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Terps fight back in 2nd half to drop Clemson, 88-79

Posted on 24 February 2010 by Luke Jones

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — It looked like Maryland was on the verge of being run out of the gym halfway through the first half on Wednesday night.

With their top three rebounders stuck on the bench with two fouls apiece and Greivis Vasquez struggling through the effects of a stomach bug, the Terps’ perfect home record in ACC play looked to be in serious jeopardy, having already suffered a 15-0 Clemson run as the Tigers capitalized on second-chance opportunities and continued to hit shots from beyond the arc.

Instead of falling further behind (Maryland had trailed by 15 points with 9:29 remaining), a makeshift rotation that included freshman James Padgett weathered the final five minutes of the first half and actually cut the halftime deficit to nine, keeping the Terps within striking distance. Maryland responded with a 49-point explosion in the second half—and held Clemson to just 31—on its way to an 88-79 victory.

“That was one of those games where you find out a little bit more about yourself as you go through the year as a team,” coach Gary Williams said. “It was a good test for us, not that we wanted to be in that situation against a team as good as Clemson. But we were there, and we had to handle it. We did a good job in the second half.”

Receiving contributions from numerous players, Maryland shot a white-hot 60 percent from the field in the second half and made five of seven 3-pointers (8-for-13 overall). None was bigger than Vasquez’s triple to complete the second-half comeback and give the Terps a 70-67 lead with 7:26 remaining. It was a lead Maryland would not relinquish as it improved to 10-3 in the ACC and tightened its grip on second place, a game behind Duke in the loss column.

Four Maryland players reached double-digit scoring, but the most encouraging contribution came from sophomore Sean Mosley who scored 20 points, rebounding from an extended slump and flashing the form he showed in the first two months of the season. Mosley scored the first seven points of the game for the Terps and finished 6-for-8 from the field and 2-for-3 from beyond the arc.

“I got the feel for the game early,” he said. “Every time I touched the ball or got an open look, I let it go. Every time it left my hand it felt like it was going in. It was just me playing aggressive.”

After struggling against the Clemson press in the first half, Maryland settled down and ran the half-court offense efficiently with Vasquez dishing out 13 assists in addition to his 15 points—13 of which came in the second half. On a night when the senior captain was clearly not 100 percent, his vision was brilliant in finding open teammates for high-percentage shots.

Maryland also found the answer in stopping standout forward Trevor Booker who dominated the first half with 11 points and eight rebounds. A combination of Jordan Williams and Dino Gregory held the Clemson big man to just two points and one rebound in the second half.

“Booker’s a great player,” said Jordan Williams, who finished with 18 points and five rebounds despite dealing with foul trouble for much of the night. “He’s a great rebounder and he plays inside-out, so I was chasing him a little bit out to the 3-point line, so it was tough for me to get rebounds tonight.”

As they have throughout the conference schedule at Comcast Center, the Terps played the second half with a higher energy level and overwhelmed their opponent, transforming what looked like their biggest challenge at home to date into a second-half shellacking.

And unlike the way it wilted in the final five minutes after briefly taking a second-half lead in the teams’ first meeting (being outscored 12-3 and losing 62-53), Maryland tightened its grip instead of finding satisfaction with the lead.

“We just wanted to keep trying to push it until it was over,” Jordan Williams said. “We didn’t want to get too excited and lose what we’d done to get there. That’s a sign of a good team.”

Now 20-7 and 10-3 in the ACC, Maryland appears to be an absolute lock for the NCAA tournament and is in outstanding shape for a first-round bye in the ACC tournament in Greensboro. After the game, Gary Williams made it clear just how good of a win he thought it was for his team—and take a shot at the lack of respect the ACC has received this year.

“You can’t tell me that a team like Clemson is not good enough to be in the NCAA tournament,” he said. “It just seems like it’s okay for other conferences to play great games between two good basketball teams. I think Clemson will show down the stretch that they are a worthy basketball team.”

– Vasquez moved into fourth place on Maryland’s career scoring list, passing John Lucas (2,015) and Adrian Branch (2,017) and now has 2,028 points in his career. The basket that moved him past Branch and into fourth place was the same shot that gave Maryland a 70-67 lead with 7:26 to play, the team’s first lead since early in the first half.

The senior guard also matched a season-high with 13 assists, eight coming in the first half.

– Eric Hayes led the Terps with 12 first-half points on 5-for-8 shooting. The senior finished the game with 15 points and three assists.

– Four Terps scored in double figures, making it the 14th time this season that at least four Maryland players had reached double-digit scoring. Mosley led the way with 20, Williams scored 18, and Vasquez and Hayes each chipped in 15 points.

– Maryland improved its record to 3-7 when trailing at the half and 3-3 in ACC play.

Check out the final stats here and the live blog below.

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11:01 p.m. — Maryland leads 88-79 as the students begin to chant “We Want Duke!”

This one’s in the books. After a very rocky first half, the Terps come out and play an outstanding second half.

Final score: Maryland 88, Clemson 79.

Back shortly with the post-game wrap.

11:00 p.m. — Vasquez puts this one in the books with a fallaway jumper to make it a seven-point lead inside a minute to play.

10:59 p.m. — Jordan Williams goes to the bench with his fourth foul. He’s done a great job in the second half staying out of foul trouble after picking up two in the first half.

10:57 p.m. — Maryland absolutely got bailed out by Milton Jennings on that one. Would have been very difficult to create a decent look with the shot clock dwindling.

Vasquez goes to the line and drains both freebies, and Maryland leads 84-77.

10:55 p.m. — Stitt scores to cut the lead to five points, but the Terps beat the pressure across the timeline nicely. Maryland will call a timeout with 2:02 remaining.

10:53 p.m. — Trevor Booker picks up his third foul to send Williams to the line. Despite a very strong night, the frosh continues to struggle at the line, missing two.

10:51 p.m. — At the final media timeout, Maryland leads Clemson 82-75 with 3:38 to play.

10:50 p.m. — Vasquez sinks a pair of free throws to give him 11 points for the game. The Terps now have four players in double figures.

Young hits a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to five points. Still plenty of time in this one.

10:47 p.m. — As much as he’s been beaten up lately for his offensive woes, Mosley is having an outstanding game with 18 points and several strong defensive plays. This team could do some special things if he can regain his early-season form from the offensive end of the floor.

10:46 p.m. — What a scene to watch Vasquez mop up the wet floor. What a team player!

10:44 p.m. — As dominant as Clemson looked during its 15-0 run in the first half, Maryland quite possibly looks even better right now.

Just an unbelievable run, and the Tigers are on life support with less than six minutes to play.

10:43 p.m. — This place is going berserk as Hayes hits a three to put the Terps up by eight. Unbelievable energy!

A Clemson turnover leads to a Vasquez dunk.

Timeout, Clemson.

Maryland leads 77-67 with 6:03 remaining.

10:40 p.m. — Not only did Vasquez just put the Terps up by 3 points, but he now sits in fourth place on the Terps’ all-time scoring list.

Talk about GREAT timing.

10:39 p.m. — Jordan Williams makes two freebies while Eric Hayes misses two?

And, oh yeah, the sky is green.

10:36 p.m. — We’ve reached another media timeout with Clemson holding a 67-65 advantage with 7:52 to go.

10:35 p.m. — Hayes continues to show aggression in going to the basket. If teams have to respect the drive, it will create so many more opportunities for the sharp-shooter on the perimeter.

However, are my eyes deceiving me or did Hayes just miss TWO free throws in a row?

Wow.

10:33 p.m. — Not resting on his laurels from Saturday, Tucker is having a very nice game with eight points after a very nice take.

Have to be impressed with the resiliency displayed by this team tonight after it looked like it could easily get blown out in the first half.

10:31 p.m. — Huge advantage for the Terps to be in the bonus already with 10:34 remaining. Of course, you still need to make your free throws.

Tucker misses the second, but Gregory grabs the offensive board. Mosley CONNECTS on the 3-pointer and we’re tied at 63!

10:28 p.m. — Jerai Grant fouls out with 11:18 to go. He still has time to make it home for the 11 p.m. Sportscenter.

Milbourne goes to the line and hits a pair to cut the lead to 2, the closest the Terps have been since Clemson went on a 15-0 run.

10:24 p.m. — Great second and third effort by Williams to get the tip-in. It’s a four-point game with 12 minutes to go.

Following a Clemson miss, Tucker dripples up the floor but loses it. With his great athleticism, Tucker would be such a dangerous player going to the basket—if only he had a handle.

We’ve reached the under-12 media timeout with Clemson leading Maryland, 61-57 with 11:46 remaining.

10:22 p.m. — Nice hands by Tucker force the steal, but Vasquez cannot hit the well-chronicled pull-up 3-pointer. That one would have been big.

10:20 p.m. — Noel Johnson misses the jumper, but Clemson grabs another offensive board, leading to a 3-pointer by Andre Young. Second-chance points have just killed the Terps this evening.

10:17 p.m. — Comcast has just ERUPTED after Tucker hits the triple to cut the lead to three points.

Timeout on the floor as Clemson continues to hold a much smaller lead, 56-53 with 15:14 to go.

10:16 p.m. — After Clemson comes right back with an answer, Tanner Smith fouls Jordan Williams, but the big man finishes the play.

The frosh goes to the line but cannot connect. He’s got 10 for the game.

10:15 p.m. — Mosley takes it all the way to the hole, drawing the foul on Devin Booker. Nice to see Mosley stay aggressive after the last failed attempt at the basket.

Crowd getting back into it as Mosley completes the three-point play.

10:14 p.m. — Big-time 3-pointer by Milbourne to cut the lead to seven points.

Perhaps that will get the Terps going. They need a jumpstart badly.

10:12 p.m. — Vasquez just picked up the foul on a push. Didn’t see much there, and neither did Jordan Williams who was very demonstrative in showing his displeasure.

10:09 p.m. — I’m not sure what that last take was by Mosley. Think I saw that one in a junior high game recently.

Maryland takes the timeout as Hayes gets into trouble against the Clemson D.

Not the way you wanted to start this half at all, even with Grant picking up four fouls for Clemson.

10:07 p.m. — Two turnovers in a row as Maryland is really struggling against the Clemson press.

10:06 p.m. — Four fouls on Grant. Maybe Oliver Purnell lost count.

10:05 p.m. — Great decision to go after Grant. The big man picks up his third foul in the first 10 seconds of the half.

Milbourne makes 1-of-2 from the line.

10:04 p.m. — Maryland will get the ball to begin the second half. Definitely need to start the half strongly.

10:02 p.m. — Vasquez has just two points at the break. So much for my prediction.

He looks VERY tired out there tonight after looking fatigued on Saturday.

Definitely something to watch in the second half.

9:59 p.m. — Both the Terps and Tigers shooting 50 percent from the field AND 3-point range at the break. Unfortunately, Clemson is 8-for-16 from beyond the arc while Maryland has made 3-of-6.

9:48 p.m. — We’ve reached the end of the first half with Clemson holding a 48-39 advantage over the Terps. With all of the foul trouble, things could be MUCH worse for Maryland.

9:46 p.m. — Having your top-3 rebounders on the bench with two fouls each is a very scary proposition.

If the Terps can keep the lead at single digits going into the half it has to be a huge moral victory.

9:40 p.m. — Lost in the Clemson dominance has been the struggles of Vasquez. He finally gets one to fall.

A possession later after Potter hits a triple, Padgett brings the crowd to its feet with the monster slam!

The pace has again picked up as we reach the final media timeout of the half. Clemson leads 39-33 with 3:07 remaining.

9:38 p.m. — A huge 3-ball from Hayes cuts the deficit to seven points, the closest the Terps have been in quite awhile.

It’s nice to see Maryland weather the storm after that crippling 15-0 run, but the Terps need to tread water until the intermission.

9:36 p.m. — A beautiful pass from Vasquez and an even better finish from Hayes, who’s really been finishing well at the bucket of late.

With Jordan Williams heading to the bench with his second foul, James Padgett checks into the game. That’s a MAJOR problem.

9:34 p.m. — Not that we needed to really see the numbers, but Clemson is outrebounding Maryland 14-7 and already has six offensive boards.

9:31 p.m. — Devin Booker jams in the missed 3-pointer now. Unbelievable.

We’ve reached the under-8 media timeout with Maryland trailing 33-20.

9:29 p.m. — Booker skies high for the tip-in. I’m at a loss for words right now. Clemson is just running the Terps out of the gym in every aspect of the game right now.

Following another Booker score, Mosley drives into the paint and finds Williams for the two-handed jam.

9:27 p.m. — Milbourne goes to the bench with his second foul. Not good at all.

9:26 p.m. — Milbourne with the blocked shot on the other end. The Terps need a couple more plays like that to get the crowd back in it

Other than the early scoring surge by Mosley in the first four minutes, Maryland is just searching for anything positive.

9:24 p.m. — Besides the obvious concern of a 13-point deficit, you have to be even more worried when you factor in the Clemson press. Maryland is in some serious danger right now, and it will have to handle the press to climb back into this one.

Milbourne hits a jumper right out of the timeout to end the run.

9:22 p.m. — The Terps have mercifully reached the second media timeout. It is not a pretty sight at Comcast Center right now.

Clemson leads 27-14 with 11:23 to go in the first half.

9:21 p.m. — Noel Johnson hits a triple to extend the run to 10-0.

Gregory looking like he did on Sunday with another blown layup.

Potter hits a triple and another Johnson bucket makes it a 15-0 run.

Wow.

9:18 p.m. — The Tigers have scored seven unanswered points and Gary Williams wants to talk it over.

Not sure the lineup on the floor right now will provide much of anything points-wise and as I type that, Vasquez walks to the score table.

9:17 p.m. — Dino Gregory is the first sub off the bench for the Terps. The reserve big man has played very well off the bench in recent weeks. I like seeing the Terps go with the bigger lineup against the tough tandem of Booker and Grant.

Tucker enters the game to a huge ovation. I wonder why?

9:12 p.m. — We’ve reached the first media timeout (I need to catch my breath!) with Clemson holding a slight 15-14 lead with 15:14 remaining.

9:11 p.m. — Nice fake by Mosley as he takes it to the basket and draws the foul. Hitting the two early jumpers could do WONDERS for his offensive game tonight.

He hits a pair of freebies, and he has nine points. The Baltimore sophomore is on pace for 90 points. That would probably be a record.

9:10 p.m. — Twenty points scored in the game’s first three minutes. The way this one is going, the teams will have more points at the half than they did in their first meeting (62-53 final score).

