gap before halftime. Foul on Ish Smith; and we’ll hit the final official timeout of the half with Maryland leading by 7 and 3:29 to play.

9:38-Terps CONTINUE to have quick hands defensively; and come away with another steal. Bowie gets the ball down low; but it produces the Terps’ 7th “Miss at Basket” of the game. James Johnson knocks down the mid-range jumper for Wake; then Hayes misses the 3 ball flat on the other end. 27-18 Terps.

9:35-Vasquez has to force one with the shot clock expiring, and it airballs. Gregory blocks McFarland next time down. Terps tentative to take jump shots; which is a good thing because they’re not a good jump shooting team; but they don’t want to keep taking time off the clock. Hayes with the leaner, then Bowie with the dunk off ANOTHER steal. Wake is forced to take their first timeout. 27-16 Terps. Drew better not declare this one over just yet.

9:33-Rich; you certainly have to be pleased with what Dupree’s done so far. For a guy that every message board in the world has transferring to Loyola after the season (maybe to open up a scholarship for Lance Stephenson); he clearly has maintained focus.

Drew; I also enjoyed the time you had Tony Franklin from Towson on the show. I might be sleeping at WNST again tonight if I get back after 1am; I might as well move in.

9:30-Good progression by Wake leads to a wide open 3 for Clark; who now has 6 to lead Wake. Vasquez fouled by Johnson the next time down; his 2nd person. GREAT passing by Mosley gets Dupree a dunk; 23-16. Terps with another steal; but Vasquez’s layup is blocked. 6 MAB’s. Dupree misses inside the next time down. I’ll make that 7 MAB’s. 23-16 Terps as we hit the 3rd official timeout with 7:19 to play in the half. Terps ball when we come back.

9:29-Hayes with the pretty move in the lane and the prettier finish for his first bucket. 19-13 Terps. Greivis with another miss from the lane next time down, he’s gone cold. But he goes right to the hoop after an offensive rebound; 21-13 Maryland.

9:27-Maryland goes to the full court press out of the official timeout. Deacs struggle, but break it; and Dupree is hit with his 1st personal fighting for position. Johnson is met by 3 defenders, and Hayes strips him from behind. Tucker misses the 3 off the nice feed from Mosley, then he’s called for the player controlled foul on a missed drive. That’s 5 MAB’s, 7 team fouls; and 2 personals on Tucker. Greivis back in after L.D. Williams is hit with his 2nd personal. Only 3 team fouls on the Deacs so far.

9:25-The obvious turnaround in the last 5 minutes was the Terps getting up and down off defensive plays. Whether turnovers or rebounds; the Terps worked quicker in the last 5 minutes. They haven’t found a hot hand shooting the ball yet though; even with Greivis’s 9 points.

9:23-Very pretty step-through by Vasquez, but he can’t finish. That’s 4 MAB’s. We hit the 2nd official timeout with Maryland up by 4. 11:25 to play.

9:22-Woods misses both, and the Terps go inside to Dupree as the shot clock runs down. Another Wake turnover, but Vasquez misses the 3 in transition. Clark knocks down his first 3 the other way down; 17-13 Terps.

9:20-Eric Hayes and Cliff Tucker into the game for Maryland; Gary Clark in for Wake with L.D. Williams returning. Vasquez misses a 3 from the corner; then Tucker called for an over the top foul fighting for the board. Milbourne airballs a short jumper next time down; and Wake gets two more extra chances before Greogry fouls Tony Woods. He’ll shoot 3. 1st personal on Gregory, fifth team foul. Milbourne exits for Braxton Dupree.

9:18-Tony Woods and Ish Smith into the game for Wake; Adrian Bowie goes right to the goal for 2. Bowie goes coast to coast off a rebound for a wild finish off the glass, and Maryland leads 13-10. 9 for Greivis already. Milbourne misses the reverse, make it 3 MAB’s. Mosley with the strip and finish; 15-10 Terps. Wake turns the ball over again; and Comcast is rocking.

9:16-The Terps are trying to use their “fake doubles” that were successful in the North Carolina game inside thus far. But the Deacs have more inside options; and are just fighting harder for offensive boards and loose balls early. The Terps will have to find effective inside minutes somewhere. Dino Gregory got the first chance.

9:13-Terps tough up inside but Aminu gets the 3rd chance hoop after a loose ball and a block. Teague drives off the McFarland strip to take a 10-7 lead. After the stoppage in play; Vasquez pulls up for 2. He has 7 early; 10-9 Deacs. Johnson misses his first 3 point try; but the Deacs get another offensive rebound. A foul on Johnson will end the possession. First official timeout; 15:56 to play. 10-9 Deacs. 2 “MAB”s for the Terps early.

9:11-Floater and layup airballed on that possession; Vasquez’s floater, Neal’s layup. Terps get a turnover and a 3 from Vasquez though; he has 5. Bowie called for the foul as Wake brings the ball down. 7-6 Terps. Neal is hit with his 2nd personal as Neal drives; that’s a VERY questionable call.

9:10-Mosley with the nice look inside to Neal to tie things at 4. With Maryland having little to no size inside; Wake decides to go right back down low; and Neal is called for the foul on Aminu. Aminu makes both, 6-4 Wake.

9:08-Wake goes right inside to McFarland to take an early 2-0 lead. Size will be a serious issue all night. Mosley gets free inside; but again can’t finish at the rim. I’m starting a “MAB” stat (Miss at basket); that’s 1 for the team, 1 for Mosley. Vasquez hits a jumper; but McFarland with the putback on the other end. 4-2 Wake.

9:02-Odd atmosphere in Comcast Center tonight. Coming off two straight games where this place was completely electric, there isn’t quite the same vibe in the building. A smattering of empty seats even. There’s a number of factors for this I’m sure (Fans were REALLY passionate for each of the last two games; there really aren’t any Wake Forest fans in the building; not a national TV game; no real hatred for Wake on campus; etc); but it still feels strange for such a crucial game to the Terps’ NCAA Tournament chances.

8:50-Team manager Jason Davis was honored before the game along with Dave Neal as part of Senior Night festivities. Chants of “Dave!” and “Dave Neal!” echoed throughout the student section at Comcast Center.

Gary Williams’ Terps stick with the Sean Mosley/Adrian Bowie/Greivis Vasquez/Landon Milbourne/Dave Neal lineup. Dino Gaudio’s Deacons start Jeff Teague and L.D. Williams in the backcourt; with Chas McFarland, James Johnson, and Al-Farouq Aminu up front.

Tonight’s game is televised by Fox Sports Net regionally; with coverage locally on Comcast SportsNet Plus. Bob Rathbun (Atlanta Hawks PBP) and Daymeon Fishback (former Auburn) have the call.If you have Comcast cable in Baltimore County; channel 17 is your destination.

