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Hokies coach Seth Greenberg and Terps coach Gary Williams dissect Thursday matchup at Comcast Center, ACC struggles

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Hokies coach Seth Greenberg and Terps coach Gary Williams dissect Thursday matchup at Comcast Center, ACC struggles

Posted on 20 January 2011 by Ryan Chell

Tonight’s game between the Virginia Tech Hokies and the Maryland Terrapins at the Comcast Center features two teams in very similar situations.

Both have struggled at times to start the season, but ultimately both teams can’t say that they haven’t put together a stack of opponents ready to either increase their tournament resume or say that they aren’t a play or two away from making a run.

Four of Maryland’s six losses this year have come to ranked teams( Villanova, Duke, Illinois, Pittsburgh) with all of the games on the road or on neutral sites.

The Hokies meanwhile have lost three games by a total of nine points.

Seth Greenberg

Hokies basketball coach Seth Greenberg and Maryland Terps coach Gary Williams joined Thyrl Nelson of “The Mobtown Sports Beat” this week to not only shoot down the rumors that the ACC-at time of circulation has only one team-Duke-in the AP Top 25-is having a down year in basketball, but to also size their respective opponent up in Thursday’s game at the Comcast Center.

“It’s easy to take shots at the ACC because the ACC has been on top for so long,”  Greenberg told Thyrl Nelson. “We’ve got good basketball teams in our league, and it has teams capable of winning night in and night out. I’m not buying what everyone else is selling.”

Williams agreed.

Gary Williams

“The way you build up your tournament resume is you play a bunch of good teams and win, and that’s what’s got to happen here and everywhere else. I get tired of hearing about the Big 12 for instance-they’re talking about Colorado and Nebraska being really good this year.”

“Well, put them in the ACC and see how they do,” Williams said. “Everybody gets happy on certain leagues, and the ACC out there has won five national championships in the last ten years. There’s no league out there-the Big East isn’t even close to that-the ACC has won more NCAA tournament games the last twenty years than any other conference.”

And Thursday will pit Maryland(11-6, 1-2 ACC) versus the Virginia Tech Hokies(11-5, 2-2 ACC) to see how they stack up.

Both teams are in the middle of the pack when it comes to the ACC standings, and both teams feel like they are in desperate need of a win to avoid falling into the cellar of the division here in mid January.

And Greenberg knows that desire to win on the part of Gary Williams is going to be in full force tonight down at College Park. And he is not ready to write off either his team or Maryland just yet.

“You look at the Maryland team, they’ve lost some very close games to some real elite teams, and again it’s a make or miss game,” Greenberg said. “There’s a very small margin between winning and losing.”

Coach Williams said it’s all about fixing one or two issues to get his team-in spite of its youth-playing almost perfect basketball.

“We’ve played four teams ranked in the Top 20, but haven’t beat them. Until you beat them, they’re better than you. Against Duke-then the #1 team in the country last Sunday-we went down there at Cameron where they havent lost in forever and had a chance to get them. We didnt get them. I don’t know if anyone will get them in Cameron this year.”

“I like the way our guys competed and then we had to get back down there to play Wake Forest on Wednesday, and we did okay there and got the win. And then with Villanova in Philly-the seventh ranked team in the country-they were a very experienced team and you get up by 12 in the second half, you would like to win that thing. We missed some shots and some free-throws, and didn’t get the win. It really hurts to not get those wins, but we’re tough. We know we can play with those teams we’ve faced. We’ve proven that.  Now what we have to prove is we can beat those teams.”

Virginia Tech could be that team that might be the bearer of Williams’ effort to turn things around and get things back on a good note the same way the Terps rebounded after the loss to Duke by punishing Wake, 74-55.

“I know how we felt after the game in terms of getting beat up a little bit,  …It’s very difficult to come out and play the next game, and that’s why I was proud of the team,” Williams noted. ” We went down to Wake Forest and got them on their home court because we were both physically and mentally hurting going into that  game. I’m really proud of this team, and hopefully people understand what we’re doing here and we’re looking forward to getting started this week.

Greenberg is hoping Williams doesn’t take out his frustrations from Saturday’s disappointing collapse against #7 Villanova against his Hokies squad.

Gary’s best wins come when his back is against the wall, let’s face it,” Greenberg added.  “I think he lives in a cause. We’ve lost three games by a total of nine points…When you play a home game in league, you’ve really got to defend your home court. Maryland is as efficient an offensive team as we’ve played against all year.”

Greenberg likes what he sees out of Maryland’s youth, of course led by Wooden Award finalist Jordan Williams.

“They pass and catch, they cut extremely hard, and obviously Jordan is playing at an extremely high level. The development of Gregory, the development of Bowie, with Tucker-the way he’s carrying himself-he’s kind of their X-factor the way he’s playing. And with the two freshman point guards-with them being surrounded by the veteran players, they are playing with such confidence. We expect Maryland to play at a very high level like they have all year,” Greenberg said.

Williams had just as much respect for what the Hokies throw out on the court, most notably led by two former Maryland-area prep stars in Jeff Allen and Malcolm Delaney(18.6ppg, 4.3apg, .433% 3-pt range)-also a finalist for ACC Player of the Year in 2009.

Malcolm Delaney

Malcolm Delaney’s a great player,” Gary Williams said. “One of the things he has is a great release on his shot and he can shoot way behind the three-point line. He’s very comfortable with the NBA line. He’s a guy that looked at the draft last year, and decided to come back just like Greivis Vasquez did.