9:08 p.m. — Mosley with the first seven points of the game. I’m guessing anyone in Vegas that put money on that one is a rich man right now.

9:06 p.m. — Clemson controls the opening tip and finds Booker inside, but his shot is rejected by Milbourne. Going the other way Vasquez tries to find Milbourne, bu the Terps turn it over.

Potter hits a 3 for the first points of the game, but Mosley answers with a mid-range jumper and then hits a 3-pointer on the Terps’ next possession.

That’s quite the answer to the critics—myself included.

9:04 p.m. — We’re about ready for the tip. Clemson will wear purple with the Terps once again sporting the gold as they have throughout the conference home schedule.

9:00 p.m. — Maryland natives David Potter (Severn) and Jerai Grant (Bowie) earn some extra boos from the Comcast Crowd during starting lineups.

8:53 p.m. –Virginia Tech is just getting punked at Boston College tonight, losing 77-55 with four minutes to play. The Hokies will be a desperate team on Saturday afternoon.

I’m waiting for Rich to check in to say he called the Tech upset. Good work, buddy.

8:51 p.m. — The Terps just came back onto the floor to a video highlighting Cliff Tucker’s game-winning shot from Saturday to a huge ovation from the student section. No threat of an emotional letdown from the students thus far.

8:50 p.m. — Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

Clemson
G Demontez Stitt
G Tanner Smith
F David Potter
F Jerai Grant
F Trevor Booker

Maryland

G Eric Hayes
G Greivis Vasquez
G Sean Mosley
F Landon Milbourne
F Jordan Williams

8:48 p.m. — Duane Simpkins is the honorary captain for tonight’s game.

8:40 p.m. — Maryland will once again wear its gold uniforms for tonight’s game. The Terps are undefeated wearing them this season (6-0) and are 11-2 over the last three seasons since re-introducing them in the 2007-08 season. Thanks to Patrick Stevens (D1scourse) for passing along that note.

8:30 p.m. — Adding to the accolades, Vasquez was today named one of 30 mid-season candidates for the Naismith Trophy.

No real surprise there but just passing it along.

8:20 p.m. — Good evening from Comcast Center as we get set to watch the Clemson Tigers  (19-7, 7-5 ACC) take on the Maryland Terrapins (19-7, 9-3) at 9:00 p.m.

The teams met back on Jan. 31 when it was Clemson besting the Terps at Littlejohn Coliseum, 62-53. Maryland was haunted by a season-high 26 turnovers and was outscored 12-3 in the final 5:36 of the game after briefly taking a second-half lead. Despite an off night for Trevor Booker, Jerai Grant was the star for the Tigers, scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in the victory.

Both teams currently enjoy three-game winning streaks with Maryland holding a two-game lead over the Tigers in the conference. Taking a closer look at the teams’ respective NCAA tournament resumes, Clemson and Maryland are neck-and-neck in the RPI (33rd and 34th respectively), so tonight’s game is pivotal not only in the ACC standings but also for jockeying for position in the eyes of the selection committee.

Clemson is of course led by Booker, averaging 15.3 points and 8.2 rebounds a contest, and Demontez Stitt (10.6 ppg) who did not play in the team’s first meeting. Stitt figures to provide a much tougher test to the Maryland backcourt than anyone the Terps encountered at Clemson.

The Terps will try to guard against an emotional letdown following Saturday’s incredible 76-74 win over Georgia Tech. Rumor has it that Cliff Tucker hasn’t slept in 72 hours while trying to keep up with his Facebook new friend requests. I kid, I kid.

These next three games (at Virginia Tech on Saturday, Duke next Wednesday) will determine a great deal in figuring out exactly where Maryland stands in both the ACC and NCAA tournaments. Standing alone in second place, the Terps are in great shape for a first-round bye in Greensboro but clearly need to hold serve at Comcast Center tonight before a tough road test in Blacksburg on Saturday.

Another story to watch during tonight’s game is the continued climb of Greivis Vasquez on the Maryland career scoring list. Currently standing at 2,013 points, the senior needs just two points to match John Lucas and four points to equal Adrian Branch. Needless to say, barring a freak injury or MAJOR struggles, Vasquez will be sitting fourth on the list behind Juan Dixon, Len Bias, and Albert King before the intermission. Impressive company to say the very least.

Tonight’s game will be televised on Raycom (WNUV-TV 54 in Baltimore) with Tim Brant and Dan Bonner on the call.

As always, stay right here at WNST.net throughout the game and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) where you’ll hear thoughts from Glenn Clark and other WNST personalities.

Tonight’s game

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Tucker’s buzzer-beater saves Maryland against Georgia Tech, 76-74

Posted on 20 February 2010 by Luke Jones

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — It almost seemed like a cruel joke.

Greivis Vasquez had just banked in a prayer from just over half-court to seemingly give Maryland a miraculous win over Georgia Tech, only to learn it didn’t count after assistant coach Keith Booth had called a timeout prior to the heave with 1.5 seconds to play.

The Terps appeared on the verge of suffering their first ACC home loss of the season before breaking the huddle for the final possession and down one point. But instead of dwelling on the frustration of the missed opportunity, Maryland focused on the precious 1.5 seconds with which it had to work.

“[The huddle] was real calm,” Cliff Tucker said. “[Gary Williams] calmed down and just drew up the play, and then we went out and ran it.”

With everyone expecting Vasquez to take the final shot, the reserve Tucker instead took the inbound pass—on a play typically designed to be a lob near the basket—and hit a 3-pointer as time expired to give Maryland a 76-74 victory and send 17,950 Comcast Center fans home in a frenzy.

Despite the bedlam, it was the same play the Terps had run in practice everyday throughout the season.

“You don’t go into those situations without having practiced them,” said Williams, noting his team spends the last 15 minutes of practice on game scenarios. “At least when we had the ball in that situation, we had done that before in practice and there was a positive image there. We got lucky there at the end, but we excecuted that play pretty well.”

The win not only protected Maryland’s perfect home record in conference play but clinched a winning conference record, moving the Terps closer to the possibility of a first-round bye in the ACC tournament.

Saturday’s battle was uncommon territory for the Terps who had nearly rolled over everyone in conference play at the Comcast Center, their previous five wins coming by an average margin of 19 points.

Playing its fourth game in eight days, Maryland (19-7, 9-3) struggled against the imposing Georgia Tech frontcourt all afternoon, as the Yellow Jackets grabbed 21 offensive rebounds and scored 24 second-chance points, none bigger than Derrick Favors tip-in with three seconds left. Even before that, the freshman sensation proved to be as good as advertised, scoring 21 points and grabbing 18 rebounds.

Vasquez led the Terps with 18 points and eight assists despite both he and his coach admitting he was fatigued from the last week. On Tucker’s game-winning shot, Vasquez set a screen to create space for his teammate’s heroics.

“This is every game, our season,” Vasquez said. “Every win we got, we got it as a team. This is nothing about me; our team has done a great job being positive. Praise Cliff. He made the big shot for us and won the game.”

While the win shouldn’t be overemphasized with four conference games remaining and more work to accomplish, it does add another modest feather to the NCAA tournament cap by beating a team that’s spent plenty of time ranked in the top-25 this season. However, Maryland’s real chance to impress the selection committee will come over the next three games.

The Terps will host Clemson on Wednesday night and try to avenge a disappointing loss in their first meeting before traveling to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech next Saturday. And, of course, the rematch with Duke looms for Senior Night on March 3.

These next three games will tell us where Maryland fits into the NCAA tournament picture and its prospects for a strong showing.

But before we move on to the rest of the season and see where it takes Maryland, it’s hard to imagine any one moment topping Tucker and his teammates running around the Comcast floor in the aftermath of the improbable shot on Saturday afternoon.

“In AAU, I hit a little floater for a game-winner, but nothing like this; nothing to this capacity,” said Tucker. “It’s probably one of the best plays of my career, of my life, so I’m happy.”

– By scoring five of Maryland’s first seven points of the game, Vasquez eclipsed the 2,000-point mark in his career, becoming the sixth player in school history to do so. Vasquez also became the first player in ACC history to reach 2,000 points, 700 assists, and 600 rebounds in his career.

“I think it speaks for itself,” Williams said. “Greivis had his critics, but the numbers are there and when you look at what he has done for the team this year, he has always done everything he could.”

– Seemingly frustrated with his team’s struggles on the defensive end, Williams shed his jacket and tossed it away in anger with 5:00 remaining in the game. The move is often imitated—even at Midnight Madness—but the coach described how rare it is for him to resort to such tactics.

“I just try to stay on every play. I’ve [only] done that four times in 21 years. After I did that, I felt pretty good.”

– Maryland won its ninth straight game over Georgia Tech, a streak that goes back to Jan. 30, 2005. The Terps’ six straight ACC home wins are the most since a 12-game streak from the beginning of the 2001-02 campaign through the first four of 2002-03.

– Freshman Jordan Williams narrowly missed his third straight double-double, finishing with nine points and 12 rebounds in the win. Williams has led or tied for the team lead in rebounding in 19 of Maryland’s 26 games.

– Maryland improved to 17-0 this season when leading at halftime.

Check out the final stats here and the live blog below.

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4:11 p.m. — HOLY FREAKING CRAP!

The enigmatic Cliff Tucker with the biggest shot of his career and one he will NEVER forget!

Maryland wins over Georgia Tech, 76-74!

4:09 p.m. — I have to say I’m absolutely stunned over the last few moments of this one. While you obviously understand the desire to call the timeout, this one will hurt that much more given the miracle shot from Vasquez that didn’t count.

4:08 p.m. – Favors scores on the putback to give Tech the lead.

Vasquez throws up a prayer and it goes in, but it won’t count as Maryland called the timeout.

0.9 seconds remaining, and Maryland will have a final shot. This would just be a devastating loss.

4:06 p.m. — Bell scores inside with little resistant to give Tech a 1-point lead with 19.3 seconds to go.

Can you say drama?

4:04 p.m. — How does Gregory miss that? On a side note, this crew clearly misses a travel, so perhaps that was the basketball gods’ way of balancing things out on that possession.

Timeout on the floor. Tech has the ball with 29.6 remaining and 26 seconds on the shot clock. Maryland leads by one.

4:02 p.m. — Following the Maryland timeout, Vasquez passes up the 3-point attempt and a wide-open Hayes DRILLS it to give the Terps a three-point lead. Brilliant execution coming out of the timeout.

Favors scores on the tip-in and Tech quickly calls a timeout.

3:59 p.m. — Did Hayes REALLY just make that? The margin for error on that shot was miniscule and that’s putting it kindly.

Gregory is called for the foul trying to tie up Lawal. Tough call there in that spot.

However, Lawal misses them both.

3:57 p.m. — Williams connects on the second free throw to tie the game.

Gregory is whistled for the foul, the ninth team foul. Favors connects on a pair to put Tech up, 68-66.

3:56 p.m. — What can you say about Jordan Williams’ effort today, and all year for that matter? Just a TREMENDOUS play right there by the freshman, and the crowd LOVES it.

3:55 p.m. — Bell goes to the line following the media timeout and cans 1-of-2.

Tucker cannot connect on another triple attempt, but Williams makes a HUGE play to grab the rebound and score in the paint. It’s a one-point lead for Tech.

3:51 p.m. — Just a HUGE shot by Tucker. I figured Vasquez would take it to the hole with the shot clock winding down, but the Jackets leave Tucker wide open.

We’ve reached the final media timeout of the second half with Georgia Tech leading Maryland, 65-63, with 3:54 remaining.

3:49 p.m. — Gary Williams just RIPPED off his jacket following that last offensive rebound by the Yellow Jackets. Then, D’Andre Bell hits the 3-ball to give Tech a 65-60 lead. Just unacceptable.

Timeout, Maryland.

3:47 p.m. — Shumpert hits a pair of free throws after the foul by Mosley to give Tech a two-point lead.

Milbourne misses the jumper from the elbow on the other end. Not sure I’m crazy about that shot so early in the possession given the way he’s played today.

3:44 p.m. — It will be very interesting to see how the Terps play in the final 6:33 of this one. The number of times they’ve had to grind out a win at home in the final minutes this season have been few and far between.

3:39 p.m. — Maryland is definitely getting some nice contributions from unlikely sources this afternoon. Gregory now has nine points while Bowie has hit his second triple of the afternoon.

However, Lawal just tied it up with a putback, tying the game at 58-58. We’ve reached the under-8 media timeout.

3:32 p.m. — We’ve reached the under-12 media timeout with 11:48 remaining. Maryland leads Georgia Tech, 51-46.

3:30 p.m. — Don’t like seeing the mental mistake by Gregory there. Too close of a game to blatantly give away a possession.

3:29 p.m. — I’m not sure how that’s not a foul on Peacock. I really don’t.

And I rarely complain about the officiating.

3:27 p.m. — With the shot clock winding down, Vasquez drives against Miller and draws the foul. Vasquez makes a pair, and the lead is up to five.

Gregory checks into the game as Shumpert scores on a second-chance opportunity.

3:23 p.m. — The crowd didn’t like that one, but Hayes clearly gave him a shove. That’s what happens though when you have a substandard crew. Every call from here on out will be scrutinized to put it mildly.

3:21 p.m. — We’ve reached the first media timeout of the second half with Maryland leading Tech, 43-40. The crowd is really letting Mike Eades, Roger Ayers, and Raymond Styons have it.

Not a good day for that crew to say the least, but it’s been bad all around.

3:19 p.m. — Is there any question Miller initiated the contact on that one? Perfect example of anticipating a call right there.

Milbourne FINALLY scores his first field goal of the afternoon.

3:16 p.m. — After missing the first, Milbourne finally gets on the board with his second attempt. He’s still 0-for-8 from the field in this one.

Hayes scores on the Terps’ next possession, and Williams displays some nice defensive work on the other end.

Vasquez gets around his man and scores on the baseline runner. However, Shumpert hits a jumper on the other end, and Hewitt quickly calls a timeout.

Maryland leads Georgia Tech, 41-37, with 16:32 remaining.

3:12 p.m. — Milbourne cannot buy a bucket at this point. The Terps then turn it over as Vasquez tries to get it to the forward on the inbound play. Lack of focus there, and it causes the turnover.

3:11 p.m. — Vasquez is way short on the 3-point attempt and then picks up a silly foul trying to take the ball away from Favors.