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Pre-game:

Greetings from Comcast Center in College Park; where the Maryland Terrapins are set to battle the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. The Terps bring their 18-10 (7-7 ACC) record into tonight’s game off a win over NC State Sunday night in Raleigh. The Deacons are 22-5 (9-5); and are coming off back to back wins over NC State and Virginia. Gary Williams’ team is cearly viewed as still being ‘on the bubble’ for the NCAA Tournament, but many prognosticators believe a win over Wake could put the Terps squarely IN.

For the superstitious types; Gary Williams’ Terps are back in their all gold alternate uniforms. They suffered their first defeat in the Under Armour threads last Wednesday against Duke. I appreciate the fact that I can mention Under Armour without discussing Lance Stephenson in the same breath by the way.

Jerome Burney (bruised foot) will again miss tonight’s game. Braxton Dupree received a few minutes in Gary Williams’ mostly tight rotation Sunday night, it will be interesting to see if he gets minutes again tonight; especially given the clear size advantage the Deacs will have underneath with Al-Farouq Aminu, Chas McFarland, and James Johnson.

Tonight is Maryland’s final regular season home game of the year (hopefully there won’t be NIT games to be played in this building); and will be Senior Night. Dave Neal is the lone senior to be honored tonight; and will certainly receive a solid reception from the College Park faithful.

Dino Gaudio certainly has local ties; he was the Head Coach at Loyola for 3 seasons from 2002-2004. Gaudio is in his 2nd season as Head Coach in Winston-Salem; he was named Head Coach after the tragic sudden death of Skip Prosser in 2007.

“Celebrity Sighting” in the media area tonight; as ESPN.com blogger Heather Dinich (former Baltimore Sun Maryland beat writer) is in the house. I’m surprised she’s not out running somewhere…..

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Terps Finish Strong Behind Vasquez’s 33; Beat NC State 71-60 For 2nd Road Win of Season

Posted on 01 March 2009 by Glenn Clark

It was brutal; but it was another road win for a team that just isn’t very good on the road.

The 2008-2009 Maryland Terrapins continue to overachieve with their 71-60 win over NC State in Raleigh on Sunday night. With just a home game against Wake Forest and a trip to Charlottesville left on the schedule; the Terps have a very real chance to finish .500 in ACC play or better; after being picked to finish 11th by multiple prognosticators, including The Sporting News.

The Terps needed every ounce of Greivis Vasquez’s 33 points to finish off the Wolfpack Sunday night (with MAYBE the exception of the 3 pointer he knocked down at the buzzer); as their best player again carried them to victory. The Terps were absolutely unwatchable for stretches; but had just enough leadership to finish off a victory.

They’re not a great basketball team. They’re a team that has just enough heart to will their way to wins. And it’s not as easy on the road as it is at home. But by gutting out another one on the road Sunday night, they remain alive for a chance to make the NCAA Tournament. And with two more wins; they might as well punch their ticket.

But things won’t get any easier for the Terps. When things ended Sunday night; they were already less than 48 hours away from their next tip-off. They’ll have to get right back to work, and will have to figure out a way to gut out a victory over one of the ACC’s better teams in Wake Forest.

All they have to do is just enough to win. That’s what they did Sunday night. It was sloppy. They didn’t get many contributions from players not named Greivis Vasquez.

But they got enough. And that’s all they need.

-G

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Greivis Vasquez lead the Terps with a game high 33 points (on 13-22 shooting), he lead the Terps with 5 assists (tied for game high). Dave Neal chipped in 11 points and a team high 8 rebounds. Eric Hayes added 9 points and 4 assists, Cliff Tucker 7 points. The Terps were out-rebounded 29-21. They shot 27-55 from the field (49.1%); 10-21 from outside (47.6%); and 7-8 from the free throw line (87.5%).

Tracy Smith lead the Pack with 19 points and a game high 9 rebounds. Javier Gonzalez had 11 points and tied for the game high with 5 assists. 10 points apiece for Courtney Fells and Ben McCauley; McCauley chipped in 6 boards. Brandon Costner had 6 points, 7 boards, and tied for the game high with 5 assists as well. The Wolfpack shot 23-46 from the field (50%), 5-19 from outside (26.3%), and 9-14 from the free throw line (64.3%).

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9:47-I haven’t seen Ol’ Mike P; but I’m doing my best to be unprofessional anyway. And Rich, it was snowing a bit earlier; but not right now.

9:33-Greivis won’t make any friends doing that. He pulls up and hits a 3 at the buzzer. I’m sure he took it from the fans tonight; but that’s not okay. Terps improve to 18-10 (7-7), Wolfpack fall to 15-12 (5-9) as the Terps finish off a 71-60 victory. 33 points for Greivis on another magical night.

9:32-Rich, if I sleep at the station tonight and it doesn’t snow; Chris Bonetti will feel my wrath in the morning.

Fells launches a 3 and misses; then the Pack decide to sit around and watch Eric Hayes hold the ball. Hayes to the line; he hits both. Terps by 8.

9:29-Great play, but Gregory misses another one at the hoop. How many of these can the Terps miss? Gonzalez goes to the basket for 2, he has 11. Terps by 4, under a minute to play; and Vasquez buries the runner. That’s 30 for Greivis. 66-60 Terps with 25 seconds to play. Sidney Lowe calls a timeout; and absolutely needed to foul on that last possession. This one is over now.

9:28-Gary calls timeout with 1:26 to play as he doesn’t want to waste this possession. It’s only a 2 possession game; so a stop here keeps the Wolfpack alive.

9:26-Hayes at the line; he makes both. First points of the 2nd half. 7 on the game now for Eric. 62-56 Terps, Costner misses on the other end. Tucker with the HUGE jumper at the end of the possession this time down; and that might be the dagger. 64-56 Terps. Fells answers with a baseline move; he has 10. Terps by 6.

9:24-Forrester calls it over for the 3rd time tonight; that was the magic number in the Duke loss too. Enjoy waking up and digging out pal!

Terps have to work time and stay patient defensively. The Pack will try to go inside-out to get open looks from 3; and the Terps CANNOT foul Smith if he gets the ball inside.

9:23-Javier Gonzalez with the MAJOR answer; drilling the 3 from about 4 feet beyond the arc. 60-56 Terps. Vasquez goes to the lane and is blocked-check that-foul on Courtney Fells. We’ll hit the final official timeout of regulation; 60-56 Terps with 3:01 to play. Hayes will go to the line.