“But he’s not the only guy they have-a guy like Jeff Allen is a proven player-a very quick 6’8”, 6’9” strong guy who shoots it good. He is a very tough guy inside for them. They don’t play a lot of guys, but they’re well balanced and a very good basketball team.”

Greenberg had to agree with Williams.

“Malcolm’s had just a tremendous career, and he’s been the face of our program,” Greenberg said. “He’s as complete a guard as there is in the country. He can make shots, he plays hard, he’s a model student athlete. He’s helped maintain a winning culture here.”

“He’s been a huge part of this program, and we hope he comes in and relaxes and enjoys the experience tonight and makes some buckets.”

Like every game in and out of the the ACC this year that the Terps and the Hokies expect this one to be just like the double-overtime thriller last year on February 26th in Blacksburg-a game in which Greivis Vasquez finished with 41 points.

“It’s unfortunate we’re going to beat each other up, but you just try and get on a run. It’s very hard to win any game on the road, and it’s hard to string a whole bunch of wins together because there is such a fine line between winning and losing. I’m not worried about people’s perception. I’m only worried about the friendly confines of the Comcast Center right now.”

WNST has you covered tonight at the Comcast Center! Luke Jones has you covered in the Turtle Power chat starting at 9! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Terps beat Colgate in 95-40 laugher as sobering challenge awaits in Durham

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Terps beat Colgate in 95-40 laugher as sobering challenge awaits in Durham

Posted on 05 January 2011 by Luke Jones

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The game wasn’t over at tip-off, but it was pretty darn close.

After freshman Pat Moore’s opening bucket gave Colgate a 2-0 lead, Maryland’s 22-0 run led to a dominating 95-40 win at Comcast Center on Tuesday night. With the easy victory, the Terps closed out a month-long homestand with a three-game winning streak, albeit against less-than-stellar competition.

Forward Jordan Williams earned his eight straight double-double and 12th of the season, continuing his early-season dominance with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Senior Adrian Bowie led all scorers with 16 points, continuing his strong play since being shifted to the off-guard position late last month.

Earning his first career start at point guard, Terrell Stoglin added 12 points and four assists as coach Gary Williams continues to search for the right answer in the backcourt. Fellow freshman Pe’Shon Howard had started at the point the last two games following the loss to Boston College last month.

“I think [Stoglin] did a great job,” said Dino Gregory, one of five Terps scoring in double figures with 12 points. “He brought a lot of energy to the game. He brought a lot of defensive energy, a lot of offensive energy. For the first time — a freshman starting like that — I think he did a very good job.”

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A runaway win against the 1-12 Raiders — alley oops and all — won’t teach us much of anything about the unsettled backcourt with a sobering task awaiting Maryland on Sunday:

Cameron Indoor Stadium and No. 1 Duke.

If a road trip to take on the top-ranked team in the country isn’t intimidating enough, remember the Terps have lost by a combined 62 points in their last two trips to Durham, N.C.

And that was with Greivis Vasquez and Eric Hayes in the backcourt.

Yes, the unproven Terps will need to play a near-perfect basketball game on Sunday to have a chance against undefeated Duke, the only ACC team currently ranked in the top 25. Despite playing competitively with ranked teams such as Pittsburgh and Illinois, Maryland has been undone by poor free-throw shooting, occasional lapses in perimeter defense, and inconsistent play in the backcourt at critical times this season.

It’s a scary formula that could lead to the Terps being on the opposite end of what fans witnessed against overwhelmed Colgate.

Well, maybe not that bad, but you get the point.

However unlikely a win might be, the competitiveness in Maryland’s four losses –  by a combined 20 points — is exactly what Gary Williams is looking for against his biggest rival.

“In terms of how we want to play, I don’t think you can back off,” Williams said. “You’re going to have to bring your game, and if it’s good enough, fine. If it’s not, at least you went down playing the way you [want to] play, so I’ve always believed in that. And hopefully we’ll prove that on the floor.”

If Maryland is to have a chance against Duke — whose last loss came in College Park on March 3, 2010 — the freshmen tandem of Stoglin and Howard will need to play beyond their years in arguably the most hostile environment in college basketball. Both have shown flashes — Howard’s game-winning shot against Charleston and Stoglin’s showy passing and scoring — but have been just as frustrating to watch at other times, looking like the inexperienced players that they are.

A freshman point guard going into Cameron has won before, but it takes a special performance that might be too much to ask of Stoglin or Howard. Just four years ago, it was a freshman Vasquez who narrowly missed a triple-double with 13 points, 12 assists, and nine rebounds in an 85-77 upset on Feb. 28, 2007.

However, the three subsequent years produced no more Cameron victories for one of the greatest players in school history, proving just how difficult it is to beat Mike Krzyzewski and the Devils on their home floor.

“It’s going to be a war,” said senior Adrian Bowie, who will have his final opportunity for a win in Durham. “Cameron Indoor Stadium is not for the weak. It’s going to be a war, and everybody needs to be ready to play.”

A war, indeed. One this Maryland team will have a tough time surviving.