On the Terps’ next possession, Vasquez displays a beautiful spin and finds Williams for the layup. Beautifully orchestrated by the senior guard.

3:08 p.m. — We’re ready for the start of the second half, and I expect much of the same as we saw in the first 20 minutes. A very physical battle. Let’s hope Williams can stay out of foul trouble.

3:05 p.m. — Considering how badly the Terps were being outrebounded in the first eight minutes of the game, they’ve held their own since that point. Tech has the edge at 25-22 and has secured 10 offensive rebounds to eight for the Terps.

Favors has a game-high 11 points for the Jackets while Vasquez leads the Terps with 10 points at the break.

3:01 p.m. — Milbourne really struggled in the first half, shooting 0-for-5 and failing to register a point. We’ve seen him struggle against the bigger frontcourts of the conference before, and the first half was no exception.

2:55 p.m. — We’ve reached the end of the first half with Tech scoring the final four points before the break.

Maryland leads at halftime, 34-32.

2:48 p.m. — Mosley scores inside on the putback. He’s been a forgotten man on the offensive end lately to say the least.

Timeout on the floor with 1:06 remaining. Maryland leads Georgia Tech, 34-28.

2:40 p.m. — Williams just picked up his second foul as Lawal scores inside. It’s clear Gary Williams and the Terps are not pleased with a few of these foul calls in the first half. Maryland will need to manage inside without Williams for the remainder of the half.

Vasquez scores and is fouled, giving him nine points, as we reach the final media timeout of the first half. Maryland leads Georgia Tech, 30-27.

2:37 p.m. — I was just going to mention it’s been a quiet start for Eric Hayes, but he’s scored five points on Maryland’s last two possessions. He had a very rough night in Raleigh and was feeling under the weather.

2:36 p.m. — Mosley going inside against Favors is not a battle the sophomore from Baltimore is going to win. Not much you can do there.

Favors hits the shot and is fouled by Gregory who gave him a tiny push. He completes the three-point play, and the Yellow Jackets have the lead.

Following a Hayes miss, Mosley controls the rebound and Williams eventually scores on the putback. Maryland continues to really struggle in finding good shots out of its half-court offense.

2:31 p.m. — We’ve reached the under-8 media timeout with Maryland and Georgia Tech tied up, 18-18.

2:29 p.m. — Georgia Tech comes out of the timeout looking to press, but the Terps handle it well as Jordan Williams is fouled and will go to the line for a pair.

The frosh misses both and continues to struggle from the charity stripe. I still think Williams will eventually be a good free throw shooter—for a big man.

2:27 p.m. — We’ve reached our second media timeout with the Terps enjoying an 18-15 advantage over Georgia Tech. This one definitely hasn’t been an exhibition of great offense as the Jackets are shooting just 26 percent while Maryland is a little better at 36.8 percent.

2:24 p.m. — Adrian Bowie with a 3-pointer. I figured, after Wednesday night, his quota for triples was satisfied until March.

Nice to see him shooting the ball a little better. It’s been a rough season for him.

2:22 p.m. — Georgia Tech already has nine offensive rebounds in this one. The Jackets are just dominating the glass in the first eight minutes of this one.

The Terps will need a big day from Dino Gregory, and the junior has delivered in the last two possessions. The MONSTER dunk sends the students into a frenzy as Maryland takes a two-point lead.

2:20 p.m. — Despite all the trees in the Tech frontcourt, little Moe Miller just grabbed the offensive board and is fouled by Williams, sending the guard to the line.

He makes 1-of-2, but Maryland cannot grab the board and Shumpert hits the 3-pointer. Too many second-chance opportunities in the early going.

2:18 p.m. — Gary Williams was clearly unhappy during that last timeout, walking all the way out to the lane to question the jump ball call.

After a Milbourne missed 3-pointer, Jordan Williams cleans up the offensive glass and scores to tie the game at 4-4. Ugly start for both teams in this one.

However, as I type that last statement, Vasquez just hit a 3-ball to become the sixth player in Maryland history to eclipse the 2,000-point mark for his career. Just a brilliant, under-appreciated career for the senior from Venezuela here in College Park.

2:13 p.m. — Maryland is definitely off to a cold start shooting the basketball and is struggling inside against Tech’s big men. Almost to the first media timeout, and the Terps have a measly two points.

Favors and Williams just got tangled up battling for the rebound, and the officials rule a jump ball to the displeasure of the Comcast Crowd.

We’ve reached the first media timeout with Maryland trailing Georgia Tech, 4-2.

2:10 p.m. — Williams is matched up against Lawal instead of Favors, and the Jackets’ leading scorer curls around him for the inside bucket. It should be interesting to see how Milbourne holds up against the imposing Favors.

2:06 p.m. — Very odd to see Georgia Tech wearing white considering it’s the road team, but as mentioned before, the Terps are again wearing the gold threads at Comcast.

Tech controls the opening tip but cannot score on two different shot attempts. On the other end, Vasquez may have gotten away with the travel but scores on the runner.

2:02 p.m. — As I mentioned this morning on the Fantasy Flavor with Thyrl Nelson, I expect a great battle between Derrick Favors and Jordan Williams this afternoon. Favors got off to a fast start and has garnered more national attention, but Williams has clearly been one of the top freshmen in the conference.

1:57 p.m. — Lost in the hype of today’s game is the great respect between Gary Williams and Paul Hewitt. Both coaches just spent a few minutes chatting after Williams walked onto the court.

1:50 p.m. — The pregame festivities are underway, and Lefty Driesell just accompanied honorary captain Larry Gibson to the floor.

1:48 p.m. — Here are today’s starting lineups:

Georgia Tech
G Iman Shumpert
G Glen Rice, Jr.
G D’Andre Bell
F Derrick Favors
F Gani Lawal

Maryland
G Eric Hayes
G Greivis Vasquez
G Sean Mosley
F Landon Milbourne
F Jordan Williams

1:46 p.m. — In what should come as no surprise at this point in conference play, the Terps will again wear the gold uniforms.

This ends your one and only fashion update for the entire afternoon.

1:40 p.m. — Good afternoon from College Park as the Terps (18-7, 8-3 ACC) prepare to host Paul Hewitt’s Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (18-8, 6-6) at 2:00 p.m.

Maryland will play its fourth game in eight days, coming off a 67-58 victory at NC State on Wednesday night in which the Terps came back from a 12-point deficit in the second half. Greivis Vasquez scored a game-high 26 points to lead the comeback, but Jordan Williams provided a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds to control the paint against the Wolfpack.

Vasquez will have the opportunity to secure another milestone in his brilliant career, needing only five points to become the sixth player in Maryland history to eclipse the 2,000-point mark. In doing so, the senior from Caracas, Venezuela would become the first ACC player ever to reach 2,000 points, 700 assists, and 600 rebounds for his career.

A victory would clinch a winning conference record for the Terps and would push them a step closer to a first-round bye in the ACC tournament. A 10-6 conference record is generally considered to be the mark needed to secure a tournament bid. Of course, the ACC tournament could skew things a bit, but Maryland is unquestionably in great shape here on the 20th of February.

Georgia Tech has followed an inconsistent pattern throughout the season despite an imposing frontcourt of Gani Lawal (14.0 ppg, 9.5 rpg) and freshman standout Derrick Favors (11.1 ppg, 8.2 rpg). Georgia Tech has lost three of five and does not want to fall below the .500 mark in the final quarter of the conference schedule. The Yellow Jackets have struggled in the backcourt, a problem Maryland hopes to exploit this afternoon.

In addition to its guard struggles, Georgia Tech has struggled mightily on the road in conference play with its lone victory coming against North Carolina on Jan. 16. Couple that with Maryland’s 5-0 ACC home record (12-1 overall), and it figures to be a sizable task for Paul Hewitt’s squad to win at Comcast Center this afternoon.

This afternoon’s game will be televised by Raycom (WNUV-TV 54 in Baltimore) with Tim Brant and Cory Alexander calling the action.

As always, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) where Glenn Clark and other WNST personalities will provide insight throughout the afternoon.

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Terps perk up in 2nd half to down NC State, 67-58

Posted on 17 February 2010 by Luke Jones

Playing its third game in five days, Maryland looked every bit like a tired team for the first 25 minutes against an inferior NC State team on Wednesday night.

Poor shooting, turnovers, and sloppy defense positioned the Terps firmly on the ropes against the worst team in the Atlantic Coast Conference. It had the potential to be one of those unacceptable losses Maryland has suffered on occasion over the last few seasons.

But thanks to some unlikely contributions and a rejuvenated defense, Maryland awoke in the game’s final 15 minutes to capture a 67-58 win at NC State on Wednesday night.

While senior Greivis Vasquez anchored the comeback, scoring 10 of Maryland’s final 17 points en route to a 26-point evening, the problem was finding offense from the usual suspects. Normally reliable scorers, Landon Milbourne, Eric Hayes, and Sean Mosley combined for just 12 points on 5-for-22 shooting.

The Terps (18-7, 8-3 ACC) instead turned to two others, a sensational freshman transforming into a force before our very eyes and a reserve guard having the most disappointing season of any player on the roster, for critical scoring to stave off defeat and pull into a second-place tie with Virginia Tech in the ACC.

Jordan Williams may not overwhelm audiences with highlight-reel dunks, but his mature work inside the paint continues to be the biggest reason for the Terps’ resurgence this season. The freshman was outstanding against the Wolfpack, matching a career-high 19 points and snatching 11 rebounds to control the low post in the second half.

Starting at the 9:00 mark of the second half, Williams scored seven points in a four-minute span that would help swing the game from a one-point Wolfpack lead to a 58-51 Maryland advantage after sinking a free throw with 5:03 remaining.

Though only averaging 8.4 points per game entering Wednesday night, Williams has now reached double-digit scoring in four of the last six games. The big man continues to grow more confident in the half-court offense and has clearly established himself as one of the top freshmen in the ACC.

Before Williams’ spurt, Maryland struggled to stay in the game and desperately needed outside shooting with Hayes being a non-factor. Adrian Bowie—shooting just 24 percent from 3-point range and struggling mightily all season—answered the call with two of the biggest shots of the game—and his entire season.

His 3-pointer with 11:16 remaining cut the deficit to one, the closest the Terps had been since a 17-17 tie. A few moments later, with NC State threatening to regain momentum by pushing the lead back to six, Bowie connected from behind the arc again, igniting a 16-2 run from which the Wolfpack never recovered.

For Bowie, it’s arguably the highlight of a difficult junior campaign. The Monstrose Christian product who started 28 games last season rose to the occasion on a night when little was working from the perimeter.

Of course, the Terps’ comeback efforts were aided by frigid shooting from their opponent as NC State managed just one field goal and seven points in the final 9:52 of the game. Credit the Maryland defense, but it certainly helped that the Wolfpack completely crumbled after relinquishing a 12-point lead.

It wasn’t a pretty win, and concerns still remain such as the disappearance of Sean Mosley in the offense. The Baltimore sophomore has now failed to reach double digits in his last six games and has only reached the mark twice in ACC play.

Wednesday’s effort won’t beat many teams, but the Terps did exactly what they needed to do to pull out the road win despite not playing their best basketball.

Even the best teams have clunkers, but the mark of a quality team is being able to find production from role players when some of your starters aren’t performing.

It’s the difference between an ugly win and an unacceptable loss.

Yes, Maryland still lacks that sparkling win that opens the eyes of the rest of the country, but the Terps continue to beat the teams they’re supposed to beat.

Even if they’re not at their best.

Check out the final stats here and the live blog below.

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10:57 p.m. — It wasn’t pretty or even much fun, but Vasquez and Williams lead the Terps to a 67-58 victory in Raleigh.

I’ll take it, and I’m sure you will too.

Back soon with the post-game wrap.

10:55 p.m. — Mays hits a triple to cut the deficit to seven with 1:03 remaining. Too little, too late for the Wolfpack.

When you look how poorly Sidney Lowe’s team has played in the second half, you understand how alarming it was for the Terps to be down by as many as 12.

10:53 p.m. — You think Vasquez is feeling it just a little bit right now? Coast-to-coast.

And a great defensive play by Mosley gives the Terps the ball with an eight-point lead and two minutes to go. Have to be feeling good about this one considering how poor the first 25 minutes were.

10:50 p.m. — 21 points and six dimes for Vasquez. Despite a lull late in the first half, he’s been everything you need from your leader in a tight game in which you’re not playing well.

10:47 p.m. — We’ve reached our final media timeout of the night with the Terps feeling much better about themselves and holding a 58-51 lead.

10:45 p.m. — It’s all coming together for the Terps as the defensive intensity is there, and NC State cannot BUY a bucket.

I think Herb Sendek was still at State the last time the Pack scored a bucket.

10:40 p.m. — We saw a similar comeback to tonight’s at Clemson earlier in the year. The Terps did not, however, have enough steam to hold on at Littlejohn.

The comeback came right around at the same time as tonight’s too.

10:37 p.m. — Who else but Vasquez? It’s what you’ve come to expect from the brilliant senior.

Jordan Williams having a huge second half for the Terps as NC State is just crumbling and now trails by four.

10:34 p.m. — Did Adrian Bowie invest in some new shooting tapes? You know you’re desperate when you’re counting on him for long-range shooting.

10:31 p.m. — Horner sticks the 3-ball, giving him 17 points. That one hurts.

He’s absolutely killing the Terps tonight.

10:28 p.m. — Adrian Bowie. Just HUGE!

10:25 p.m. — Nice runner by Vasquez to give him 16 points. The Terps have cut it to six, and you have to like the improved energy on the defensive end.

However, can anyone do anything offensively with Vasquez getting a breather?

10:21 p.m. — Jordan Williams is clearly struggling from the line tonight, but the potential is there to be a good free throw shooter. He has a good stroke, but his confidence is lacking big-time.

Did he just bank one in? Seriously?

10:17 p.m. — Hey, Dennis Horner is standing underneath the basket!

Guess they didn’t hear me.

We’ve seen the Terps shoot poorly on the road before, but the lack of energy on the defensive end of the floor is quite apparent.

10:14 p.m. — If the first two minutes of the second half is any indication, this is going to be a LONG night.

As I type that, Vasquez throws up a prayer of a 3-point attempt and it goes in. Maybe that will get them going.

10:10 p.m. — The Terps are now 1-for-6 from beyond the arc tonight. Typical road shooting woes.

10:08 p.m. — The Terps force the turnover on State’s first possession but turn it over themselves on the other end.

It’s critical for Maryland to start out strong if a comeback is in the cards.