9:21-Vasquez forces the 3; and instead of starting to put the Pack away; NC State will have the chance to cut this to a 1 possession game again. But thankfully they throw the ball away instead; and Vasquez finds Gregory for the hoop inside. Terps lead 60-53. NC State calls timeout with 3:54 to play.

9:19-Dave Neal loves taking that shot from the wing. He has 11 after the 3; he’s the only Terp not named Vasquez in double figures. 58-53 Terps.

9:18-Thanks to FSN for waiting until after the timeout to tell us that Milbourne got the foul. He fouls out. Smith hits one of two at the line; 55-53 Terps as the big man goes to the bench. Smith has 19. Terps turn it over again. Fells and Tucker trade misses. Brutal basketball again.

9:16-If I were Kevin Plank, I’d name Lance Stephenson 2nd in command if it meant he could suit up right now. The Terps are trying to execute the same defense they used on Hansbrough; but Smith is more physical than Hansbrough was. Hansbrough panicked when the Terps surrounded him; Smith just muscles up and gose to the basket.

9:14-Vasquez with the 3; he has 28. Terps 58-55. Pack’s success inside has forced the Terps to answer defensively; and they will continue to get outside shots that way. Smith gets the ball inside and is fouled by Neal. 6:53 to play, we’ll take the 3rd official timeout of the half.

9:13-Vasquez is just going to do it on his own I guess. He gets a floater in the lane; he has 25. Smith has 18 now after tossing one up and in. Tied at 52.

9:12-Costner with the ball fake and pass inside to Smith, who is hammered on the floor. Smith to the line for 1 and 1. He makes one of two. Milbourne back into the game. Smith with 16. Game tied at 50.

9:11-Smith makes the free throw; he has a team high 15. Terps trail 49-47. Tucker with the big answer from outside; 50-49 Maryland. Don’t need a shooting contest!

9:08-Horner gets the look from 3 and can’t get it to go. Hayes gets a look from 3 and can’t get it to go either. 47-44 still.

Drew-does Ethan have a Fisher Price hoop? We could definitely use that.

Horner finds the ball off a TERRIBLE miss and gets the hoop inside. NC State is alive after a Maryland turnover; and Smith gets a bucket inside and draws the foul. 48-47 Pack-their first lead of the game; and Gary needs a timeout. This is brutal.

9:06-McCauley hits both and goes to the bench. 10 for him. 45-44 Terps. Horner fouls Vasquez, he’ll go to the line for a 1 and 1. Vasquez makes 2, he has 23. 47-44 Maryland. They get the ball back after a turnover, but Bowie promptly throws the ball away inside.

9:04-I thought Gary should have tried to steal a minute or two from Vasquez at the 8 minute mark of the Duke game; and I wonder if he might try to do that with Milbourne tonight. I don’t think you can just leave a player on the bench until the 5 minute mark; I think you have to try to get some kind of contribution before that point, even if it means you break up the continuity of the game by calling timeout to get him off the floor.

9:02-Rich, your nightmare plays out. Milbourne fouls McCauley in the lane. That’s his 4th. McCauley will head back to the line after the official timeout. The Wolfpack will CERTAINLY try to keep working it in down low now. 11:35 to play, and Milbourne will be forced to sit for at least a few minutes. Terps by 3.

9:01-3rd personal on Dave Neal. McCauley to the line, he makes both and has 8. 45-42 Terps. Need someone besides Vasquez to do something here. Tucker tries, but can’t get it to go. Wolfpack with the board.

9:00-With the shot clock expiring; Costner drills a 3. Vasquez drives for 2 on the other end; he has 21. Terps lead 45-40. McCauley fouled inside.

8:59-Vasquez from the lane for 2 more. He has 19; Terps by 6 again. Finally some pace to this game. Sorry to wake you.

8:58-Gonzalez goes to the hoop; Dino Gregory called for the foul. Costner feeds McCauley inside for 2; cutting Maryland’s lead to 41-37. CJ Williams called for his 2nd next time down.

8:57-SOMETHING HAPPENED! Vasquez with the layup and he’s fouled. He makes the plus one attempt after CJ Williams’ first personal; and the Terps extend the lead to 41-35. 17 for Greivis. Dave Neal called for a foul away from the ball fighting with McCauley inside. 2nd on Dave Neal.

8:57-Horner walks. Why not.

8:56-That’s a stat. Terps 2/14 from the floor in the last 9:23 of this game. And yet they lead by 3. This is BRUTAL.

8:55-Matt-You’re not happy with the contributions from Bowie and Mosley?

8:53-McCauley with the airball next time down; then Milbourne misses a jumper and Tucker is called for the foul going for the rebound. This leads to an official timeout, the most exciting thing that has happened so far in the 2nd half. Terps by 3 with 14:43 to play.

8:52-McCauley inside with a basket; 38-35 Terps. If the Wolfpack keep going back inside; they’ll find more points.

8:50-Drew, if the game was at Hofstra I might feel differently; but on a neutral court I’ll take the Terps with the points.

This team CONTINUES to look lethargic on the road. And the ugliness of this one reminds me of the last “Sunday Night Hoops” game; that thriller at Georgia Tech.

8:49-Pack and Terps trade turnovers before a bad miss by Fells. Tucker gets a hoop; and Sidney Lowe calls timeout desperate to try to get something going as Maryland leads 38-33. This should be a 15 point game though; not a 5 point game.

8:47-Gonzalez turns the ball over again; and then fouls out of “frustration” as Brando says. The Terps have NOT done a good enough job of getting points of turnovers. Neal with an important offensive board off a Bowie miss; but Vasquez turns it over.

8:46-Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Mosley misses in close. Gonzalez can’t get a 3 to fall on the other end; and Mosley can’t hold on to the offensive rebound. He’ll depart for Tucker.

8:44-Starters back on the floor except for Costner; as Horner replaces him for the Pack. Vasquez with the missed runner to open the 2nd half as the shot clock expired; Tracy Smith misses inside on the other end. Horner hit with the foul; then Vasquez gets the first two of the second half. He has a game high 14; Terps by 3. Javier Gonzalez is hit with a foul; then Landon Milbourne called for his 3rd fighting for a rebound. Smith hit with the foul fighting for the rebound on the other side; that’s his 2nd.

HALFTIME STATS: Greivis Vasquez lead the Terps with 12 points (tied for game high) and game high 4 assists. Dave Neal and Eric Hayes with 8 each; Milbourne with 5. No Terp has more than 2 rebounds. The Terps shot 14-30 from the field (46.7%), 6-12 from beyond the arc (50%), and 0-1 from the free throw line (a sparkling 0%). They were out-rebounded 17-9 as a team.