NOTES: The 55-point win was Maryland’s largest margin of victory this season as 11 of the 12 Terps who played managed to score in the game. … Williams’ eighth straight double-double moved him past Joe Smith’s streak of seven set in 1995. He is only four away from tying Len Elmore’s school record of 12 straight in the 1973-74 season. The sophomore also had three blocks. … Over the last eight games, Bowie has 35 assists and only 11 turnovers. … The Terps matched a season high with nine 3-pointers made. … Colgate made its first shot of the game before missing the next 15. … Maryland had six runs of at least 6-0 in the game. … Maryland’s bench scored 37 points, only four shy of the Raiders’ 40 total for the game.

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Terps flatten NJIT as Howard steps into starting role

Posted on 23 December 2010 by Luke Jones

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Rarely has the focus of Maryland athletics been solely on football so late in December during Gary Williams’ 22-year tenure in College Park, but the drastic changes of the last week would overshadow any top basketball program.

The lack of buzz is also due in part to the utter mystery surrounding Gary Williams’ young team as it plays out a string of three nondescript games before traveling to Durham to face Duke on January 9. The Terps have competed well with top-25 teams, but they haven’t beaten any either. Through the season’s first dozen games, Williams continues to search for the right combination in the backcourt to complement the dominating inside presence of sophomore Jordan Williams.

Returning to the hardwood Wednesday night after a nine-day layoff, the Terps cruised to a 89-50 victory over lowly NJIT that highlighted the shortcomings of the Highlanders more than any real potential of this Maryland team. In the final 3:54 of the first half, Maryland used a 20-1 run to turn a comfortable 16-point lead into a comical 53-18 halftime deficit.

However, the significant story to come from the blowout victory was a new lineup sent out by Gary Williams after weeks of speculation that change was coming to the backcourt. Freshman Pe’Shon Howard replaced Cliff Tucker in the starting lineup and ran the point as Adrian Bowie slid to the two-guard position against the Highlanders. Williams had used the same starting lineup in the team’s first 11 games, deferring to his senior backcourt with Howard and fellow freshman Terrell Stoglin coming off the bench.

In his starting debut, Howard finished with four points and four assists, at times looking hesitant running the halfcourt offense but earning praise from Williams and his teammates. Bowie scored 13 points, including three 3-pointers in an impressive shooting night by the senior.

“Everything depends on practice this year, and that is why Pe’Shon was out there tonight,” Williams said. “A lot of it is how we play different people on the court. He came in [in previous games] and Adrian was playing well at the off-guard, so it made sense to put [Howard] into the game.”

In contrast, Tucker responded well to the demotion, posting nine points, five assists, and four steals in only 12 first-half minutes. The senior looked comfortable in a similar role to the one he held for his three previous seasons as a collegian.

“You never know how subbing a player is going to affect them,” Williams said. “You may lose a player, or you may motivate them. I really thought bringing Cliff off the bench would help him.”

Whether the move results in a stabilization of the backcourt or is simply another blip on an already-inconsistent radar, a change hardly comes as a surprise. The Maryland coach has never hesitated to start freshmen guards, with Eric Hayes and Grevis Vasquez the most recent examples. It was only a matter of time before Howard or Stoglin broke into the starting lineup; the better question is whether both freshmen will be there at some point this season.

Despite last year’s ACC regular season co-championship feeling like a distant memory and the early-season struggles of this season, the Terps find themselves in nearly an identical position to where they were at this point a year ago. The 2009-10 team’s only notable non-conference win came against Indiana, a team not much better than the dreadful Penn State team the Terps defeated a few weeks ago.

The ACC looks like a one-horse race with Duke blowing all competition out of the water, but how the rest of the conference standings will look is anyone’s guess as we approach January. Maryland could easily find itself fighting for one of the top four or five spots or languishing in mediocrity.

We know how dominant Jordan Williams can be — the sophomore posted his sixth straight double-double — but the fate of the Terps’ NCAA tournament hopes rests with their backcourt.

“A large part of the point guard’s deal is to get us to play well offensively, whether that is making the shot or the pass,” Williams said. “It is a tough position, and that is why a lot of coaches were point guards because you have to be so intelligent.”

Perhaps the Terps took a step forward with Howard sliding into the spot, but if not, Williams will continue rearranging the puzzle pieces.

“It was good to see if [Howard] could take that role, and I think as a freshman it’s kind of tough,” said junior Sean Mosley, who started 16 games as a freshman forward two years ago. “I think he came out and did a great job. And no matter if Cliff is starting or Pe’Shon, we’re a team, and that’s the thing coach is trying to see. He’s trying to see what’s the best five out there for him. He’ll probably switch it up next game.”

It’s an answer Gary Williams needs to find sooner rather than later.

NOTES: Maryland’s 39-point win was its largest margin of victory this season. The Terps’ 58.1 percent shooting from the field was also a season-best clip. … Dino Gregory has scored 14 points in back-to-back games, matching his career high. The senior also grabbed nine rebounds, narrowly missing a double-double. … The Terps set a season high with nine 3-pointers. … Six Maryland players scored in double figures, the first time since the Illinois game earlier this season. … The Terps will now have a week off for the holidays before hosting North Florida on December 29.

***Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from Gary Williams, Adrian Bowie, Jordan Williams, and Sean Mosley about the Terps’ easy victory over NJIT.***

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Maryland collapses late in 79-75 loss to Boston College

Posted on 12 December 2010 by Luke Jones

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The scowl on the face of Gary Williams said it all as the Maryland coach walked off the Comcast Center floor moments after the final buzzer.

In his mind, this was one that got away from the Terps.