10:05 p.m. — Maryland is 1-7 when trailing at the half this season and 1-3 in the ACC. The Terps’ comeback from a halftime deficit came at Florida State.

9:52 p.m. — We’ve thankfully reached the end of the first half. Maryland trails NC State, 37-27.

Listless. Uninspiring. Comatose.

Which adjective do you prefer?

9:49 p.m. — I’m at a loss for words right now. I really am.

Credit NC State, but it’s not like the Pack is playing out of their minds either.

9:46 p.m. — Fatigue is definitely playing a part in this one, but the effort just hasn’t been there tonight. Not playing smart basketball.

The Terps need to keep this one to a single-digit deficit before the intermission.

9:44 p.m. — Anyone ever see Philip Seymour Hoffman play basketball in Along Came Polly? Maryland’s shooting closely resembles his right now.

Ug-ly.

9:40 p.m. — Is Maryland TRYING to miss these easy shots?

9:36 p.m. — Maryland is just sleepwalking right now. A 9-0 run gives the Wolfpack a 24-17 lead before Vasquez ends the scoring drought.

This is looking like one of those games where Vasquez might have to carry the Terps.

9:32 p.m. — Williams with another miss at the basket. He’s got to finish some of those opportunities.

Cliff Tucker certainly won’t earn more minutes with two shot attempts like what we just saw.

Maryland looking lethargic tonight, and two turnovers and NC State field goals will confirm that theory.

9:27 p.m. — Scott Wood almost shattered the backboard with that shot attempt. Easy, big fella.

Another early entry into the game for James Padgett, as it appears Gary Williams is more confident in going with the frontcourt of Dino Gregory and the frosh.

9:25 p.m. — Adrian Bowie is in the game and just attempted a 20-footer. Not exactly what you want.

In addition to Vasquez, Milbourne is off to a quick start too as we reach the second media timeout with Maryland leading the Wolfpack by two.

9:22 p.m. — You think Vasquez is in the zone again?

Meanwhile, the Terps have given up second-chance points on two straight possessions. Can’t let that happen.

9:19 p.m. — Maryland continues to show the press, and State is definitely having some issues with it, having to call a timeout a couple possessions ago and nearly turning it over in the backcourt.

9:14 p.m. — Great ball movement by the Terps on that last possession as Vasquez finds Williams in the paint, but the big man is fouled and will go to the line for two.

We’re tied 7-7 with 15:54 remaining at the first media timeout.

9:11 p.m. — Vasquez with the early triple. Nice start from the perimeter for the Terps. Maryland’s road shooting woes are well-documented (see below).

Degand takes advantage of some confusion and takes it to the bucket.

9:09 p.m. — Nice vision up-court by Vasquez to find Milbourne, and the Terps have the early 2-0 lead after a couple empty possessions from each side.

Very important to start fast in this one.

9:07 p.m. — One last friendly reminder for the tip: the start of tonight’s game can only be seen on Comcast SportsNet-Plus due to that group of players wearing Wizards jerseys. Who are they?

Comcast SportsNet will pick up the action in progress immediately after the Wizards game.

9:04 p.m. — Here are tonight’s starters:

Maryland
G Eric Hayes
G Greivis Vasquez
G Sean Mosley
F Landon Milbourne
F Jordan Williams

NC State
G Javier Gonzalez
G Farnold Degand
F Scott Wood
F Tracy Smith
F Dennis Horner

8:45 p.m. — Good evening from the Jones headquarters as we await the start of Maryland-NC State at 9:00 p.m. The Terps (17-7, 7-3 ACC) will play their third game in five days by traveling to Raleigh to take on the last-place Wolfpack (14-12, 2-9 ACC) at the RBC Center.

Maryland rebounded from its disappointing loss at Duke against Virginia on Monday night, breezing to a 85-66 win at Comcast Center. Greivis Vasquez played one of the finest games of his career in a 30-point effort, 25 of those coming in the first half against the Cavaliers.

This one certainly looks like a mismatch on paper, but the Terps must come out focused to fight off fatigue due to the aforementioned stretch. In the teams’ first meeting on Jan. 23, the Wolfpack managed to hang around in the first half before getting blown out by the Terps after the intermission and falling 88-64 in Gary Williams’ 1,000 career game.

NC State has lost its last six conference games—most recently to lowly North Carolina (I love saying that). During the stretch, State’s only win has come against lowly independent North Carolina Central. In fact, the Terps were responsible in starting the losing streak for the Wolfpack after Sidney Lowe’s team had upset Duke on Jan. 20 before taking on the Terps in College Park.

With only five games remaining on its conference schedule, the Wolfpack is clearly in desperation mode as its season continues to spiral downward over the last four weeks. Forward Tracy Smith has been the Pack’s most consistent player, scoring 17.5 points per game and grabbing just over eight rebounds a contest.

Despite the success the Terps have enjoyed in conference play, their shooting woes away from Comcast Center continue to be a concern with postseason play and neutral-court sights fast approaching. In their five conference road games, Maryland has shot 32.8 percent (22-67) from beyond the arc. It looks even worse when you examine the last three road contests against Clemson, Florida State, and Duke where the Terps have shot a wretched 18.9 percent (7-37) from the 3-point line.

While it’s not surprising for a team to struggle with its shooting on the road, in contrast, Maryland has made 49.3 percent of its shots (36-73) in five conference games at Comcast. Quite the difference.

In looking at the coaching matchup, to say Williams has Lowe’s number would be an understatement as the Terps are 6-0 against the Wolfpack since Lowe took over the program in 2007.

With Maryland having the far superior backcourt and the better-dressed coach—be sure to shield your eyes when the camera shifts to Lowe’s scarlet jacket—you wouldn’t think the Terps will have TOO much difficulty in this one, even being on the road.

Tonight’s game can be seen on Comcast SportsNet-Plus at 9:00 p.m. Keep in mind, with the Wizards-Timberwolves game currently being played, Comcast SportsNet will join the Maryland game in progress immediately following the happenings at the Verizon Center.

And yes, I know what you’re thinking. “Who even plays for the Wizards these days, and why are we being subjected to that?” Yes, I agree, so hopefully you’ll stay right here throughout the evening.

As always, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) as Terps aficionado Glenn Clark and other WNST personalities will be chiming in with their thoughts throughout the night.

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Vasquez’s huge night leads Terps to 85-66 win over Virginia

Posted on 15 February 2010 by Luke Jones

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Maryland had no time to dwell on the aftermath of the humbling loss at Duke when faced with playing its second game in three days.

After all, Virginia was coming off a tough loss of its own at Virginia Tech on Saturday night and was playing its second game in 48 hours, both on the road.

A short memory and a return to Comcast Center was just what the Terps needed as they rebounded to roll over the Cavaliers, 85-66, on Monday night.

Oh, and a banner night from their leader certainly helped the effort.

“I thought we came out pretty strong as a team,” Greivis Vasquez said. “We got it going early.”

To say Vasquez—and the Terps—got it going early would be an understatement as the senior guard exploded for 25 points in the first half, shooting 10-for-13 from the field to push the Terps to a 18-point halftime edge. In all, Vasquez accounted for 36 of the team’s 52 first-half points after dishing out five assists that led to 11 points.

It was the polar opposite of the two-point first half from the senior in his last game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

No matter who Virginia coach Tony Bennett assigned to guard the Terps’ leading scorer—as many as six different players matched up against Vasquez at different points in the game—the Cavaliers had no answers as Vasquez matched a season high of 30 points while also grabbing eight rebounds to improve Maryland’s home record to 12-1 for the season and a perfect 5-0 in conference play.

“I think he got all of his shots tonight as part of the offense, and he didn’t really force anything and when he does that he is really effective,” coach Gary Williams said. “He is such a great passer too, so when they started double-teaming him, he found the open man every time.”

Fellow senior Landon Milbourne—responding from a miserable, season-low two-point performance at Duke—scored 14 points while freshman Jordan Williams posted his fourth double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Maryland controlled the paint throughout the night, outscoring the Cavaliers 40-26 and outrebounding them 42-28.

“We wanted to go inside a lot more tonight and play close to the basket,” Gary Williams said about his frontcourt and the play of the freshman big man. “Tonight [Williams] got the ball in great positions and what he does best is that he is persistent.”

It was a competitive game in the first 11 minutes as an 8-0 run by Virginia cut the Terps’ first-half advantage to 24-21 with 9:04 to play before Maryland (17-7, 7-3) exploded on an 11-0 run to push the lead to 14 points. The Cavaliers (14-9, 5-5) would never recover on their way to a third loss in a row.

The Terps will continue its current stretch of three games in five days as they travel to Raleigh to take on NC State on Wednesday night. Following the win against Virginia, players were already shifting their focus to the Wolfpack and an opportunity to sweep the season series after winning the first meeting on Jan. 23.

“It’s going to take a lot of focus, a lot of mental preparation,” said Milbourne, who stressed the importance of being focused on NC State immediately during practice on Wednesday.

– Maryland has won its last four league home games by an average of 21.0 points. The Terps have won six in a row at Comcast Center.

– The Terps connected on 56.3 percent of their field goal attempts against the Cavaliers, their second-best mark of the season with only a 56.9 percent clip against Winston-Salem State besting Monday’s performance.

– Vasquez’s 30-point outing was the fourth 30-point game of his career, ranking him sixth on the career list at Maryland. Walt Williams is the all-time leader with 15 30-point games to his credit.

– Senior Eric Hayes has now made 20 consecutive free throws, a streak that started on Jan. 3 against UNC Greensboro. He went 1-for-1 from the charity stripe against the Cavaliers.

– Maryland shot 4-for-8 from beyond the arc, continuing its fine long-range shooting at Comcast Center.

In five conference home games, the Terps are shooting 49.3 percent from the 3-point line. In contrast, Maryland has shot just 32.8 percent from beyond the arc in its five ACC road games.

– Virginia suffered its largest margin of defeat for the season (19). The Cavaliers’ largest defeat had been a 66-49 defeat to USF on Nov. 16 for Monday’s loss.

“[The Terps] run their stuff hard, and they had something to prove after their tough loss, but they won,” Bennett said. “Any category you want to put up, they got it, as far as positive categories.”

Check out the final stats here and the live blog below.

___________________________________________

9:47 p.m. — This one’s in the books. Maryland wins it, 85-66.

Back soon with the post-game wrap.

9:45 p.m. — Levent scores coming off the screen. Great to see that.

One minute to go in this one.

9:43 p.m. — Here comes David Pearman and Ersin Levent to the score table. The fans are now chanting for Jerome Burney to enter the game.

9:40 p.m. — In case you had any doubts, Greivis Vasquez has been named tonight’s player of the game at Comcast Center. I’d say 30 points and eight rebounds is worthy of the honor, wouldn’t you?

9:38 p.m. — Milbourne hits a baseline jumper to give him 14 for the night.

We’ve reached the final media timeout of the evening with Maryland leading the Cavaliers, 83-54.

9:36 p.m. — While it’s certainly nice to be leading by 27 points with under 5:00 remaining in this one, it’s even better that Gary Williams has been able to spread out the minutes. With a trip to Raleigh in 48 hours, it’s nice to see Vasquez and company not have to play an extensive number of minutes.

Vasquez goes to the bench, presumably for the night, with 4:54 to go in this one.

9:34 p.m. — Milbourne scores again to give him 12 for the game. Not a sparkling performance but certainly a strong bounce-back from his outing in Durham.

On the next possession, Mosley travels. The Baltimore native has not scored in this one.

9:31 p.m. — We’ve reached the under-8 media timeout with Maryland pushing the lead to 27 points and leading the Cavaliers, 75-48.

9:29 p.m. — The season-high allowed by Virginia all year is 76 points. With a Vasquez three, the Terps now have 75 points.

9:27 p.m. — Padgett gets swarmed in the paint but decides to throw a wild shot toward the basket anyway. I’m sure Gary Williams will chat with him about that possession a little later.

Gregory scores plus the foul. He’s have a quality game off the bench and now has six points on the night.

9:25 p.m. — Bowie just picked up his third foul. I forgot he was even playing tonight. It’s amazing comparing how much he contributed a season ago to what he’s done to this point in the season. Night and day.

9:23 p.m. — With Maryland leading by 23 points with 10:59 remaining, I wanted to point out the Terps already have three ACC victories of 20+ points against NC State, Miami, and North Carolina.

Regardless of the ACC being down this year, this is a very impressive stat.

9:22 p.m. — Gregory shows the nice jump hook in the paint off the feed from Bowie.

Vasquez returns to the floor, but Virginia will take a timeout. After scoring 25 in the first half, Vasquez has yet to score after intermission, but it’s not like the Terps have needed him.

9:18 p.m. — We’ve reached the under-12 media timeout with Maryland in complete control, 65-44.

9:17 p.m. — Tucker’s triple gives the Terps a 19-point lead.

Padgett has checked into the game and just dunked home a missed shot, drawing the huge cheers from the Maryland crowd. It’s been interesting to see the Terps go with a frontcourt of Padgett and Gregory on a couple different occasions tonight.

9:14 p.m. — Landesberg gets inside and scores on the layup but then immediately picks up his third foul. Maryland finds the open shooter against the Virginia zone, but Hayes cannot hit the triple from the corner.

Following the Virginia miss, Tucker with a nice pass running in transition to find Milbourne for the lay-in. The senior forward now has 10 for the game.

9:09 p.m. — Very unselfish play by Vasquez on the fast break as he gives it to Williams who is fouled and will go to the line for two.

We’ve reached the first media timeout of the second half with Maryland maintaining the same 18-point advantage it enjoyed at the break. Terps lead the Cavaliers, 58-40.

9:07 p.m. — Nice effort by Sean Mosley to keep the possession alive off the Vasquez miss. Following another miss, Williams cleans up the glass and scores. He has six in the half already.

9:05 p.m. — Williams with the jump hook over Heyinsse to give the Terps a 22-point lead. He now has nine for the game.

Greivis who?

9:04 p.m. — We’ve started the second half and Williams scores inside off the assist from Hayes. On the other end, Williams ERASES the shot from Zeglinski.

Great start to the second half for the freshman big.

9:02 p.m. — The teams are back on the floor to warm up for the second half, and the big story for the second half will be how many more Vasquez can score. After scoring 25 points in the first half, he can eclipse his season high of 30 against Wake Forest, career high of 35 against North Carolina, the Comcast Center record of 35 (which Vasquez shares with Nik Caner-Medley), and the Maryland record of 44 set by the great Ernie Graham.