Tracy Smith with 12 points to lead the Wolfpack; he and Brandon Costner each had 5 boards. 8 points for Courtney Fells, 6 for Javier Gonzalez. Gonzalez and Costner tied for team high with 3 assists. The Pack shot 14-24 (58.3%) from the field, 3-9 (33.3%) from outside, and 2-5 from the free throw line (40%).

8:37-Eric Hayes with 8 Drew. Apparently this team got confused and thought their names were Mark Price, JJ Redick, Tim Legler, and Glen Rice. Outside shooting is NOT a good option.

I’ve also counted 5 misses from within the circle; 2 of which were nowhere close.

Rich, I’ll trade with you. We’ll put your picture up, and I can continue living in anonymity.

8:27-Vasquez drives and can’t finish a tough leaner. Terps let NC State finish the half on a 8-0 run. Gary tells Jenn Hildreth “we stopped really running our offense hard”. Really? This team CANNOT settle for jump shots. 34-33 Terps at the half.

8:26-Courtney Fells with the tough outside jumper to get the Pack within 1. Vasquez fouled by Tracy Smith away from the ball with under 30 seconds to play. Terps will hold for the final shot.

8:24-Matt, this is what happens when your offense gets “happy” as Gary would call it. You start thinking you can just hit jump shots; and you forget that the progression of your offense is NOT settling for outside shots. The Wolfpack have methodically gotten back into things after Maryland went south from outside.

8:22-Mosley tries the outside jumper and misses. Next time down Braxton Dupree gets the ball inside and is called for the offensive foul. Did Jerome Burney do something wrong? How do you make such a contribution in a win over North Carolina and then have to watch Braxton Dupree get first half minutes just a week later after a DNP against Duke? Final official timeout of the half; 1:17 to play, Terps by 3.

8:20-Another wild layup tossed up by Bowie. He needs to go to the hoop; but he can’t just throw the ball in the air and hope. Smith with ANOTHER basket inside; 12 points for him. 34-31 Terps and Gary Williams calls timeout with three unanswered buckets now for the Pack.

8:19-Terps getting lazy in their offense and settling for too many jump shots. McCauley gets the mid-range jumper to cut the Terps’ lead to 5. 34-29.

8:17-The same Drew Forrester that declared the Duke game over THREE different times Wednesday night and in the Maryland category. He jinxes us again as Fells knocks down the 3. Neal answers with a 3 of his own; he has 8. Don’t care for a shooting contest though. Horner gets a bucket; 34-27 Terps.

8:15-Gonzalez with the big 3 for the Pack; cutting Maryland’s lead to 28-22. Vasquez tries another 3 (is anyone surprised?) and misses. Hayes also misses a 3; no offensive rebounds. Brando tells us that Vasquez stepped on Tracy Smith’s foot and is now walking gingerly. Neal passes on a look from 3; that’s not something you see everyday. Neal sets the pick and let’s Greivis hit another triple. 31-22. 12 for Vasquez. State turns it over again.

8:14-Vasquez drains the 3; Terps by 9. (Vasquez has 9). Bowie called for the foul as NC State brings the ball up; 6th team foul.

8:13-Farnold Degand has one of my favorite names in the ACC. Dennis Horner is kinda lame.

Costner hits one of two at the line; 25-19 Terps. Vasquez checks out for Cliff Tucker; but checks back in about as quickly.

8:11-Drew Forrester will be providing the comedy tonight ladies and gentlemen; make sure you tip him on the way out.

Drew-why don’t you come join the slumber party here at WNST tonight? It’s me and……..well, just me.

8:09-Costner fouled by Gregory as he drives the lane. We’ll hit the 3rd official timeout of the half; Terps by 7 with 7:34 to play.

8:07-Vasquez is greeted by 3 defenders inside; he kicks it to Dave Neal, who misses the 3 ball. Pack get the rebound; but Hayes hits the 3 next time down. 5 for Hayes. 25-18 Terps. Sidney Lowe takes another timeout. Terps are playing well here, but with this much sloppiness, they could have opened a bigger lead.

8:06-NCSU throws the ball away again; and Vasquez misses a 3 next time down for Maryland. Ben McCauley saves a ball inbounds off Vasquez, and isn’t happy with State’s sloppiness. Pack throw up a wild one; the airball will lead to a shot clock violation. Terps ball.

8:03-The Terps have driven; which is exactly how their offense is supposed to run. But they HAVE to learn to finish. Vasquez misses a 3, Terps one and done again. But the Pack throw it away again. Hayes finds a curling Vasquez for 2 this time. He has 6. Smith dunks it home again on the other end; and he’s fouled by Milbourne. That’s 2 on Landon; and Gary will have to find a better (or at least another) defensive option inside. Smith misses the freebie, he has 10. Hayes with his first hoop on the other end. 22-18 Terps. Dino Gregory gets the inside assignment.

8:01-Wolfpack throw it away, and we’ll hit the 2nd official timeout of the first half. 10:59 to play; 18-16 Terps.

7:59-Bad shot by Milbourne off the offensive rebound goes wildly. Then Bowie takes it coast to coast before throwing up his own terribly wild layup, which also misses badly. Sidney Lowe takes his first timeout. 18-16 Maryland still.

7:58-Neal misses the 3, then another bucket inside for Tracy Smith. 8 for Smith early. Neal makes his next 3 point attempt; but Costner goes to the rim for 2. 5 for Neal by the way. 18-16 Terps.

7:55-Gonzalez makes one of two at the free throw line; and Neal hits a baseline jumper on the other end to make things 13-8. Eric Hayes into the game. Tim Brando tells us that Dave Neal is getting grief on campus for his pick that flattened Nolan Smith Wednesday night; Dave Neal says he likes the Duke player he laid out. Hoop from Gonzalez, then Smith gets a big offensive board and dunk the next time down. Vasquez uses a good ball fake to get a leaner. 15-12 Terps.

7:53-That’s the 2nd personal on Mosley; the Terps can’t afford to get themselves in foul trouble, as that has obviously been an issue in both the North Carolina win and Duke loss.

Like the drives so far; only Milbourne attempting a shot from outside. Terps can’t let the Pack keep getting offensive rebounds however, despite their obvious size advantage.

7:51-Vasquez with the runner; and the Terps extend their lead to 11-7; he goes to the hoop off a steal but misses. On the other end, Gonzalez drives and is fouled by Mosley. We’ll hit the first official timeout with Maryland leading 11-7.

7:50-Good note from Gminski; as he points out that NC State students are on Spring Break, possibly allowing for Maryland to not have as much of a disadvantage inside the RBC Center. Third chance offensively for NCSU here; and Fells finds Tracy Smith for a monster dunk. 9-7 Terps.

7:49-Mosley finishes this time; and draws the foul. He misses the PLUS ONE attempt though; and it’s 9-5 early on.