The Terps and Boston College went toe-to-toe for 38 minutes in an ACC opener that had the intensity of a late-February battle. Leading 75-72 with 2:44 to play, Maryland would not score again, missing free throws and taking ill-advised shots in a 79-75 loss to the Eagles.

It was just the latest example of a close game in which the Terps couldn’t do enough to secure a victory against a quality opponent, dropping them to 7-4 and 0-1 in ACC play. The loss spoiled another sensational performance by sophomore Jordan Williams who scored 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, earning his ninth double-double of the season.

“We missed a couple free throws, took a couple bad shots, and were not patient on offense,” Jordan Williams said. “We went away from what we wanted to do on offense when they took a three-point lead, and we didn’t execute well.”

In the final 2:12 of the game, the Terps missed all three of their free-throw attempts, continuing a season-long issue at the charity stripe. The two missed by Cliff Tucker (an 80-percent shooter from the line) jump-started the Boston College comeback.

Freshman Terrell Stoglin, despite playing brilliantly at times and scoring 14 points, came unglued in his decision making. After missing the front end of a 1-and-1 with 1:03 left and the game tied 75-75, the point guard followed that up two possessions later by taking — and missing — a quick 3-pointer with 20 seconds left and the Terps trailing 78-75.

It was a move reminiscent of another point guard who never shied away from taking a big shot, even if it wasn’t the ideal look.

“Terrell tries to win just like when Greivis [Vasquez] was a freshman,” Gary Williams said. “Things happen, but he’s trying to win the game. You have to give him credit for that. As he plays, he’ll understand those situations a little better, but I like guys on my team that want to win, and Terrell’s one of those people.”

Stoglin’s performance was a microcosm of what has plagued Maryland all season in close games against tougher competition. As the freshman did Sunday night, the Terps have played brilliantly at times this season but have often shot themselves in the foot at critical moments.

For a team lacking a dynamic scorer like Vasquez, the margin for error is too small to give away points at the free-throw line and make mistakes in the execution of the half-court offense. On Sunday, Boston College’s execution down the stretch was precise while the Terps wilted.

The Eagles hit an impressive 13-of-29 3-point shots, often using four guards to give the Terps match-up problems on the perimeter. Biko Paris made six from beyond the arc and scored 22 points to lead Boston College to a win in its first ACC game under new coach Steve Donahue.

“This is the ACC and everyone can play,” said forward Dino Gregory, who matched a career high with 14 points and had three blocks. “We have to make adjustments on our defense. There is really no excuse for the mismatches.”

In contrast, the Terps went 3-for-17 from the 3-point line and made only 8 of 14 free throws, major flaws in a game that featured 11 ties and 16 lead changes.

Maryland will now have 10 days to stew over this one, as the players take final exams before hosting NJIT on Dec. 22. The Terps won’t resume their conference schedule, however, until Jan. 9 when they have the daunting task of traveling to Durham to take on No. 1 Duke.

After falling in non-conference games against Pitt, Illinois, and Temple, the Terps can add Boston College to a list of winnable games in which they’ve come up short. Maryland’s four losses have been by a combined 20 points, a small number but unforgiving nonetheless.

Of course, plenty of time remains between now and March, but failing to earn precious victories against quality opponents in November and December often catches up with a team looking to play in the NCAA tournament. Maryland only has one remaining non-conference game of any substance, a challenging trip to Philadephia to face Villanova on Jan. 15.

Luckily for the Terps, the ACC appears wide open once you look past the top-ranked Blue Devils. A strong conference record will be needed to boost an unimpressive slate of non-conference wins to this point.

If the Terps find themselves fighting for their tournament lives in early March, they’ll look back at their mid-December conference opener as another game that was there for the taking.

“You have to be able to handle this [loss], and we’ve got time now obviously before we play another conference game,” the Maryland coach said. “Every game we play between now and then will be very important to us to win.

“How we go after practice each day is going to be really big. That’s going to be very important for us to get better, because we don’t have to get a lot better. We have to get better, but we don’t have to get a lot better.”

The margin between victory and defeat has been minuscule for the Terps, but you’re only as good as your record says.

And with four losses already in the middle of December, it’s clear Maryland has plenty of work to do.

NOTES: After going undefeated in conference home games last season, the Terps dropped their ACC opener and are now 6-7 all-time against Boston College. Maryland had also won 27 straight games when leading at halftime. … The Terps entered the game second in the ACC in field-goal percentage defense (.372) and 3-point percentage defense (.288) but allowed the Eagles to shoot 48.3 percent from the field and 44.8 percent from beyond the arc. … Maryland had 10 offensive rebounds in the first half but just one after halftime. … The Terps’ nine turnovers matched a season low, which came against Pittsburgh on Nov. 18.

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With ACC Opener Looming, Gary Williams Sticks With Starters in Maryland Win

Posted on 08 December 2010 by Glenn Clark

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Despite rumors a lineup change could be coming, Maryland Head Coach Gary Williams kept his starters together Wednesday night as the Terrapins (7-3) cruised to a 99-56 victory over UNC Greensboro (0-8) at Comcast Center.

The only player whose starting role has not been questioned by fans or analysts is center Jordan Williams, who lead the way for the Terps with 23 points and 13 rebounds in the easy win over the Spartans.

Guard Adrian Bowie and Forward Cliff Tucker have both been subject to the most criticism in recent weeks but responded in big ways against UNCG. Tucker tallied 13 points and a team high five assists in the victory while Bowie added 16 points. Guard Sean Mosley also filled up the stat sheet nicely, scoring six to go with four rebounds and four assists.