We’ll see what the senior guard can do.

8:55 p.m. — Despite the Terps holding a very comfortable 18-point lead, it’s important to point out Virginia’s second-half success this season. The Cavaliers are 5-3 this season when trailing at the half, the most wins in the ACC with no other teams recording more than three wins when trailing at the break.

Of course, an 18-point lead is a much different story as the Cavaliers’ biggest comeback from a half-time deficit came against Cleveland State when they trailed by seven at the break.

8:50 p.m. — We’ve reached the end of the first half with Maryland thoroughly in control against the Cavaliers. The Terps lead 52-34 with Vasquez leading the way with 25 points. Unbelievable.

8:44 p.m. — Hayes picks up the foul on Jones, sending him to the line for 1-and-1. Jones hits both to cut the lead to 16 points.

The Terps throw it away on the other end. One of the few mistakes we’ve seen here in the first half. By my count, that’s only the fifth turnover of the half for Maryland.

8:42 p.m. — Milbourne hits the mid-range jumper to give him eight for the half, and Maryland leads 48-30 before Landesberg hits the jumper on the other end.

Quite the offensive output as the Terps have doubled their first-half total from Saturday (24).

8:40 p.m. — Vasquez scores again to give him 23 in the first half. His season-high is 30 and career-high is 35. At this rate, he may have it before the first media timeout of the second half.

8:38 p.m. — Former Terp and Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis is in attendance tonight, and he has to love this first-half effort from the Terps.

8:36 p.m. — Hayes comes off the screen and hits the jumper at the foul line. He now has eight points in the first half.

For Virginia, Scott just hit a bucket, but he needs some help from Landesberg to keep the Wahoos in it.

Vasquez with a 3-ball, giving him 21 points in the first half. Unbelievable 17 minutes of basketball for the senior from Caracas!

8:34 p.m. — Maryland continues to do an outstanding job on Landesberg, as he hasn’t really been much of a factor other than one early bucket.

Williams is fouled going up for the shot in the paint and will go to the line. After missing the first, he’s perfect on the second, and Maryland’s lead has grown to 14 points.

It’s quite a different energy level than what we saw during the first half in Durham.

8:29 p.m. — I apologize for the delay in updates as I was dealing with some network issues here on press row. We’ve seen much of the same as when I left off as Vasquez is having an incredible night with 18 points already in the first half. His career high is 35 points against North Carolina last season.

Maryland has gone on an extended run, and now leads 34-21 with 6:26 remaining.

8:17 p.m. — James Padgett has checked in early and immediately contributes an offensive rebound, leading to an easy scoring chance for Vasquez. Nice to see the frosh get some early minutes in this one.

We’ve reached the second media timeout of the evening with Maryland leading the Cavaliers, 20-13 with 11:30 remaining.

8:15 p.m. — Vasquez hits a pair of freebies to give him 10 points already. On the Terps next possession, Milbourne throws down a thunderous dunk.

Dino Gregory has checked in for his first action and picks up the foul against Scott. The Maryland bench clearly wanted a walk on that one.

8:12 p.m. — With Vasquez having nearly a half-foot advantage on Zeglinski, it’s clear he’ll want to take the ball inside as much as possible.

Following a Milbourne bucket, old friend Jeff Jones hits a jumper for the Cavaliers.

8:09 p.m. — Mosley will clearly have a tough battle against Landesberg, but he got the best of that last possession as Virginia’s star is whistled for the push-off, turning it back over to the Terps.

We’ve reached our first media timeout with Maryland leading 10-5 with 15:58 to go.

Quite a different start for Vasquez, as the senior already has six points in this one after scoring only two in the first half at Duke.

8:08 p.m. — Milbourne is matched up against Scott who holds a definite size advantage over the senior forward. As I type that, Scott grabs the offensive board and is fouled going up by Williams.

Scott hits a pair of free throws to cut the Terps’ early lead to three points.

8:05 p.m. — Vasquez scores inside again, and the Terps are doing a fine job crashing the boards in the early going. Following another Virginia miss, Vasquez scores inside to give Maryland a 6-0 lead.

Landesberg answers with a 3-pointer to get the Cavaliers on the board. The Wahoos will need a big game from him tonight.

8:02 p.m. — Milbourne faces off against Meyinsse to get this one started, and Maryland controls the tip.

The Terps work it around the arc before Milbourne hits a mid-range jumper to give the Terps the early lead. Following the miss by Scott on the other end, Maryland tries to get it inside quickly to Jordan Williams, but he cannot handle the pass.

7:51 p.m. — Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

Virginia
G Jontel Evans
G Sammy Zeglinski
G Sylven Landesberg
F Mike Scott
F Jerome Meyinsse

Maryland
G Eric Hayes
G Greivis Vasquez
G Sean Mosley
F Landon Milbourne
F Jordan Williams

7:48 p.m. — Johnny Rhodes is tonight’s honorary captain, one of my all-time favorite Terps.

Maryland leads Virginia in the all-time series, 103-67. The two teams have split the series the last two season with both holding serve on their home courts in back-to-back years.

7:44 p.m. — For those of you belonging to the Jerome Burney fan club, he is once again dressed to play and warming up. As Gary Williams reiterated on Sunday, Burney is little more than an insurance policy for the Maryland frontcourt. The 6-foot-9 junior was serving as the assistant strength and conditioning coach this season after chronic foot issues were believed to have ended his Maryland career.

7:30 p.m. — Good evening from Comcast Center as the Terps (26-7, 6-3 ACC) look to rebound quickly from a humbling defeat at Duke on Saturday when they take on the Virginia Cavaliers (14-8, 5-4 ACC) at 8:00 p.m.

Both teams are in the midst of a brutal stretch, with Maryland playing its second of three games over a five-day stretch. After falling to Duke 77-56 on Saturday afternoon, the Terps host the Cavaliers this evening before traveling to Raleigh to take on NC State on Wednesday night. Despite the predicament of playing two games in three days, the Terps getting back on the court after the meltdown at Duke may be the best thing for them—against Virginia anyway. It remains to be seen how much Maryland will have left in the tank against the Wolfpack on Sunday night.

Not to be outdone, the Cavaliers are also playing their second game in three days after falling at Virginia Tech on Saturday evening, 61-55. Virginia is in the middle of a five-game stretch in 11 days, with four of those coming on the road in four different states.

Despite dropping their last two games, the Cavaliers are having a surprising season under new head coach Tony Bennett. Virginia began the conference schedule by winning its first three games before dropping four of its last six and finding itself in fifth place, just a game behind Maryland.

Junior guard Sylven Landesberg continues to etch a spot as one of the best players in the ACC, scoring 18.0 points per game (tied for third in the ACC with Greivis Vasquez) and twice being named ACC Player of the Week.

Landesberg gets help in the frontcourt from fellow junior Mike Scott who averages 13.4 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. The Terps must also be aware of senior forward Jerome Meyinsee, who at 6-foot-9 could provide a challenge in the paint. While the Cavaliers may not provide the same imposing size as the Blue Devils (and the one whose name rhymes with “Brew-beck”), but the Terps cannot allow second-chance opportunities in tonight’s game.

Virginia also does an impeccable job taking care of the basketball, ranking seventh in the nation in fewest turnovers a game at 10.6 per contest.

I do expect the Virginia backcourt of Jontel Evans (5-foot-11) and Sammy Zeglinski (6-foot) to struggle against Maryland’s taller guards. Vasquez was on the Comcast floor earlier in the evening working on his inside game, perhaps a sign of things to come against the Cavaliers.

Maryland will certainly hope to rebound from its poor shooting effort in Durham. The Terps have shot a remarkable .492 from 3-point range in four conference home games this season while shooting just .328 in five road games. In the Terps’ last three conference road games (Duke, Florida State, and Clemson), they’ve shot just 7-for-37 from beyond the arc, a putrid .189 clip.

Tonight’s game is the makeup from the snowed-out meeting scheduled for Feb. 10. And what more would you expect than more snow in the forecast for this evening? Thankfully, the forecast lacks the punch of our last two storms, and I have already safely arrived at press row.

The Terps will once again don the gold uniforms in tonight’s contest against the Wahoos. At this point, can we really call them “alternate” uniforms?

And as I’m sure you’re well aware, tonight’s game will only be shown on ESPN360, otherwise known as the flagship station of Maryland Terrapins football (and yes, I know that joke has been used already, but I still like it!). If you’re able to access 360, Quint Kessenich and Dwight Freeman will have the call.

If you’re unable to access 360, stay right here at WNST.net, as you’re always encouraged to comment at the bottom of the page. Of course, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) as Glenn Clark and other WNST personalities will chime in with analysis and thoughts throughout the evening.

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Duke frontcourt flattens Terps, 77-56

Posted on 13 February 2010 by Luke Jones

Even with the impressive play of Jordan Williams in the Maryland frontcourt this season, it still figured to be a struggle for the Terps against Duke’s imposing size.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski knew it too and started 7-foot-1 Brian Zoubek for the first time all season, giving the Blue Devils an even bigger lineup against the Terps. Zoubek responded with a career-high 16 points and 17 rebounds, manhandling an overmatched Maryland frontcourt to lead the Blue Devils to a 77-56 victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday.

Duke (21-4, 9-2 ACC) dominated the paint throughout the afternoon as Maryland couldn’t get around screens, leading to easy inside opportunities for the Blue Devils. In contrast, the Maryland offense struggled to find open looks all afternoon and even when the opportunities came, the Terps failed to take advantage.

“We didn’t play well enough, and basically, that was the game,” coach Gary Williams said after the the loss.

A simple explanation, but there wasn’t much more the coach could say after his team was outplayed in every facet of the game.

Duke controlled the glass (39-34), played smarter basketball (seven turnovers to 14 for Maryland), and showed more energy throughout the afternoon. Jon Scheyer led the Blue Devils with 22 points as they took control of the ACC standings.

Maryland (16-7, 6-3 ACC) needed to lean on its senior leadership in a hostile environment, but it never surfaced in Durham.

After claiming Cameron Indoor Stadium was his “house” earlier in the week, Greivis Vasquez was held to just two points in the first half and did not get on track until after the intermission. It was far from the final performance he envisioned heading into Saturday.

Fellow senior Landon Milbourne was eaten alive by the Duke frontcourt, finishing with two points on 1-for-6 shooting.

Looking to avenge a humiliating 85-44 loss a year ago in Durham, the Terps briefly held a 6-5 lead but never again led as things quickly unraveled from there.

A near seven-minute scoring drought and 13-0 run by the Blue Devils created a 40-24 deficit at the break. Shooting 0-for-7 from 3-point range and failing to attempt a free throw in the first half certainly didn’t help the Terps’ efforts in Krzyzewski’s 1,000th career game at Duke.

Despite being thoroughly dominated for most of the game, Maryland cut the deficit to 54-44 as a rejuvenated Vasquez briefly took over the game before Duke went on a 13-1 run to seal the Terps’ fate. Vasquez finished with 17 points and seven rebounds in the loss.

As one-sided as it appeared—and really was—Duke left the door open on several occasions for the Terps to climb back in the game, but Maryland simply wasn’t good enough.

Not even close.

The loss continues a disturbing trend as the Terps again struggled to shoot the basketball away from Comcast Center. Maryland shot 37.7 percent from the field and finished just 2-for-13 from 3-point range while Duke shot 41.5 percent and made 5-of-15 from beyond the arc.

The Terps cannot afford to feel sorry for themselves long as they’ll return to College Park to host Virginia on Monday night in a makeup game from last week’s snowstorm. Today’s loss starts a five-day stretch that includes three games, the final game coming at NC State on Wednesday night.

“I expect [the team] to come into practice tomorrow and play great,” Williams said. “I don’t expect any carryover from this.”

Check out the final stats right here.

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Terps no longer feeling like underdogs against Duke

Posted on 12 February 2010 by Luke Jones

Sitting with reporters immediately following a convincing win over North Carolina last Sunday, Greivis Vasquez spoke candidly—if not with a sliver of irritability—after several questions about the significance of beating North Carolina.

“Yeah, we won last year, and it was a huge win when everybody was against us,” the senior said after scoring 26 points against the Tar Heels. “But now it means a lot because we’re good. Everybody was expecting us to win, and that’s the way it should be.”

Vasquez reminded everyone that the Terps were 6-2 in the ACC while North Carolina was only 2-6 (now 2-7). It was a far cry from the unexpected 88-85 overtime victory over the eventual national champions a year ago.

To say Maryland (16-6, 6-2 ACC) has relished the underdog role in recent years would paint an incomplete picture. With deficiencies in the frontcourt and doubts surrounding Gary Williams’ ability to recruit top-notch talent to College Park in recent years, the Terps played the part out of necessity.

The mere thought of an upset against the Dukes and—until this season—North Carolinas of the college basketball world was more dependent on smoke and mirrors and near-perfect performances than the Terps simply playing their brand of basketball.

But this season, led by a triumvirate of senior captains (Vasquez, Landon Milbourne, and Eric Hayes) and the arrival of freshman Jordan Williams, arguably the best post player at Maryland since Lonny Baxter, the Terps expect to win every time they walk on the floor and have won quite convincingly at times with three 20-plus-point victories in the ACC.

When they do win, it’s business as usual. There was no celebration or surprise in the locker room after the blowout win over the Tar Heels. Instead, players were working out in the weight room immediately following the game in what has become a regular part of Maryland’s post-game routine.

“I’m not surprised [with the success] because I know how hard we’ve worked,” Milbourne said. “We deserve the right to do that. We worked so hard in the preseason, and we’re working hard now. We’re not changing anything; even though we’re getting wins, we’re not getting complacent.”

Complacency will be the furthest thought from the Terrapins’ minds as they travel to Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday afternoon to take on their biggest rival and ACC-leading Duke (20-4, 8-2 ACC). After the Terps dropped three games to the Blue Devils last season, including an embarrassing 85-44 debacle in Durham, Maryland has its eyes on a victory to seize control of the conference.

As if playing in front of the Cameron Crazies wasn’t already a daunting task, Saturday’s game will be Mike Krzyzewski’s 1,000th game at Duke, as numerous former players will return to Durham to join in the celebration. And just for good measure, it’s also the Hall of Fame coach’s 63rd birthday.

No problem, right?

While the cancellation of Wednesday’s game against Virginia provided an entire week for Maryland to prepare for the Blue Devils, it now forces the Terps to play three games in five days, as they’ll make up the game against the surprising Cavaliers on Monday night before turning around to play at NC State on Wednesday.