7:47-Mosley with his first miss at the rim of the night. There will be more. Apparently he wasn’t inspired by St. Frances’ win over Loyola Blakefield in the Baltimore Catholic League title game today. Courtney Fells and Landon Milbourne trade outside buckets; Milbourne’s touching every part of the rim. 7-5 Terps. 5 for Milbourne early.

7:46-Steal from Mosley turns into a layup by Bowie. State answers, but Milbourne gets a bucket inside. 4-2 Terps early.

7:45-Gary Williams’ Terps stick with the Dave Neal-Landon Milbourne-Greivis Vasquez-Adrian Bowie-Sean Mosley lineup.

Sidney Lowe goes with Brandon Costner, Ben McCauley, Tracy Smith, Javier Gonzalez, Courtney Fells

7:43-Like I said; we had time. It’s 7:43 and no tip yet. And the broadcast has already revolved around a song I’ve never heard of.

7:36-Well, we’re getting to the game 6 minutes late; but if I remember right; the FSN broadcasts have late tips. The Georgia Tech game seemed to start some 20 minutes late; which was good, because I needed to hear more “Dance Like Michael Jackson” and video of Gani Lawal teaching Jenn Hildreth how to play inside.

Pre-game: Greetings from the studios of Sports Talk 1570 WNST in Towson, MD; where I have set up camp for the evening to wait out the imminent white death that is upon us. I decided to pass on a trip to Raleigh tonight for fear of the bad weather; but the Terps and Wolfpack are playing at the RBC Center. The Terps bring their 17-10 (6-7 ACC) record into tonight’s game coming off a loss to Duke Wednesday night. The Wolfpack are 15-11 (5-8), coming off a loss to Wake Forest Thursday night.

Tonight’s game can be seen on Fox Sports Net nationally; Comcast SportsNet in Baltimore (Channel 7 on Comcast Baltimore County). The great Tim Brando and former Duke Blue Devil Mike Gminski have the call; with Jenn Hildreth working the sidelines. If they’re late getting to the game because of a women’s UNC-Duke game; I might destroy all of the equipment in the WNST studios.

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The Teixeira conundrum and Angelos conspiracy theory

Posted on 16 December 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

Because this saga regarding Mark Teixeira and the Orioles and the Red Sox and the Nationals and the Angels has dragged on far too long it’s given me way too much time to think about it. And it’s really quite the mystery and little game from the media’s standpoint. And his uberagent Scott Boras just eats this up – when the media pits “offers” against each other with lots of zeroes. It’s gone so far that there were media people in the press box at the Ravens game with binoculars stalking down whether Tex was in the stadium and what sky box he might be in.

Yes, it’s gotten a little nutty and I have been entertained if not totally perplexed by the whole thing. There are still people in Baltimore (and many in the media who are being handsomely paid by Angelos via CBS Radio, MASN, The Sun, Orioles Hangout, Pressbox and others to be, ahem, “optimistic”) who honestly believe in their soul that the Orioles might actually be involved in a pennant race again sometime this century. For the record, as long as Angelos is alive and owns this team and continues to run it like he has for 15 years, I really don’t believe they’ll win. I believe it’s karma at this point. I would LOVE to be wrong, actually because this city is a morgue in the spring and summer compared to what the Ravens and hope bring us each Labor Day.

But as a fan and a Baltimorean what do you really want here?

There’s certainly a part of me that begs to have real baseball back in the Baltimore – the kind we see in October in the cities where it perpetually matters like New York, Boston, Chicago or in places like Philadephia or Detroit or even Denver where we’ve seen the game resurrected by a winning team. Or at least the mere chance to win.

Because I’m a little more removed and less emotionally involved in it on a daily basis (most of my energy to truly care has waned again), I honestly haven’t given a lot of thought to the Teixeira drama until the past week when all of a sudden it somehow miraculously seems like they have a shot to sign him. As recently as a month ago, general manager Andy McPhail was telling most people that it was extremely doubtful that the O’s would be involved in the Tex Sweepstakes at all. And that’s when most thought he’d get “about” $100 million.

Now, at the 13th hour and a week before Christmas it appears as though Angelos has gotten personally involved in the bidding war – same as he did in New York that day when he spent $173 million on the franchise that he has summarily destroyed on the field and in the community (but not in his pocketbook, thanks to Bud Selig getting a rectal examination and the threat of a whopper lawsuit on the Washington territorial rights issue).

It’s all become very clear to me. This mating call with Scott Boras has all of the fingerprints of Peter Angelos and his intense will to get Teixeira in a orange uniform on Opening Day. And it’s not much different than when Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti “strongly recommended” to Ozzie Newsome that Joe Flacco needed to be a Raven eight months ago. Turns out, Bisciotti has made several good calls in 2008.

It’s not like Ozzie to want to deal up in the draft and give up picks on draft day. And it’s not like Andy McPhail to want to pay a first baseman $150 million or more over seven years. It’s almost against everything in his baseball DNA. McPhail, who was told 18 months ago to slash the payroll and save (and or make) the team more money by promising the populace “young talent” and “working through the draft” and “obtaining lots of young arms” and “building through the farm” (all his words, not mine), clearly understands the team’s ongoing public relations nightmare and lack of passion within the fan base. There’s nothing about signing Mark Teixeira – short of the price tag — that is a bad play for the Orioles in a short term “win back the people of Baltimore” ploy. It’s a good ploy, mind you. It’s the best thing the franchise can possibly do to say: “We’re trying and we care as much as you do!” (Even though I think answering questions from real journalists would be a distant second place.)

They have millions of excess dollars that they’ve pocketed over the past few years via their obscene MASN deal. They finally have some useful, young talent on the field (Nick Markakis, Brian Roberts, Adam Jones, Luke Scott, Jeremy Guthrie and potentially Matt Wieters) to build around. And let’s be honest – when will the team EVER get a chance to sign a superstar player who grew up in Baltimore and actually remembers the greatness of the Orioles that we all are wondering if we will ever experience as a community again?

Angelos NEEDS to get Teixeira in an orange jersey before Christmas. At least HE feels he needs to and at no point does McPhail even appear to factor into the equation. And, honestly, Angelos is probably right.  He needs something to “make a splash” and it’s not signing more minor league free agents in March. Bringing in Teixeira shows that they’re serious about trying to win. And it’s been a little while since we could say that.

But that’s the just the Orioles side of the story. Hometown boy comes home, gets huge payday and…

Well, there’s a few ways this could go:

1. He’ll come here and the pitching will suck and the team will suck and the Yankees and Red Sox fans will continue to own Camden Yards 20 times per year. (This is the most likely short-term scenario with or without Teixeira.)