Maryland’s lineup (which also includes forward Dino Gregory) has been effective at times over the first ten games of the season, but fans have hoped to see emerging freshmen guards Terrell Stoglin and Pe’Shon Howard slide their way into the lineup, as well as sophomore big man James Padgett.

After a poor performance from a number of the starters in a 64-61 loss to Temple in the BB&T Classic over the weekend, there was a thought Gary Williams might shake the lineup to get going offensively. Williams had benched a number of starters during the game at Verizon Center.

“I considered everything” said the head coach after the win. “I watched a lot of video and things like that. A lot of times it’s a gut feeling. You hope you make the right decision because you don’t want to hurt anyone, you don’t want to make an unfair choice. I think it worked out well tonight.”

Gary Williams was particularly defensive of Tucker and Bowie.

“I really believe in them. They’ve been loyal four year players. That means a lot to me, I don’t know if it means a lot to everyone else. I’ll kinda go to the wall for the guys like that that have stuck with the program and played behind some good players and now it’s their turn. They struggled a little bit in a couple games, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be outstanding players for us this year.”

Tucker said Williams challenged the starters following Sunday night’s loss to the Owls, not letting them know they’d start against the Spartans until earlier Wednesday.

“I think we all practiced great” said Tucker. “(Gary Williams) put a lot of pressure on us, we all stepped up to the challenge.”

Maryland will open ACC play Sunday afternoon in College Park against Boston College, and it is unlikely any lineup changes will be made before the Terps battle the Eagles. Following their contest with BC, Maryland will take a 10 day break for final exams before returning to the floor December 22 against NJIT.

Should any changes to the lineup be coming, that might be the most logical time to make them.

Gary Williams may not have a lengthy history of midseason lineup changes during his tenure at his alma mater, but a move certainly wouldn’t be unprecedented. Memorable changes include Mosley’s insertion into the lineup as a freshman during the 2008-09 season, and the decision to replace Danny Miller with Byron Mouton in 2000-01, a move that would help the Terps reach their first Final Four in school history. Just two years earlier, Gary Williams benched All-ACC big man Obinna Ekezie in favor of freshman Lonny Baxter.

Sunday’s conference opener could be that much more significant for Tucker and Bowie as rumors of changes continue to swirl.

“(Gary Williams) knows how much ability I have to perform” said Bowie. “He’s been with me for four years now. It’s more of a challenge than anything.”

While most starters played well in Wednesday night’s win, their opponent did not provide the best level of competition possible. And while players like Bowie and Mosley are trying to reassure Gary Williams that they can perform at a consistent level, the younger players on the team are trying to take advantage of what might be an opportunity to crack the lineup. In the win over the Spartans, Stoglin tallied 18 points and Padgett added nine boards.

Maryland will get a much better level of competition Sunday. It will be a great opportunity for veterans and underclassmen alike to state their case.

As Gary Williams said Wednesday, “we’ll find out where we are against Boston College.”

-G

Hear from Gary Williams, Jordan Williams, Tucker and Bowie following Wednesday night’s win NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net!

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 24 November 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because I (like every Wednesday), can add two songs to the “Greatest Song of All Time This Week” category.

The new honor goes to Dave Matthews Band, who KILLED “Squirm” when I saw them in Charlottesville last Friday. As I’ve said before, there was a time when I didn’t think “Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King” was deserving of the Album of the Year nod it was given by the Grammy Awards. I was TOTALLY wrong…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_0cTJF5vw8[/youtube]

And TGSOATTW “Retro” version is a nod to the “family” event that is Thanksgiving. Here’s “Dance to the Music” by Sly & The Family Stone…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiIBwu2mjs0[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Michael Oher, Le’Ron McClain, Haloti Ngata leading Pro Bowl voting at respective positions

Of this group, only McClain and Ngata have REALLY been the best players at their position in the AFC this season. Lewis has played at a Pro Bowl level but is leading in votes by reputation. Ed Reed has barely played but also has a reputation. Oher has had an up and down season, but there was a movie made about him.

Duffy points out that other Ravens are deserving of consideration for a trip to Hawaii. Joe Flacco, Anquan Boldin, Ray Rice and Billy Cundiff are certainly deserving of being in the conversation, Terrell Suggs might be as well.

The good news (for people who care about this type of thing) is that the reputation of the organization alone will get more players to the Pro Bowl.

I don’t necessarily care much about which players make the Pro Bowl, unless a deserving player comes up short (like was the case with Jarret Johnson a year ago). Only Ngata and McClain really look like “must” Pro Bowlers this season, so I don’t think I’ll be disappointed when the teams are announced.

2. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ravens signed former Kansas City Chiefs OL Colin Brown to practice squad

Unreal.

You mean to tell me there was an open spot on the Ravens’ practice squad (after they promoted Bryan Mattison and released Scott Kooistra) and yet they DIDN’T sign Emanuela de Paula? RIDICULOUS! (Thanks Guyism!)

depaula

3. ESPN.com has Ravens 3rd in power rankings

And at 3rd, the Ravens are ahead of every other 7-3 team and even the 8-2 New York Jets. Just keep that in mind.