The deck certainly appears stacked against the Terps on Saturday, but Duke forward Lance Thomas is doubtful after sustaining a knee injury in the Devils’ win over North Carolina on Wednesday night, a significant blow to their defense and an invitation for Milbourne to have a huge performance in Durham.

It will also be Vasquez’s final trip to Cameron, a place the eccentric senior calls “my house.” Despite the bold label, the last time the Terps won in Durham was 2007 when Mike Jones starred with 25 points and a vivacious freshman Vasquez did not flinch in contributing 13 points and 12 assists to the 85-77 victory. Vasquez would like nothing more than to add a second win at Cameron to his brilliant career, especially after an abysmal four-point performance there last season.

A sterling performance and a win on Saturday would not only catapult Vasquez into the lead for ACC Player of the Year honors but would also conjure up memories of Juan Dixon’s 28-point performance in a win at Cameron amidst the pomp and circumstance of Shane Battier’s senior night in 2001.

Shaking off an early-season slump, Vasquez has simply been brilliant this year, twice earning ACC Player of the Week honors and averaging a team- and career-high 18.1 points per game while playing more within the parameters of the flex offense. Maryland will need a huge performance from its leader to secure the win at Cameron.

This next week may very well determine whether the Terps are playing for a No. 4 or 5 seed in the NCAA tournament down the stretch or a more pedestrian seven or eight seed. Maryland still lacks a win against a top-25 RPI team (0-3) and was unable to secure any notable wins in its non-conference schedule. A road win over a top-10 opponent—and their biggest rival—would go a long way in validating the Terps’ claim as a top-25 team and a dangerous group moving into March.

Maryland may not pull out the victory at Duke on Saturday, but it’s a far more likely outcome than anything resembling last season’s 41-point loss. Williams’ team firmly believes it’s every bit as good as Duke—if not better—so don’t be shocked if it happens.

The Terps certainly won’t be.

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Maryland-North Carolina Notebook: Emotional Gary Williams following the win

Posted on 07 February 2010 by Luke Jones

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – In the moments immediately following Maryland’s 92-71 thrashing of North Carolina on Sunday afternoon, an emotional Gary Williams had to stop at two different points to compose himself during a post-game interview with Johnny Holliday.

The raucous crowd of dedicated Maryland fans braving the remains of a historic blizzard to get to Comcast Center coupled with the tremendous play of his three senior captains brought a perfect ending to an unforgettable weekend for the Maryland coach, who spent the entire weekend in College Park due to the weather.

“When you coach, you don’t want any change with what you’re trying to do and what we went through with the snow trying to get ready for the game,” he said. “It wasn’t just us; they had to get [here early] and just sit around. You want to play well. We get proud of the guys when they make the effort in a little different situation, and I think we did that today.”

Other highlights from Williams’ comments to the media:

On his team’s mindset following the win:
“Our team is interesting. We were just in the locker room with the players. It’s a great feeling obviously, but we weren’t getting carried away

On the Terps’ senior leadership:
“I think their composure–both on and off the court–has been a big thing for us this year. We’re a very competitive team.”

On appreciating the win:
“We get proud of the guys when they make the effort in a little different situation, and I think we did that today.”

On his team answering the North Carolina comeback:
“We weren’t moving very well, and we had to dig deep to get it going again. It came from the defense.”

On Maryland’s 3-point shooting:
“The ball moved pretty well, and we had good 3-point shooters. If you look at the percentages from the 3-point line, we’re a pretty good shooting team if we get the looks. I thought we did a pretty good job of taking them when they were open.”

On beating North Carolina:
“It is special to beat a good program. I have a lot of respect for Roy Williams, at Kansas and Carolina. They’ll [always] come to play. Regardless of their record today, they showed up.”

*****

– Maryland knocked off North Carolina for the fourth time in five tries and the third-straight time at Comcast Center. It was the Terps’ largest defeat over Carolina since a 96-56 win on Feb. 22, 2003.

“The past couple times we beat them it’s been overtime or a close game,” Eric Hayes said. “Anytime you can beat a North Carolina or a Duke or anybody like that, it’s something special. Not a lot of teams can do that on a consistent basis.”

The Terps have now won three straight games over ACC opponents at Comcast Center by a margin of at least 20 points. Those three wins (over NC State, Miami and Carolina) rank among the seven largest margins of victory over an ACC opponent at Comcast.

– Greivis Vasquez made a career-high-tying six 3-pointers in the game, bringing his career total to 205. He has now passed Mike Jones into second place on the Maryland career list, behind only Juan Dixon (239 in his career).

Vasquez also posted his second double-double of the season with 26 points and 11 assists. It was his 10th 20-point game of the season.

– Landon Milbourne became the 49th Terp in history to reach the 1,000-point mark in his career. The senior forward finished with 15 points against the Tar Heels.

– Hayes made three of his four 3-pointers in the first half on Sunday. The senior finished with 16 points on 5-for-6 shooting.

– Not expected to be a great perimeter shooting team entering the season, the Terps entered the game leading the ACC (conference games only) in 3-point shooting with a .439 mark. The Terps were successful on 9 of 16 attempts in the first half, a season high in attempts for a half. Maryland finished the game 12-for-23 (.522) from beyond the arc.

“We’re a very good shooting team,” Hayes said. “When we’re shooting like that, it’s tough to cover.”

– Gary Williams has repeatedly emphasized his team’s defense as the primary reason for their success on the offensive end of the floor. Maryland has held its last seven opponents under 40 percent shooting from the field. The Terps are second in the conference in field goal percentage defense (.388 in league games).

– The win improves Maryland’s record to 6-2, a half-game behind Duke but tied in the loss column and in second place in the ACC.

“I’m not surprised because I know how hard we’ve worked,” Milbourne said. “We deserve the right to do that. We worked so hard in the preseason and we’re working hard now. We’re not changing anything, even though we’re getting the wins. We’re not getting complacent. We’re coming out to practice everyday and we’re working just as hard as we worked the last day.”

– Maryland recorded an assist on 12 of its 16 first-half baskets. Vasquez led the Terps in assists with 11.

– The 21-point margin of defeat was the largest of the season for the Tar Heels.

– After struggling against Clemson and Florida State (a combined 11 points in the two games), the Maryland bench rebounded against North Carolina with 19 points. The boost was especially felt in the first half, as Cliff Tucker (7), Adrian Bowie (3), and Dino Gregory (2) contributed 12 points.

– The Terps outscored Carolina in the paint, 42-26.

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Strong 2nd half pushes Terps to victory over FSU 71-67

Posted on 04 February 2010 by Luke Jones

Maryland knew it couldn’t afford to repeat the performance it had against Clemson last Sunday night. The Terps needed a road win against a quality opponent to end the brief two-game road trip on a high note.

And despite a lackluster first half in which the Terps shot only 38.7 percent and trailed by four at the break, they rebounded from 60 minutes (counting the Clemson game) of lackluster basketball in the second half and made enough plays down the stretch to earn a 71-67 win at Florida State.

The Seminoles (16-6, 4-4 ACC) may have provided the highlight-reel plays, particularly Chris Singleton, who had a thunderous slam to cut the Maryland (15-6, 5-2 ACC) lead to 60-59 and an unbelievable block that will haunt Adrian Bowie’s dreams for quite some time. However, every time the momentum appeared to shift in the home team’s favor, the Terps had an answer, even if it was unspectacular.

The game’s biggest play came when reserve forward Dino Gregory drew a charge off a Michael Snaer drive to the basket that would have tied the game at 66 with 14.5 seconds remaining.

Again, it wasn’t pretty, but the Terps found a way to leave Tallahassee with the victory. Remember, every road win in the Atlantic Coast Conference is a big one—especially this year.

Greivis Vasquez led the Terps with 23 points while Landon Milbourne rebounded from a terrible night against Clemson with an 18-point effort against the Seminoles.

Looking to build on his recent ACC Freshman of the Week award, Jordan Williams scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds. Williams’ presence limited Florida State star Solomon Alabi to 12 points and 10 rebounds. With Alabi struggling, Derwin Kitchen scored a career-high 29 points for the Seminoles in the losing effort.

Despite the satisfaction of improving its conference record to 5-2, Maryland has seen its bench production dry up completely over the last two games. The Terps have received a combined 11 points from their bench players against Clemson and Florida State. Considering three of the four bench players in the rotation are experienced ACC players, the lack of production is concerning.

The Terps return to Comcast Center to take on North Carolina on Sunday afternoon. With the Tar Heels reeling after dropping another conference game to Virginia Tech on Thursday night, anything less than a victory on Sunday is unacceptable, especially if Maryland wants to be in the conversation for the conference title.

I’m guessing Gary Williams will have his Terps ready to play. After all, it’s STILL North Carolina.

Check out the final stats here and the live blog below.

_______________________________________________

11:05 p.m. — A pair of Vasquez free throws will wrap it up, and the Terps win it.

Final score: Maryland 71, Florida State 67.

11:04 p.m. — Singleton hits the first and tries to miss the second but does not hit the rim. Maryland basketball.

After a bit of a delay, Milbourne throws it in to Vasquez who’s fouled with 1.5 seconds remaining.

11:01 p.m. — Mosley makes 1-of-2, and the Noles still have a chance.

Maryland will foul to prevent the 3-point shot. Smart move by Gary Williams.

10:59 p.m. — Vasquez hits both free throws to give the Terps a four-point lead.

Kitchen scores on the uncontested layup with 7.9 seconds remaining. Timeout, Florida State.

10:57 p.m. — Offensive foul on Snaer! Great defensive play by Dino Gregory!

What an unbelievable final few minutes we’ve seen here in Tallahassee.

10:56 p.m. — WHAT. A. BLOCK.

Unbelievable!

10:54 p.m. — Kitchen drains the 3-pointer. He is simply cooking the Terps tonight.

Mosley misses two shots from inside, but thankfully, Gregory keeps it alive and draws the foul. A pair of huge free throw by Gregory gives the Terps the lead with 2:20 to go.

10:51 p.m. — Thinking back to the Terps’ inability to finish strong on Sunday night, you have to ask yourself, “Can the Terps finish this one?”

Milbourne drains a pair of freebies to push the lead back up to three.

10:48 p.m. — Just a huge, huge offensive rebound from Milbourne there.

10:45 p.m. — Alabi just reached right over Gregory. That’s just not fair. Alabi goes to the line and drains them both to cut the lead to three.

Williams checks back into the game. Stay tuned to this one.

10:43 p.m. — Definitely a mistake by Williams on that fast-break. He would have been better suited simply letting Snaer go on that one as he goes to the bench with his fourth foul.

10:40 p.m. — Williams is doing a very nice job standing strong against Alabi. The Terps have done a great job bottling him up.

I wish I could say the same about Kitchen.

10:36 p.m. — Vasquez hits a pair of freebies to push the lead back up to seven.

Can someone stop Kitchen? Please.

10:33 p.m. — Alibi with an ill-advised jumper there, but the Terps cannot control the rebound. Kitchen scores again to cut the lead to five.

10:31 p.m. — Kitchen now has 20 points. The Terps are suddenly making a habit of allowing an opponent to pick up a career-high. Jerai Grant had 18 against the Terps on Sunday.

10:30 p.m. — Florida State is completely out of sync. The Terps can put this one away if they can take advantage.

Bowie air balls a three, but James Padgett is there to grab the offensive rebound and is fouled. The frosh misses the first but makes his second. The Terps finally have a bench point 30 minutes into the game.

10:25 p.m. — This is definitely the best the Terps have played in some 60-odd minutes of basketball. Maryland has been a second-half team over and over this year, and we’re seeing that same kind of effort tonight.

10:21 p.m. — A fourth foul for Singleton sends him to the pine. That’s just big.

Hayes hits the 3-ball to push the lead to six points.

10:19 p.m. — Singleton gets the second-chance opportunity and is fouled by Williams who just picked up his third foul. I’ve mentioned on several occasions the freshman’s ability to avoid foul trouble, but he’s run into it tonight.

You would think we’ll get a look at James Padgett at some point.

10:17 p.m. — Just a beautiful no-look pass from Vasquez to Williams for the dunk.  The senior guard then follows it up with a 3-pointer to push the Terps’ lead to seven points. Might be a bit early for the “shimmy” though, Greivis.

10:15 p.m. — Very nice defensive set by the Terps there. That was textbook team defense.

10:11 p.m. — Great vision by Mosley to hit the cutting Milbourne for the easy layup. The pace has picked up in this one considerably.

Vasquez turns it over and Kitchen goes all the way to tie it up.

10:10 p.m. — Kitchen drains the triple to give him 14 points. He’s having a heckuva game for the Noles.

Following a Vasquez miss, Reid scores inside to give the Noles a two-point lead.

10:07 p.m. — Now THAT looks a bit more like the Maryland team we’ve seen during conference play. A 7-0 run to begin the half gives the Terps the lead, and we have a quick timeout.

10:04 p.m. — Maryland gets it to begin the second half, and Jordan Williams gets the slam inside. The Terps have to work the ball inside for high-percentage shots with the struggles offensively tonight.

As I type that, Milbourne hits a jumper from just inside the arc. So much for what I said. LOL.

9:48 p.m. — Milbourne misses a 3-pointer in the final seconds, and Dulkys misses a triple at the buzzer to send this one into the break.

At halftime, Maryland trails Florida State, 29-25.

9:47 p.m. — Look, I’m obviously rooting for LUKE Loucks, but how do you not cut off his path to the basket?

A Maryland turnover leads to another Seminoles bucket. The Terps are not ending the half on a positive note by any stretch.

9:45 p.m. — Following the timeout, Milbourne air-balls a shot from four feet. That’s about right for this one.

A possession later, Vasquez scores to give Maryland a lead.

9:43 p.m. — Kitchen having a very nice half for the Noles, as he now has nine to lead all scorers.

After another FSU bucket, Gary Williams will burn a timeout.

9:38 p.m. — Kitchen scores to give FSU a temporary lead, but Vasquez answers immediately on the other end.

We’ve reached the final media timeout of the first half with Maryland holding on to a 21-20 lead over Florida State.

Since when did Maryland move to the Big Ten?

9:36 p.m. — Another sterling possession from Adrian Bowie. Sadly, I’m getting to the point where I hold my breath every time he touches the ball.