2. He’ll be part of a return to mediocrity and the team might squeak out an 81-win season in the first few years and maybe play a game in August that matters in the wild card race.

3. He’ll be the cornerstone of a baseball renaissance in Baltimore that will return the Orioles to perennial 90-win seasons, greatness and Camden Yards and downtown and the city of Baltimore will become electric in the summer of 2010 and the city will love the team like they love the Ravens.

* This is all assuming that he comes here and hits .300, mashes 35 homers per year and drives in 120 RBIs each season in any scenario. If they pay him $20 million a year this is a baseline expectation.

But that’s just a few possibilities from the Orioles’ perspective of what result they’re ultimately getting as an organization for buying a player who they’re paying TWICE as much as they’ve ever paid in the history of the organization for anyone. What’s Mark Teixeira really going to mean to the only two bottom lines that matter: winning and selling tickets? (Of course even THAT doesn’t matter too much when their Mickey Mouse television network is earning $100 million per year by just turning the lights on via the tax base civicly funding MASN.)

But what if you’re Mark Teixeira? What’s in it for him, besides getting richer?

As I wrote four days ago he’s getting wealthier (he’s already made $35 million playing baseball and he’s only 29) no matter where he goes and I believe it’s ultimately about happiness, the ability to win and perhaps somewhere the ego of “getting paid as much as you can” or being the “highest paid” this or that.

The four suitors – if there really are four suitors, with Boras who the hell knows what the truth is? – all have situations that I’m sure Teixeira and his bride and family could find palatable after he cashes his paycheck each week for $400,000 until he’s 37 years old.

The Red Sox, to me, are the first place he should start if winning and playing in a “real” baseball environment matter to him. He got his first taste of the postseason this year (and hit .467 no less) and that should be all he needs to know about the difference between playing out the string in the boiling heat of Arlington and being involved in something akin to fun and what he remembers about being an Orioles fan when he was 16. If you are a man of integrity involved in any competitive industry or athletic pursuit, there’s NOTHING ON EARTH better than winning. If you’re not serious about WINNING, then why the hell are you playing? (Oh, that’s right. The money…)

It sounds like his experience in Anaheim didn’t completely win his heart despite the fact that he was a “rented hat” for two months there. (And he “inherited” a pennant race in Southern California. He didn’t “earn” it, by and large.) If a full stadium, a winning tradition, a great manager, a great owner, Rally Monkeys, pretty girls in the stands and unlimited sunshine (think of those dreadful April and September games when it’s 45 degrees on the east coast) didn’t win him over this year then I don’t know what the heck he’d want in a Major League Baseball career. This is an outstanding place to make $150 million for any human being. You could make a case that it’s a BETTER option than Boston, if you’re wired a certain way.

The Nationals is a weird, twisted concept to me. If he wants to be “home” then that’s Baltimore. If Tex wants to win, there’s not much tradition or reason to believe that the Nats will become the UCLA of the N.L. East. Yeah, you get to live in Annapolis and play in a pretty ballpark with low expectations, but that’s a lot different than going to a winning franchise like the Angels or the Red Sox. And it still ain’t home.

And finally, the Orioles. Maybe Peter Angelos just will up the ante (like he used to in the “old” days of Chris Sabo and Albert Belle and Brady Anderson and well, you know the rest if you’re reading this…) and offer “the most money” if that’s his thing. And maybe Teixeira really can be convinced – and I don’t mean by money, I mean REALLY convinced in his soul — that the Orioles can be saved and he can be part of saving them by coming here and fulfilling his childhood destiny to be the “Cal Ripken” of this generation. (Even I can get emotional writing that because ANY of us could put ourselves in Teixeira’s shoes and squirm a little with this decision if we’re being truly honest.)

One thing is for sure – if he signs here it’s not because it was truly his best option. If Mark Teixeira really does sign up to play with this sham of a franchise (and it’s Siberia for any real free agent this side of Miguel Tejada over the last decade and anyone from Mike Mussina through Brian Roberts would have nothing good to say to recommend it as a “career” choice) then he is to be roundly applauded and supported because he’s CLEARLY doing it because of his heart WAAAAY more than his head or his wallet. If Teixeira is at The Warehouse wearing a “Baltimore” road gray sweater later this week at a press conference (one that I’ll no doubt be banned from asking any legitimate questions) it’s because he really DOES want to save this moribund franchise and pitch in to make Orioles baseball and the city of Baltimore fun again on summer nights.

And what could possibly be bad about that? And this is the ONLY way Peter Angelos can be given the “hero” treatment by the fans who’ve unwittingly lined his pockets via MASN through all of this mess while the city has rotted and decayed on summer nights downtown. And we all know Peter “The King” longs to be loved and short of winning a World Series, this is the best he’s gonna do in this lifetime. He CAN’T buy a World Series. But he CAN buy Mark Teixeira! I can just hear him crowing on MASN sitting on a couch with Roch Kubatko and Steve Melewski and in that goofy voice saying: “We… did what we needed to do… to restore the pride… to the Orioles!”

There’s only one hometown superstar of this generation. And Angelos has his sights on him. And he doesn’t like losing. (Witness his senseless feud with me and with WNST, people who truly LOVE the Orioles! It’s all about him “winning” — whatever that means? What good is it doing them to continue to be complete jerks in dealing with any legitimate media member who has questions about what is a publicly-funded, civic trust for profit that has gone awry? NO ONE wants the Orioles to be great more than WNST. Anyone who knows me knows that I believe that.)

So where does Angelos’ personal kryptonite, Scott Boras, fit into this equation? That’s really hard to say given his propensity to pit egotistical and wealthy baseball owners against each other in bidding wars that are silly farces when most are reviewed years later. Where is Tom Hicks now? (He gave up on ARod and Texeira, which is the Boras Daily Double!) Does Boras really have a say here with Tex or a dog in the hunt, other than his commission on the transaction? Only time will tell…

Here are a few random observations on Teixeira:

1.    I’ve never met Teixeira but I’ve never heard anything glowing about his marketability or personality. As a matter of fact, he routinely eschewed any “hometown” press coverage on his first visits back to Camden Yards as a big leaguer. It’s not like he’s got a foundation here or a civic cause here or has ever even “appeared” here doing any worthwhile community endeavor that I know about. (Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong here…but no one has ever called or written me with a story, picture, essay or ANYTHING involving Teixeira publicly or charitably in Baltimore.) If he walked through White Marsh Mall today for lunch I honestly don’t think anyone would recognize him. My point isn’t that he’s a “bad” guy. I don’t know a thing about him beyond what I’ve written about. But I do know he’s NOT Cal Ripken. No matter how much you pay him!