Before we move on from the Ravens, a couple of things…

-We’ll be out at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills today as the Ravens return to practice. We’re expecting to hear from John Harbaugh, Joe Flacco, Ray Lewis and more around noon. Make sure you’re tuned in to AM1570 WNST, following us on Twitter @WNST and checking out WNST.net throughout the day!

-Did you miss Ravens Director of Player Personnel Eric Decosta with Drew Forrester Wednesday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today to check it out. Some other things you can hear in the Audio Vault today include…

  • Johnny Holliday (Legendary Terps PBP Voice)-who talked Terrapins football and basketball with Drew Wednesday
  • Sean Salisbury (“Sean Unfiltered”-Voice America Sports Radio)-who went around the NFL with Drew Wednesday
  • Joe Beninati (Washington Capitals Play by Play-Comcast SportsNet)-who talked puck with Drew Wednesday
  • Our Morning Reaction “Cheap Shots from the Bleachers”, as Drew resorted to BEGGING for the Orioles to get better players, and I got soft as I reflected on the community at Thanksgiving
  • Postgame audio from Maryland’s win over Delaware State Tuesday night, including Gary Williams, Cliff Tucker, Adrian Bowie and Dino Gregory
  • Jamey Eisenberg (CBSSports.com)-who talked Fantasy Football with Rex Snider Tuesday on “The Afternoon Drive”
  • Jorge Ortiz (USA Today) and Craig Calcaterra (“HardballTalk”-NBCSports.com)-who joined Allen McCallum and Rex Tuesday on “The MLB Report”
  • Andrew Perloff (Sports Illustrated)-who went around the AFC with Rex Wednesday
  • John Rallo (Shogun Fights)-who joined Thyrl Nelson for “The MMA Report” Tuesday

It’s all in the Audio Vault, so I’d get over there…like…ASAP…to check it all out. You’ve got a long weekend ahead. ENJOY!

4. WNST.net’s Ryan Chell says Orioles add bench coach Willie Randolph to staff

There’s a natural “I’ve heard of this guy so I’m excited about him” mentality that comes with hiring a former MLB manager for a coaching position.

My gut says that Willie Randolph will be a nice addition to Buck Showalter’s staff. That being said, we don’t really have any tangible reason to expect that Willie Randolph will make any sort of significant difference in Charm City.

Unless of course he could play first base and hit 40 home runs.

Of course, the Orioles were looking at Victor Martinez to do those things, right? Ummm…..

5. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says Victor Martinez passed on O’s offer, signed with Detroit Tigers

Argh.

As I said this morning, I’m not going to give Andy MacPhail a pass here. If everything we’ve been told is true (the O’s offered 48 million and Martinez accepted 50 million in Motown without giving the O’s the chance to counter), I hope MacPhail learned a lesson.

That lesson is that no player REALLY cares about the team’s late season growth under Showalter and their decent young nucleus.

REAL players want to win and want to make money.

Simply competitive offers won’t get it done. The team is going to have to OVERPAY.

The Tigers themselves had to do it to get Magglio Ordonez and Ivan Rodriguez a few years back. It didn’t seem like smart business at the time, but it eventually helped the Tigers reach the World Series.

They knew what they had to do to get players. Andy MacPhail and the Orioles will have to do the same thing this year.

6. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Birds chose not to offer arbitration to Koji Uehara, Kevin Millwood

Obviously Millwood was never coming back, but I don’t know what to make of the Koji decision.

The good news here? With one (or both) of these guys gone, maybe the team can consider F.P. Santangelo…..’s future wife Michelle McLaughlin. (Thanks Busted Coverage!)

santangelo

7. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Cliff Tucker lead way with 15 points as Maryland topped Delaware State at Comcast Center

A lot of folks were upset that last night’s tilt with the Hornets wasn’t available on TV.

Don’t be upset. You didn’t miss a DAMN thing.

This one was never pretty, and seemed downright strange in the second half. DSU actually outscored the Terps 33-32 after halftime, but that was mostly because Gary Williams decided to play with some strange lineup combos, including one stretch where he had nothing but reserves on the floor.

Berend Weijs had a nice night last night. I don’t think Berend Weijs is REALLY an ACC player however. Then again, I didn’t think Dave Neal was an ACC player either.

Maryland returns to action Friday night against Elon, Luke Jones will host a “Turtle Power” live chat during the game.

8. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Terrapins OL Pete DeSouza hoping to return from accident in time for spring practice

This would be a very cool story if it were to play out that way. There was a thought that DeSouza’s football future wasn’t guaranteed in ANY way when he suffered the accident.

Should he return in the spring, it could provide a MAJOR lift to the entire program.

9. The AP says Aric Brooks scored 17 points to lead Morgan State past Western Illinois in Cancun

Kudos to Todd Bozeman and the Bears. If I was in Cancun, I’m not sure how focused I would be on the task at hand. Then again, the “Palace Arena” might help to humble me…

arena

A ballroom. An effing ballroom. Unbelievable. Eh…you’re still in Cancun.

10. The AP says Michael Harper lead way with 21 points as Coppin State topped UMBC as CSPEC

A couple of games today featuring local teams. Morgan plays a second game in as many days at the Cancun Challenge, as they face North Florida. Towson hosts Navy tonight at the Towson Center-that game tips at 7. Loyola visits Mike Lonergan and Vermont, that game tips at 7 as well.

And if all of that isn’t enough, here’s a picture of Monica Leigh, too! (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)

monicaleigh

And finally, I leave you with this.