9:33 p.m. — After shooting 34.6 percent against Clemson and 30 percent so far tonight, is it safe to say the Terps’ red-hot shooting of recent weeks has leveled off? Would be nice to find some middle ground though.

9:30 p.m. — A Luke Loucks 3-pointer and a Reid lay-in gives the Seminoles the lead. Maryland just shooting horribly right now.

We’ve reached the under-8 media timeout with FSU leading 16-15.

9:28 p.m. — Alabi shows his range. What an athlete.

Jordan Williams then misses inside, sticks with it, and scores on the second try. It doesn’t look pretty, but the frosh is getting the job done big-time in the paint for this team.

9:27 p.m. — Florida State is ice-cold as Dulkys misses the shot. However, the Terps aren’t exactly shooting the lights out either as Hayes misses the triple.

Both buckets with lids on them right now.

9:24 p.m. — Michael Snaer drives to the basket, and Dino Gregory draws the charge. Nice defensive play by the reserve forward right there.

The Terps then proceed to turn it over.

9:19 p.m. — Williams with the impressive block, and Bowie follows it up on the other end with THAT shot? Ugly.

Milbourne with another steal, leading to the breakaway dunk. He’s off to a very fast start with seven points early.

9:17 p.m. — Can you tell the FSU fans don’t like Vasquez? The senior misses the three, but Milbourne is there for the offensive board and puts it in. Very nice to see the senior forward active after a miserable effort at Clemson.

9:13 p.m. — Milbourne takes it away from Alabi and takes it the other way and draws the foul. We’ve reached the first media timeout, and Florida State leads Maryland, 5-4.

At least I can finally see the game.

9:10 p.m. — I see Florida State is off to a 5-0 start, so this night has clearly gotten off to a great start. FINALLY, the Boston U. vs. New Hampshire game comes to an end.

9:07 p.m. — Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

Maryland
G Greivis Vasquez
G Eric Hayes
G Sean Mosley
F Landon Milbourne
F Jordan Williams

Florida State
G Deividas Dulkys
G Derwin Kitchen
F Ryan Reid
F Chris Singleton
C Solomon Alabi

9:05 p.m. — Well, tonight’s coverage has an early fly in the ointment. I’m watching the game on ESPN Full Court here in southern Pennsylvania, but I’m stuck watching the last few minutes of the Boston University vs. New Hampshire game. BU is winning by 24 with 3:15 to go to add insult to injury.

Anyone ever hear of an overflow channel? Good grief.

8:50 p.m. — One factor to watch tonight will be the number of minutes logged by freshman James Padgett who did not play against the Tigers on Sunday.

Gary Williams has been very deliberate on a few different occasions in discussing a need to find more minutes for the freshman from Brooklyn. Given the physical nature of many ACC teams, Padgett will need to be a factor as the Terps get deeper into the schedule, so Williams needs to see what he has with the frosh.

It’s easy to continue to lean on a known commodity such as Dino Gregory, but the young Padgett has a much bigger upside. Of course, it’s easier said than done to find minutes for an unknown when you’re in the midst of a two or three-point game, and every possession is crucial.

8:35 p.m. — Good evening and Happy Thursday as the Maryland Terrapins (14-6, 4-2 ACC) travel to Tallahassee in search of a season sweet against the Florida State Seminoles (16-5, 4-3 ACC) at 9:00 p.m.

The Terps look to rebound from a disappointing 62-53 defeat at Clemson on Sunday night in which they turned it over an inexcusable 26 times. Other than the lone bright spot of Jordan Williams and his 13 points and 13 rebounds, there wasn’t much good to be taken from the defeat at Littlejohn Coliseum.

Maryland defeated the Seminoles in its ACC opener at Comcast Center on Jan. 10. Senior Greivis Vasquez led the way with 22 points while Eric Hayes chipped in 17 in the 77-68 victory. Despite last month’s victory, the Terps have struggled at the Tucker Center in recent years, losers of four straight in Tallahassee. Maryland’s last win at Florida State came on Feb. 12, 2003.

Leonard Hamilton’s Seminoles have won three of their last four, with a 70-56 loss at Duke being the only blemish over that stretch. Home wins over Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech and a 61-57 victory at Boston College on Saturday have pushed Florida State’s conference record to 4-3.

For Florida State, it starts with sophomore center Solomon Alabi who leads the Noles with a 12.9 point per game average. Alabi ranks second in the league with 2.6 blocks per game, trailing only North Carolina’s Ed Davis who the Terps will see on Sunday afternoon. Sophomore forward Chris Singleton is the other Nole to average double figures (11.1) and leads the team with 7.8 rebounds per game. Singleton also leads the ACC in steals (2.3 per game).

The Terps would clearly like to grab this road victory after the disappointing showing at Clemson on Sunday night. Maryland currently finds itself in third place in the ACC, a half-game behind Duke and Virginia in the standings. A loss tonight would drop the Terps to 4-3 in the conference and create more doubt over how good this team really is as we approach the halfway point of the ACC schedule.

Tonight’s game can be seen on Raycom (WNUV-TV in Baltimore) with Bob Rathbun and Mike Gminski providing the call. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for updates and musings throughout the game.

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Turnover fest at Littlejohn as Terps fall 62-53 to Clemson

Posted on 31 January 2010 by Luke Jones

Winning on the road is a daunting task in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Turning it over 26 times and losing the battle on the glass makes it nearly impossible.

Despite struggling to control the basketball, Maryland had its opportunities and even led briefly in the second half before being outscored 12-3 over the last 5:36 of the game and falling 62-53 to Clemson in an ugly contest on Sunday night.

Jordan Williams was the lone bright spot for the Terps as the freshman forward led the way with 13 points and 13 rebounds while the rest of the team struggled to make shots for most of the evening. As well as the half-court offense had played in recent weeks, the Terps struggled to create high-percentage shots against the stingy Clemson defense and shot 34.6 percent from the field in the loss, finishing with more turnovers than field goals (26 to 18).

Battling foul trouble in the first half, Greivis Vasquez never got on track, scoring just 10 points and turning it over nine times in one of his worst performances of the season. Landon Milbourne shot just 1-for-8 from the field and finished with three points while fellow senior Eric Hayes had 11 points to lead the three seniors in scoring. It was simply not enough production from the three senior captains.

While Sunday night’s game was far from a must-win for the Terrapins (14-6, 4-2 ACC), it was a winnable game as the Tigers (16-6, 4-4) shot 31.9 percent from the field and turned it over 21 times themselves. Clemson’s leading scorer Trevor Booker shot 2-for-16—and did not have a field goal in the first half—but grabbed seven offensive boards and 16 overall for the Tigers.

With Booker struggling offensively, Clemson got a dominating effort from Jerai Grant, who scored a season-high 18 points to help the Tigers snap a three-game losing streak.

So many things have gone well for the Terps since the start of conference play, but the lack of focus—particularly in the first half—is concerning after having an opportunity to beat a quality opponent on the road, a fact critics have used to downplay the Terps’ quick start in the ACC.

While it was clear Maryland would not continue to shoot the ball as well as it had in recent weeks, the number of turnovers is alarming after averaging only 11.6 turnovers per game in the first 19 games of the season. In their two conference losses to Wake Forest and Clemson, Maryland has turned it over 41 times (20.5 per game). In their four conference wins, the Terps have just 41 miscues (10.25 per game). Not shooting well is one thing, but not taking care of the basketball will almost always cost you games.

Maryland will have its chance to atone for Sunday’s disappointing performance in Tallahassee against Florida State on Thursday night. A 1-1 road trip would be more than acceptable before returning to College Park to take on North Carolina on Sunday afternoon.

Check out the final stats here and the live blog below.

________________________________________________

7:46 p.m. — That will wrap this one up. Maryland falls to Clemson, 62-53. The Terps were outscored 12-3 down the stretch in this one.

Back in a bit with my post-game thoughts.

7:44 p.m. — The Terps just haven’t made enough plays in this one.

And that’s why they’re about to fall to the Tigers with 15.1 seconds left.

7:42 p.m. — That’s a perfect example of why Bowie’s minutes have plummeted. He brings very little to the offensive end of the floor.

7:40 p.m. — Terrible call on the offensive foul by Vasquez. Completely inadvertent.

7:35 p.m. — Of course Booker hits the three in a big spot. It’s only his second field goal of the night.

With 2:22 remaining, Clemson leads the Terps, 57-53.

7:31 p.m. — Vasquez with a great look to Mosley, but the sophomore cannot handle it and turns it over. That will make 24 turnovers for the Terps.

Following a Clemson miss, the Terps pick up their 25th. Incredible.

7:25 p.m. — Following the media timeout, Vasquez cannot score going to the basket, and Williams misses a couple second-chance shots.

Clemson is desperate for a bucket, and Bowie comes to double-team Booker and rejects the shot from behind.

7:22 p.m. — Grant just annihilated that Milbourne shot.

However, Hayes scores inside, and the Terps amazingly have the lead, 48-46.

7:20 p.m. — Booker is just having a HORRIBLE night for the Tigers.

Vasquez is fouled going to the basket and goes to the line for two. He misses the first, but his second free throw ties the game at 46.

7:17 p.m. — It sure looked like Hayes could have taken the layup himself, but the end result works out as Milbourne gets the offensive board of the miss and puts it in plus the foul. The free throw cuts the Clemson lead to one.

Oliver Purnell wants to talk it over with his Tigers.

7:14 p.m. — Vasquez just loses it out of bounds. That makes 22 turnovers on the night for the Terps. Wow, just wow.

How is this team only down by five points?

7:12 p.m. — Two Mosley free throws cuts the lead to one, but Grant slams it in on the other end as Gregory draws the blocking foul.

After the miss, Mosley tries to push it but is called for the player-control foul. That’s his fourth. Not good.

7:10 p.m. — A 12-4 run for the Terps has them right back in this one after falling behind by 11 points early in the second half.

We have a bit of a delay as the officiating crew wants to make sure the shot clock has been set correctly.

7:07 p.m. — We’ve reached the under-12 media timeout with Clemson continuing to hold on to a 42-39 lead. Such an ugly performance for the Terps, but they’re right in this one.

7:05 p.m. — Big jumper by Gregory there. The Terps needed that one badly.

The Tigers then turn it over leading to another bucket for Gregory on a nice delivery from Vasquez.

We’ve reached the under-12 timeout, Clemson leads 42-39.

7:03 p.m. — You have to hope Williams is alright. This team is so much better with him on the floor.

Milbourne still unable to find the bucket. Just a miserable night for the senior forward.

7:02 p.m. — Following another Tigers turnover, Vasquez dribbles it off his foot and picks up his third foul. He’ll have to go to the bench for now.

Bowie misses a layup, and Milbourne is whistled for the foul. A terrible call, and Gary is not a happy camper.

6:57 p.m. — Mosley takes it away, leading to a fast-break opportunity and a foul on Jordan Williams to send the big man to the line. Williams hits both freebies to give him 12 points on the night.

Vasquez with the steal and the layup. Maryland has suddenly cut it to five points.

6:54 p.m. — Grant hits the freebie to complete the three-point play.

Then Gregory throws it in-bounds and it’s another turnover.

The only good news I can report at this point in the second half is the pizza that I order finally came and is delicious.

6:51 p.m. — Grant scores and is fouled after ANOTHER Maryland turnover.

There’s no excuse for this performance tonight. Pathetic.

6:49 p.m. — Clemson is shooting just 30 percent and leads by seven points. How is that possible?

6:47 p.m. — We’ve reached the first media timeout of the second half with Maryland continuing to trail Clemson, 34-27.

The Terps have to wake up at some point, don’t they?

6:46 p.m. — Despite rumors to the contrary, Landon Milbourne is in the arena tonight and playing.

He has not scored yet in this one.

6:44 p.m. — Following the Mosley foul, Grant goes to the line for two and drains 1-of-2. He has nine points and nine rebounds.

He’s been huge for the Tigers.

Maryland continues to turn it over. Fourteen turnovers. Unbelievable.

6:41 p.m. — Vasquez hits the 3-ball to begin the second half. That’s a good sign as the Terps did not have a 3-pointer in the first half of play.

6:40 p.m. — We’re ready for the start of the second half. Clemson will get the ball.

6:37 p.m. — While watching that last commercial, am I the only one that thought Gary Williams was going to answer the question “What’s great about ACC basketball?” with the answer, “The fact that I can coach circles around most of you guys.”

6:36 p.m. — Who could have predicted Vasquez and Booker would combine for three points in the first half? I guess that’s why they play the games, right?

6:25 p.m. — All I can say about that first half is thank goodness for Jordan Williams. The freshman leads the Terps with 10 points at the half.

Maryland trails Clemson at the break, 29-22. The Terps shooting only 37 percent and have turned it over 12 times.

6:22 p.m. — How does Milbourne miss that shot? Playing defense against himself there.

Just an awful first half from everyone except Jordan Williams.

Thankfully, Booker is not contributing anything points-wise.

6:19 p.m. — If you had told me the Terps would hold Trevor Booker to just one point in the first 18 minutes of the game, I would have said the Terps led by 15 points at the break.

Shows how much I know.

6:18 p.m. — A beautiful look from Hayes to Jordan Williams for the dunk. Finally we see some kind of semblance of a half-court set.

However, the Tigers beat the Terps down the court in transition.

6:16 p.m. — Eleven turnovers and eight field goals for the Terrapins.

This looks more like a Big Ten score than a key ACC match-up.

6:13 p.m. — Nice look by Vasquez to find Williams. The big man is the only one doing anything at all for the Terps.

We’ve reached the final media timeout of the first half with Maryland trailing Clemson, 23-18.

6:12 p.m. — Devin Booker’s bucket gives the Tigers a seven-point lead. Maryland continues to settle for perimeter shots. The Terps have no solution for the tight Clemson defense.

6:09 p.m. — Nine turnovers for the Terps. Good move by Gary Williams to sit down his senior point guard. He’s playing out of control out there.

Not sure why Hayes is taking shots so far away from the basket early in the shot clock. He’s a great shooter, no doubt, but those are LONG attempts.

6:06 p.m. — We’ve reached the under-8 media timeout with Maryland trailing the Tigers, 21-16. The Terps continue to struggle to find any offensive rhythm. Thankfully, the Tigers are not hitting any shots either.

6:04 p.m. — The Terps are not doing a good job taking care of the basketball and are struggling to control the glass.

This is downright ugly basketball for both sides.

6:02 p.m. — You’d like to see Vasquez on the bench for a bit longer, but Bowie’s complete ineffectiveness makes it a necessity to bring the senior back.