2.    He’s been traded TWICE so it’s not like any other franchise has found him  “irreplaceable.” Actually, it’s more like the opposite. I’m always skeptical when a team takes a player who has had Teixeira’s statistical prowess and decides, “Yeah, he’s OK but we’d rather have these OTHER player(s) instead in a trade.” That’s always a major red flag. The dude has raked at the plate. He’s a legitimate force offensively in the big leagues. And if he signs here, he’s on Team No. 4 and is only 29 years old and six years into his career. That really doesn’t sound like a “guy you build your franchise around” or break the bank for to me.

3.    Are the Orioles doing this to win or to sell tickets and get some mileage out of the marketability of a “Baltimore kid” in a “Baltimore uniform?” I’m really unsure of what Angelos’ intent is here. Sure, he’s a nice player and a good hitter but $20 million a year is a little obscene given the position he plays and the fact that I’m not sure there’s going to be a rush on season tickets because he’s an Oriole. That might be the case, but I’m skeptical that he’ll move the needle on ticket sales in any more than in a negligible way. Maybe the “we’re trying!” part of it will sell more goodwill than the actual numbers or W-L record Teixeira produces in the short term. As a matter of fact, I’m 100% sure Opening Day would be a “big deal” again this year (re: sellout) if they sign Teixeira on Thursday for $156 million. But is THAT worth $156 million?

4.    Bottom line: Couldn’t the Orioles spend that $20 million per year on pitching and truly have a better chance to win over the next 36 months? (I ask this rhetorically…I have no answer for this.)

Either way, Baltimore has a MUCH better chance to win if Teixeira comes than by having another Kevin Millar or Randy Milligan or David Segui or B.J. Surhoff playing first base. It’s certainly a major upgrade in that department. And it’s not my money. (Or maybe it IS our money with what these crooks are stealing via our Comcast bill every month and not utilizing on behalf of making the baseball team and the city better?)

It’s getting more and more interesting every day that this drags out. And it’ll be interesting to see the civic reaction and the Orioles’ reaction if he eschews his hometown team and leaves King Peter at the alter by signing with the Red Sox or the Nationals. Would that be unlike Scott Boras, pulling down the Emperor’s trousers with the ONE guy he HAD to get? And, no less, delivering him to Larry Lucchino up in Boston? Wouldn’t that be Boras’ “tea pah-tay.” (For a brief laugh, just click...)

We’re hearing that Angelos and the Orioles really think they’re going to get Teixeira. And that will make it all the more painful if they don’t get him. There’s a lot to digest here and a lot of risk. The Orioles just don’t offer $150 million to ANYONE. EVER! So, if this is legit, it’s a major foundational, tectonic shift.

The coolest part is that this is a major “Y” in the road for the franchise. One way or the other, Mark Teixeira is going to greatly affect Baltimore and its baseball future for years to come over the next week.

The Orioles always have the “fall back” position of painting Teixeira as a modern day Benedict Arnold if he “elects” to not sign in Baltimore after the Orioles made a “fair and reasonable market offer.” I can hear and see the somber McPhail at the podium now saying, “We did our best…We made him a generous offer and he elected to go to (City X).” Blah, blah, blah…

Keep the popcorn warm. This is getting good!

The Orioles have lit a spark just by “being involved.” (Hey, we’re TALKING and WRITING and THINKING about them during a week when the purple guys with helmets are playing for their playoff lives…)

But who’s zooming who and who is serious? And where will Teixeira sign? And for how much? And what wild stories are going to unearth afterward when the “truth” is told. One bride. Three bridesmaids.

I think King Peter wants the white dress.

But who the heck knows?

Pass the butter…

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If Tex wants to be here…why isn’t he?

Posted on 15 November 2008 by Drew Forrester

So when does a childhood dream become more like a lead-weighted negotiating tool?

When you’re Mark Teixeira and you’re a free agent for the first time in your career.

I doubt any of you need background on “Tex”, but here’s the one sentence review:

Teixeira – from Severna Park – is one of the hot off-season commodities in major league baseball right now as the free-agent-signing-period is officially underway.

For the last couple of years, dating all the way back to the middle portion of the 2007 season when Teixeira was shipped from Texas to Atlanta, there have been rumors floating around that the power hitting first baseman wanted to “come home” and fulfill a lifelong dream of playing in front of his family and friends at Oriole Park.

Even when he was in Atlanta – and upon being dealt to the L.A. Angels this past summer – Teixeira always figured out an interesting way to keep Baltimore’s name hot on the boiler plate.  His agent, Scott Boras, knows a trump card when he sees one — and he’s always been quick to throw the “B word” around anytime his client’s future is discussed.

Free agency began at 12:01 am this past Friday. 

It’s now 8:10 pm on Saturday. 

Teixeira’s lifelong dream to play in Baltimore must not be all that important or else he’d be here by now.

Right?

I mean, those who know him say that Tex has always talked about playing in Baltimore with the Orioles.  

Well?  What’s the hold up?

Are the Orioles going to make him an offer?  Have they already?  Are they interested at a small level, medium level or big level?  We don’t know the answer to any of those questions, but we can only *assume* that the O’s interest – on a scale of 1-to-10, is a 10.  

Tex has made roughly $35 million in his major league career so far.  

His asking price, generally, is expected to be somewhere in the $20 million per-year range (with a 6-year minimum) during this signing bonanza.

So, I’ll ask again.  

Why hasn’t he signed in Baltimore already?

Is he “fielding offers”??

Have the O’s jumped in or are they waiting for the market to settle (one of their favorite strategies…)?

I guess I have a hard time figuring out why a guy who has made $35 million in his brief career is waiting around to see if he’s going to make $110 million, $120 million or $130 million over the next half-dozen or so years.

When you sign for $120 million, does it REALLY matter that you might have passed on $125 million?  Or even $130 million?

Now, I’ll be the first to admit this might not be all of Teixeira’s doing.  There’s a reasonable chance that the Orioles have screwed up in this endeavor as well.

Still taking medication as part of their treatment from contracting Albert-Belle’itis, the O’s are always afraid to actually pay a guy what he might be worth (or more).  Who can ever forget the quote thrown out there by Owner Peter Angelos three years ago when he said – in reference to pitcher Roy Oswalt – “I mean, here you have a guy who only plays once every 5 days and he’s commanding a salary of $14 million a year?”

Those pitchers…such thieves, huh?

So, it’s very possible that Scott Boras’ first call on Friday morning was to the 410 area code and when he tossed out the number that would bring Tex home – “Andy, write us a check for $125 million 6 years and we’ll fly to Baltimore today and get the thing done” – the O’s could have keeled over from sticker shock.  