The Miz won the WWE Championship?!?!? AWE.SOME.!!!!!!!!!!!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmiF16nE9YI[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Through Six Games, Maryland Unquestionably Better With Tucker on Floor

Posted on 23 November 2010 by Glenn Clark

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Don’t think I’m getting ahead of myself. In no way is this column going to suggest that there is anyone on the 2010-2011 Maryland Terrapins basketball roster who could somehow replace a player like Greivis Vasquez.

But something struck me Tuesday night as the Terps (4-2) polished off MEAC foe Delaware State (1-1) 72-54 at Comcast Center.

It seems as though Maryland is best when G/F Cliff Tucker is the most focal point of the offense.

Maybe this was to be expected. After all, Tucker is a senior, and his 6’6″, 200 pound frame with deceptive quickness make him a unique matchup problem on the wing for any team in the Atlantic Coast Conference or elsewhere in the country.

On Tuesday, Tucker was an effective 6-7 from the field, scoring a team high 15 points in just 24 minutes.

He hasn’t become an offensive “star” by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s clearly stood out as the team’s best wing.

“Cliff’s a very important part of our team, obviously” said Head Coach Gary Williams. “He’s one of our best shooters, he’s been a double figure scorer.”

Digging deeper into Tucker’s effectiveness; the senior played 14 minutes in the first half of Tuesday night’s game. He lead Maryland with 11 points on 4-5 shooting and added three rebounds. Maryland outscored Delaware State 40-21 in the half.

In the second half, Tucker played just 10 minutes, scoring only 4 points. Maryland was outscored by the Hornets 33-32 in the half.

It seems to be a bit of a trend.

D1scourse author Patrick Stevens keeps a running tally of the team’s performance when each player is on the floor during a given game. For the season, Stevens tallied a 64 point advantage for Maryland when Tucker has been on the floor. The “plus” 64 points matches center Jordan Williams (the team’s leading scorer) as the biggest differential of any player through the first six games.

He’s not Vasquez (nor should he be expected to be), but he’s certainly been the team’s best offensive wing early on the season. It’s also particularly evident that the team has been better with Tucker on the floor.

With all of that being said, it seemed a bit strange to see Tucker sitting on the bench in the second half Tuesday, especially after having sat for much of the second half in Maryland’s previous game against Illinois at Madison Square Garden.

“We’re just trying to find combinations right now” said Williams. “I thought the guys that were in there played great together.” Williams went on to add “we have a lot more guards than we have inside players too. I gotta get some guys on the court this time of the year. Cliff’s gonna be there in big games.”

For his part, Tucker seemed completely understanding of not seeing much of the second half in a game that wasn’t particularly in doubt.

“There’s time’s where I wanted to be in the game, but coach probably wants to rest me a little more” said the young man from El Paso. “We kinda had the game in hand. I’m not upset, I’m on the bench supporting my team.”

If Maryland is going to be a power in the ACC this season, it looks like they’re going to need Tucker on the floor in every stretch.

Tucker entered the season needing to prove himself as more than just the player who hit “the shot” against Georgia Tech (a buzzer-beating three pointer to stun the Yellow Jackets at Comcast Center) in his junior season.

He’s already shown himself to be capable of consistency during his senior campaign. As that continues, Maryland will have a much better chance to perform at a similarly consistent level as a team.

-G

Hear from Williams, Tucker, G Adrian Bowie and F Dino Gregory following Maryland’s win NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault right here at WNST.net!

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Maryland again competitive, not good enough in 80-76 loss to Illinois

Posted on 19 November 2010 by Luke Jones

Gary Williams wanted to find out where his Terps really were with two games at Madison Square Garden against stiff competition this week.

The verdict for the Maryland coach was a competitive — and incomplete – team with room to grow as the season moves forward.

The Terps struggled to defend the perimeter and couldn’t do enough in the second half, falling to Illinois, 80-76, in the consolation game of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer.

Maryland continually allowed open looks to Demetri McCamey (2o points), Tyler Griffey (three 3-pointers), and D.J. Richardson (three 3-pointers), as the Illini shot 47.6 percent (10 of 21) from beyond the arc, and the Terps only 5-for-18 on the other end.

Five Maryland players reached double-figure scoring, freshman Terrell Stoglin leading the way with 17 points, but forward Jordan Williams’ 15 second-half points weren’t enough as Maryland fell to 3-2 on the season.

The final 11:28 of the first half was a victory in and of itself after Williams was stricken with two fouls and banished to the bench as the Terps trailed 20-16. Using a patchwork frontcourt that included Berend Weijs, James Padgett, Hauk Palsson, and a foul-troubled Dino Gregory, Maryland managed to maintain the same deficit, entering the intermission trailing 40-36.

The two-game trip to Madison Square Garden was a perfect example of how crucial it is for Williams to stay clear of foul trouble this season. Aside from Tucker’s improved offensive output, the Terps not only lack the perimeter scoring to compete against sharp-shooting teams but also an offensive presence in the paint when the 6-foot-10 sophomore is not on the floor.

Not a good formula for success.

And yet it was a formula the Terps survived in the first half, keeping themselves in position to make a second-half run. Maryland briefly took a 47-46 lead following a 9-0 run, but the Illini responded with a 13-2 run to regain the lead and seize control for the rest of the night.

Despite Williams’ return in the second half, the Terps simply couldn’t generate enough offense despite the brief run midway through the second half, failing to knock down perimeter shots to compete with the sharp-shooting Illini.