They HAVE the money, of course.  They’ve been running their own TV network for three years now and despite contentions from the folks at MASN that they’re NOT making gobs of money, industry sources completely refute that notion.  A person familiar with MASN’s cable provider revenue stream says they’re generating nearly $150 million annually: 6 million COMCAST homes at an average of roughly $2.00 per-home, per-month, plus another $4-6 million in fees from independent cable providers and advertising sales.

An industry source cited MASN’s yearly expenses at roughly $30 million, based on the broadcast of 300 live games between the O’s and Nats, plus their coverage of local college basketball and various Ravens programming expenses.  That figure does not include any start-up costs or repayment of loans from the network’s first year (2006) when they likely borrowed money to put the network on the air.

The O’s and Washington Nationals both recently received a rights fee check for $26 million for the 2008 season.  

Of course, lost in all of this is that the Orioles OWN MASN, although the Nationals franchise is now a 15% owner of the network and will eventually complete their ownership stake by owning 33% of the network in the future.

What’s this all mean?

It just means money shouldn’t be the object when it comes to Mark Teixeira.  They started the MASN TV network specifically so they COULD overpay for someone if necessary.  They know full good and well that penny pinching isn’t going to get a player to sign in Baltimore instead of New York or Boston.  And, while they won’t admit how much money they’re making (it’s hard to talk about money when you’re busy printing it…), we can all rest well tonight knowing that every one of us watching cable TV at home this weekend is helping to pay the salaries of each and every member of the O’s organization.  We ARE stock holders.

They have lots and lots of money to spend on players and any statement to the contrary is just not true.

If Boras called the O’s and said, “he’s all yours…he wants to come home…give him the $125 million deal and you have a rock star first baseman for the next 6 years”, then the O’s should pony up the money and bring the kid home.  If they really want him, that is. (By the way, for the record, if I ran the O’s I’d pass on Teixeira and use the $20-$25 million per-year to sign a starting pitcher or two and a shortstop…FYI).

Generally, though, they don’t do business like that.  They fart around for a week or two, nitpick over one extra year (see: Derrek Lee negotiations a few years back), try to play the role of the heavy-hand, and then wind up watching the press conference on TV when the guy they wanted signs in New York, Boston, Atlanta or Los Angeles.

But I’ll go back to my original point.

If Teixeira wants to come home and fulfill a lifelong dream, why isn’t he here already?

And don’t tell me it’s all part of the negotiating process — $22 million a year in Baltimore for six years just isn’t that much different than $25 million a year from New York for seven years.  Is it?  I mean, what’s he going to do with that extra $25 million…buy another house or four more cars or join three more country clubs or take two more trips to Italy?  

When this all shakes out, unless Tex signs in Baltimore, someone is going to be exposed as a fraud.  

Is the native son just using the home team for leverage while he gets fitted for pinstripes or picks out a home in a ritzy neighborhood in Anaheim?

Or is the home team trying to get the local kid for a discount price…and at the same time doing the fans a disservice by not spending the money they promised to spend a few years back when they started their own TV network?

Neither scenario would surprise me at all.

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Caps Rally Late to Beat Carolina

Posted on 07 November 2008 by Ed Frankovic

For 57 minutes on Thursday night the Caps had one quality scoring chance after another yet had only one goal to show for it because either Carolina goalie Cam Ward made the save, the Caps shot hit the post or missed the net, or Washington squandered the opportunity by over passing from prime shooting position. Given the offensive futility it looked like the home team would lose yet another 2-1 game, however, Alexander Semin netted two goals on nifty passes from Alexander Ovechkin to give the Caps a thrilling 3-2 victory over Carolina in front of 17,874 at the Verizon Center Thursday night (including 57 people on the WNST Puck Bus). The winning goal came with just 10 seconds left in the contest so instead of being as many as six points back of the Canes the Caps now only trail Carolina by two points and have a game in hand on them in the Southeast Division. Washington is now 6-4-2 on the season.

Brent Johnson once again was superb for Washington in net, stopping 32 of 34 shots on the night. Washington also killed a two man disadvantage (63 seconds) for the second straight game thanks to some superb play by their defense (Jeff Schultz had a very good shift) and great goaltending by Johnson. This critical penalty kill came at the start of the third period with the Caps trailing 2-1.

As I predicted in my blog on Wednesday night this was a game that featured lots of scoring chances on both sides and the Caps were able to play more of their style of hockey. However, they continued to struggle to finish plays until the very end of the game. Nicklas Backstrom had his best game of the season, according to Coach Bruce Boudreau, and, because of an in game injury to Sergei Fedorov, he centered a line with Ovechkin and Semin in the third period. Fedorov had the first Washington goal and he, the Great #8, and Semin were dominant most of the evening. There is no definitive word on Fedorov’s injury yet but he only played two minutes in the third period and left the bench for the locker room with 6:33 to go in the contest. Backstrom’s much improved play is a very encouraging development.

Also joining the injury front on Thursday night was defensemen Shaone Morrisonn who reportedly injured a groin and did not play after the first period. According to Lisa Hillary of Comcast Sports Net both the Fedorov and Morrisonn injuries are day-to-day based on her discussion with Caps GM George McPhee. With the Caps playing the New York Rangers at the Verizon Center on Saturday night you can expect Washington to call up a defensemen and Tyler Sloan seems the likely choice since he was brought up the last time the injury bug hit.

Notes: Brooks Laich, who was injured in the second period blocking a shot yet still managed to make a great play to get the puck out of the zone despite being in severe pain, returned after a brief stint on the bench and still played 18:25 on the evening. The Caps Donald Brashear scored a decision over Wade Brookbank in a first period fight. Oveckhin had three assists on the evening and looks ready to break out of his goal scoring drought. Boudreau did say after the game that when Ovechkin and Semin took a two minute plus shift in the second period that he thought he might not be able to play those guys together anymore.

Boudreau said after the game that he continues to get on his offensive players to shoot the puck and go for rebounds and not focus on beautiful passing plays saying those things “only occur two times a year.” Captain Chris Clark struggled again and played just 8:57 of ice time including only one shift in the third period. Viktor Kozlov was demoted to the fourth line tonight.

FRIDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE:

Tyler Sloan is injured and listed as day-to-day in Hershey so if a defensemen is to be called up by the Caps it will likely not be Sloan. Also, Sergei Fedorov was not listed on the injury report provided to the media this morning so if he is indeed healthy he will likely slide back to defense tomorrow night in place of Shaone Morrisonn thus negating any need to call up a defensemen from Hershey. Fedorov played very well at forward on Thursday night so Boudreau may prefer to call up a defensemen. Karl Alzner still costs too much against the cap to bring up from what I’ve been able to determine.

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