It’s the exact type of game the Terps will struggle with this year. Maryland simply doesn’t have the shooters to compete against teams knocking down outside shots.

Maryland will undoubtedly be disappointed with an 0-2 performance in New York City, but neither loss should deter anyone from thinking this Maryland team can’t be pretty good by January or February.

Of course, last season’s Terps went to Hawaii and played two clunkers against Cincinnati and Wisconsin, looking far worse than they did against two top-25 programs in two nights. It offers perspective to how little we can really take from early-season tournaments and how they project a team’s aptitude.

Is the 0-2 showing disappointing? Of course.

But the reality is the Terps played two teams that were simply better than them in the middle of November. They lost, but competed at a high level.

And that bodes well for January and February with Gary Williams leading the way.

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Terps crumble at FT line in 79-70 loss to No. 5 Pitt

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Terps crumble at FT line in 79-70 loss to No. 5 Pitt

Posted on 19 November 2010 by Luke Jones

In the big picture, the Terps can actually feel pretty good about their showing against one of the best teams in the nation.

But a 14-for-30 performance from the free throw line will only leave Maryland thinking what might have been in a 79-70 loss to Pittsburgh Thursday night in the semifinals of the 2K Sports Classic Benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer.

Lacking the experience and size of No. 5 Pitt, Maryland hung tough in the second half despite a 21-4 Panthers run that saw the deficit grow to 42-29 less than three minutes into the second half. The Terps responded with a 17-4 run of their own to tie the game with 12:47 to play, but would get no closer, dropping their first game of the season.

Senior Cliff Tucker led all scorers with 17 points, once again looking like the Terps’ only viable option from the perimeter. Sophomore Jordan Williams added 14 points and nine rebounds, but wore down against an imposing frontcourt that outrebounded Maryland by a whopping 43 to 23 margin.

Newcomers Pe’Shon Howard and Terrell Stoglin, who had been bright spots in the opening week of the season against less-than-stellar competition, looked very much like two freshmen playing their first game at Madison Square Garden, but we knew there would be nights like this.

Sean Mosley (the Terps’ leading returning scorer) struggled offensively for the third straight game, managing just seven points while battling foul trouble much of the night.

And yet, Gary Williams can point to one of the simplest — and most critical — aspects of the game to explain why the Terps will play against Illinois in the consolation game Friday (5:00 p.m. on ESPN2) instead of competing in the championship game.

From the charity stripe, Williams was just 2-for-7, Mosley 1-for-3, Dino Gregory 1-for-3, and James Padgett 0-for-4, as the Terps shot 46.7 percent from the line in what has become a disturbing early-season trend.

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In a 75-74 victory over the College of Charleston last Wednesday, Maryland needed a last-second shot by Howard to overcome a 5-for-18 free-throw shooting performance (27.8 percent) and prevent an embarrassing loss.

Having lost their top three scorers from a season ago and lacking the 3-point shooting to quickly erase deficits, the Terps must rely on the transition game and taking the ball inside to score — or to get to the free-throw line. The Panthers obliged with the latter, giving the Terps 30 free-throw attempts. Even an average performance from the line — such as Pitt’s 70.3 percent clip — would have created a much different game in the final minutes when Maryland had no choice but to foul.

Fortunately, poor free-throw shooting is correctable — or at least improvable — and you can bet the Maryland coach will have his team working feverishly to refine its touch from the line.

It will be interesting to see how Maryland responds Friday — especially without the senior leadership of Greivis Vasquez, Eric Hayes, and Landon Milbourne — but the Terps showed they were capable of competing with one of the better teams in the country Thursday night, suggesting this might be a better season than many expect.

But their margin of error is too minute to survive a “Shaq”-like performance from the charity stripe.

On a night in which they valiantly scrapped against a better team, Maryland’s biggest enemy was itself.

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Maryland tips off season against Seattle: Turtle Power chat at 8

Posted on 08 November 2010 by Luke Jones

**Join us in the Turtle Power chat at 8:00 for live coverage from College Park!**

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Good evening from Comcast Center as the Terps are set to tip off the 2010-2011 season by hosting independent Seattle University in the College Park Regional of the 2K Sports Classic Benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer. Maryland will also host the College of Charleston on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m.

The Terps dominated Div. II Florida Southern in a 106-58 exhibition win last Monday. Seven players scored at least eight points for the Terps, and eight grabbed at least five rebounds in the lone preseason game of the season.

Of course, the Terps will try to replace the massive scoring hole left behind by the departing senior trio of Greivis Vasquez, Eric Hayes, and Landon Milbourne. Seniors Adrian Bowie, Cliff Tucker, and Dino Gregory will now join returning starters Sean Mosley and Jordan Williams in the starting lineup, but don’t sleep on a talented freshmen class that includes guards Pe’Shon Howard and Terrell Stoglin who are both expected to be a part of the rotation — at least early in the season.

While Seattle (17-14 last season) doesn’t pose much of a threat on paper, you might recognize the head coach from NCAA Tournament lore. Cameron Dollar was a key member of the 1995 champion UCLA Bruins and begins his second season as coach of the Redhawks.

Tonight’s game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet with Michael Reghi and Ron Thompson calling the action. Be sure to join us in the Turtle Power chat, starting at 8:00, as Glenn Clark and I will bring coverage from College Park. As always, follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest updates and analysis.

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