Vasquez scores in transition to tie the game.

The Terps are getting absolutely nothing from the bench in this one as Bowie and Dino Gregory have both struggled.

Luckily, the Tigers continue to miss very makable shots.

5:57 p.m. — We’re witnessing some ugly offense right now as both teams are playing very impatiently.

That’s two plays from Adrian Bowie in which he’s taken the ball without any real idea what he was trying to do. We’ve seen far too much of that from him this season.

We’ve reached the second media timeout with Clemson leading the Terps, 16-14.

5:54 p.m. — Very nice recovery by Hayes on that layup. Incredibly, the Terps are on an 8-0 run since Vasquez left the game. Clemson has certainly gone cold since the beginning of this one.

The Terps continue to use a guard to double-team Booker, but it just left Potter wide open for a 3-pointer.

5:52 p.m. — Clemson just turned it over for the fourth time. It’s nice to see the Terps weather the early storm by the Tigers. However, they need someone other than Williams to step up with Vasquez stuck on the bench.

5:49 p.m. — We’ve reached our first media timeout with Clemson leading the Terps, 13-10. Maryland has weathered a furious start by the Tigers, but Vasquez is stuck on the bench with two early fouls.

5:47 p.m. — Williams sinks both free throws to cut the deficit to five. He then draws the offensive foul on Bryan Narcisse. You cannot say enough about the freshman big man. He’s been huge this year.

And as I type that, he hits the baseline jumper to give him six for the game. We haven’t seen him step out very often, but that shot looked very good.

5:45 p.m. — Milbourne’s jumper from the foul line is erased, leading to a second Vasquez foul on the other end. This one couldn’t have started much worse for the Terps.

Smith misses both free throws, thankfully, but the Terps need to start making some shots and getting some stops defensively.

5:43 p.m. — Vasquez is whistled for the offensive foul. Not much to argue with on that one.

Clemson beats the Maryland pressure again leading to a dunk for Grant. He has five points already. Then, the Terps turn it over leading to a 3-ball by Young.

Timeout, Maryland. The Tigers are out to a huge start and lead 13-4. Yikes.

5:41 p.m. — This game has started with a furious pace as both teams have gotten two quick baskets. Young finally misses a 3-pointer for the Tigers, but Jordan Williams cannot hit the jumper outside of the paint.

Booker takes a 3-pointer and misses. I’m sure the Terps will give him that shot all day.

5:37 p.m. — Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

Maryland
G Eric Hayes
G Greivis Vasquez
G Sean Mosley
F Landon Milbourne
F Jordan Williams

Clemson
G Andre Young
G Tanner Smith
F David Potter
F Jerai Grant
F Trevor Booker

5:25 p.m. — Following up on my last update on Demontez Stitt, it appears the junior will not play as he was seen walking out of the tunnel in a polo and shorts. Definitely a blow to the Tigers this evening, but not unexpected.

5:10 p.m. — According to Patrick Stevens (D1scourse), a friend of the Comcast Morning Show, Stitt is dressed for the game and warming up. This does not mean the Tigers guard will play, but it is certainly a more encouraging sign for Clemson than what was reported yesterday about its second-leading scorer.

5:00 p.m. — Greetings from the Jones home office as we prepare to watch the red-hot Terrapins (14-5, 4-1 ACC) travel to Littlejohn Coliseum to take on the struggling Clemson Tigers (15-6, 3-4 ACC).

Maryland is on fire after back-to-back victories of 20-plus points against NC State and Miami and four in a row overall. January has been an outstanding month for the Terps as they were one 3-pointer away at Wake Forest from an undefeated record. They’ll try to improve their January record to 7-1 with a road victory tonight.

At least four Terps players have scored in double digits in the last three games as coach Gary Williams continues to get a balanced attack offensively. In Maryland’s most recent win against Miami on Tuesday night, Greivis Vasquez and Landon Milbourne led the way with 16 points each.

Maryland continues to lead the ACC with a conference-best 4-1 record, but the Terps have benefited from a favorable early part of the conference schedule in which they’ve played three of the first five at Comcast Center. Three of their four conference wins come against the three worst teams in the ACC standings (Boston College, Miami, and NC State). A victory against Clemson would not only provide a win against a top-25 team, but it would also build confidence that the Terps can win a road game against a tough opponent.

On the flip side, Oliver Purnell’s squad is desperate for a victory to snap a three-game losing streak. After jumping out to a 3-1 conference record, the Tigers have dropped successive games to Georgia Tech, Duke, and most recently at Boston College on Tuesday night. Clemson’s second-leading scorer Demontez Stitt has been sidelined with a sprained foot, and it appears the guard will not play again this evening.

Clemson is led by forward Trevor Booker who leads the Tigers with 16.0 points per game and grabs 8.2 rebounds per game. Maryland will likely use a combination of Milbourne, Jordan Williams, and Dino Gregory to keep all of the forwards fresh and out of foul trouble against the 6-foot-7 senior.

Much like the Terps, Purnell’s squad likes to press, so it will be an interesting match-up to see which squad can get the best of the other defensively.

Tonight’s nationally-televised game can be seen on Comcast SportsNet locally and on Fox Sports Net nationally at 5:30 p.m. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for our thoughts and updates throughout the evening.

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Terps continue hot streak, destroy Miami 81-59

Posted on 26 January 2010 by Luke Jones

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Maryland’s homestand began against Longwood last Tuesday, and if you only paid attention to the final scores, you’d think the Terps had played the lowly Lancers in a three-game set instead of conference opponents NC State and Miami in the last two.

The Terps continued their early dominance in the ACC with a convincing 81-59 win over Miami at the Comcast Center on Tuesday night. Maryland (14-5, 4-1 ACC) raced out to a 14-4 lead in the first seven minutes of the game and never let the last-place Hurricanes weather the storm as four Terps reached double-digit scoring for the third game in a row.

A trademark of last season was the Terps’ inability to hold second-half leads against ACC opponents, but this year’s squad has tightened its grip on opponents instead of letting them sneak their way back into contests.

“This year we’ve done a great job of coming out and starting games strong and finishing games the same way,” said sophomore Sean Mosley. “It’s just the mindset that we have this year that we can’t lose a game when we’re up by 20 points. We’ve just been coming out and playing hard for 40 minutes.”

Greivis Vasquez and Landon Milbourne led the way with 16 points apiece while Mosley and Eric Hayes each contributed 10 in the blowout victory. While Vasquez has been the top—and sometimes only—scoring threat for Maryland over his four-year career, the improved balance exhibited by the Terps has led to four conference victories by a combined 71 points.

“You have to be able to play off each other,” head coach Gary Williams said about his team’s balanced attack on both ends of the floor against Miami.

Defensively, the Terps forced 14 Miami turnovers in the first half and held Dwayne Collins, the Hurricanes’ leading scorer, to a meager five points and three field goal attempts for the game. Freshman Jordan Williams continues to be the difference maker in the paint, freeing Milbourne to play to his strengths further away from the basket.

The Terps’ senior leadership and experience has led to the improved defensive effort. Whether it’s the improved team rebounding or simply diving on the floor for loose balls in the paint, the defense has played with confidence and enthusiasm.

“We are trying to believe that our defense is what is responsible for our ability to run our offense and get good shots,” Gary Williams said. “I think the aggressiveness on the defensive end of the court funnels into the offensive part of the game.”

Needless to say, the Terps are feeling good about themselves and rightfully so. While Maryland hasn’t exactly played the best the ACC has to offer, it’s beating the teams it should beat—and convincingly.

Despite finding his team in first place, Gary Williams is quick to point out how early it is in the conference schedule—and how quickly things can change for the worse.

“We have to go on the road for two games [against Clemson and Florida State]. We’ll see where we are [after that].”

Indeed.

You only have to think back to November to find a similar quote from the Maryland coach following a blowout over New Hampshire and a 3-0 start. The No. 21 Terps then went to Hawaii and dropped two games to power-conference teams (Cincinnati and Wisconsin) in the Maui Invitational and limped home with only a win over Division II Chaminade to their credit. The effort in Maui lacked a pulse as the Terps appeared disinterested in the opportunity to make a statement.

Sunday’s game at Clemson will help clarify the picture of just how good this team really is. Though clearly not a must-win, a victory at Littlejohn would emphatically put the Terps in the conference championship discussion—or as much as you can be after six games. A loss wouldn’t kill their momentum by any stretch, but the lingering doubts of whether the Terps can beat tougher opponents would remain.

Maryland is certainly looking the part of a serious force to be reckoned with in the ACC, beating up on the bottom-feeders of the conference.

Now the Terps can show it on the road against one of the perceived big boys.

– After a 24-point win over NC State and a 22-point victory over Miami, the Terps have earned back-to-back 20-plus point wins over ACC schools for the first time since February 2003 when they defeated North Carolina (96-56) and Clemson (91-52).

– The 4-1 start is Maryland’s best conference start since opening 6-1 in the 2002-03 season.

– Miami came into the game averaging 75.7 points per game on 47.5 percent shooting, but the Terps held the Hurricanes to 59 points and 38.3 percent shooting. Maryland has held its last four opponents to under 40 percent shooting.

– Vasquez moved into sixth place on Maryland’s career scoring list, passing Lonny Baxter, who had 1,858 in his career.

– The Terps have outscored their opponents in the paint over the last four games by a combined 180-76. Maryland held a 42-20 advantage in the win over Miami.

– Maryland has now outrebounded its opponent in seven of its last eight games.

Check out the final stats right here and the live blog below.

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8:56 p.m. — This one is over. You HAVE to be happy with this one. Maryland wins, and it was never close.

Final score: Maryland 81, Miami 59

Back in a bit with the post-game wrap.

8:54 p.m. — McGowan with the airball. That pretty much sums up the entire evening for Miami tonight.

8:53 p.m. — Levent turns it over but hustles down the floor to affect the shot on the other end.

1:05 remaining in this one. I THINK it’s safe to say this one is over.

8:51 p.m. — And here comes Ersin Levent. Maryland has been so good lately it feels like these guys are becoming a part of the regular rotation.

8:49 p.m. — David Pearman is at the score table and is set to check in, replacing Vasquez to a big ovation. Another fine night by the Maryland leader.

8:47 p.m. — We’ve reached the final media timeout of the night as plenty of Maryland faithful are heading to the exits. Can’t say I blame them one bit.

Maryland leads 79-52 with 3:39 remaining.

8:45 p.m. — Vasquez finds Bowie on a very nice cut for the easy two.

Bowie picks up the foul on the other end, and Jordan Williams exits to a big hand. Another fine performance from the freshman forward.

8:43 p.m. — Hayes and Mosley exit the floor to a nice ovation. You would think their nights are done with a 29-point lead and 4:45 remaining in this one.

8:40 p.m. — The Terps have four players in double figures with Milbourne leading the way with 17, Vasquez with 16, and Hayes and Mosley each with 10. It marks the third game in a row that at least four players have posted double-digit scoring numbers. Very impressive, but let’s not kid ourselves: Longwood, NC State, and Miami aren’t exactly Kentucky, Texas, and Syracuse.

8:37 p.m. — Maryland is up by 32 points. What is there to say other than Maryland is looking very good, and Miami looks very bad.

8:35 p.m. — With the Terps trying to hold on to a 28-point lead, I couldn’t help but notice Clemson is struggling against Boston College, down nine point with 10 minutes to go.

It looks as though the Terps are getting the Tigers at the right time as they’ve strugged over the last couple games.

8:32 p.m. — We’ve reached another media timeout as this one cannot end soon enough for the Terps. They lead Miami, 71-43, with 9:13 remaining.

8:28 p.m. — I have to ask the question at this point. How in the you know what did Miami beat Wake Forest a few weeks ago? This is downright UGLY.

8:24 p.m. — Former Terp and national champion Byron Mouton is in attendance tonight. He has to be liking what he sees out of the Terrapins this evening.

8:23 p.m. — Tucker with the nice give to Gregory who goes up for the dunk but is fouled by Julian Gamble. Gregory hits both, and the lead is now 26 points.

Unbelievable.

8:21 p.m. — Bowie takes it inside and is fouled by Collins. Count the basket! The Canes’ leading scorer just picked up his third foul.

The Canes could sure use Jack McClinton right now, couldn’t they?

8:20 p.m. — Very nice drive by Scott on that one. However, Bowie hits a rare triple for the Terps.

Why not?

8:18 p.m. — Scott tries to drive the lane, but Mosley knocks it away. Following a Reggie Johnson miss on an easy putback attempt, Mosley drills the triple. Everything is working tonight for the Terrapins as the lead is up to 21, matching their biggest of the night.

8:14 p.m. — Mosley drives and scores, hitting the deck hard, but he’s alright.

We’ve reached the first media timeout of the second half with Maryland holding a very comfortable 55-37 lead over the Canes.

8:13 p.m. — Dews fouls Mosley, and the sophomore will go to the line for two. He hits 1-of-2 and has five points on the night.

Following a Williams block, Milbourne hits the jumper from the elbow to give him 15 points on the night. It may not be flashy, but he’s having a tremendous evening.

8:11 p.m. — Slow start to the second half as both teams have exchanged misses on their first two possessions down the floor.

DeQuan Jones hits the first bucket of the second half to cut the lead to 15 points.

Williams answers with the shot in the paint. It cannot be understated how impressive this kid is and how much better the Terps are because of it.

8:06 p.m. — We’re just a couple minutes away from the start of the second half.

The Hurricanes turned it over a whopping 14 times in the first half despite shooting 50 percent from the field. The Maryland defense was just relentless in the first half.

7:52 p.m. — Cliff Tucker picks up the cheap foul to send Dews to the line for a 1-and-1. Dews hits them both, and the Terps will have a final shot. Bowie misses the 3-pointer. I guess not EVERYTHING went right for the Terps in the first half, but it’s pretty darn close.

Maryland leads Miami at the break, 48-31.

7:50 p.m. — Milbourne’s shot is rejected underneath, and Gary Williams will use a 30-second timeout with 35.9 seconds remaining in the half.

Following the timeout, Vasquez calls the foul as he caught McGowan in the air and forced up a shot to draw the trip to the line. The senior drains both freebies to push the lead back up to 19 points.

7:48 p.m. — Hayes picks up the cheap foul off the long rebound to Scott on the free throw miss. Scott hits them both to cut the Maryland lead to 18 points with 1:30 remaining.

Bowie finds Williams inside and the freshman is fouled by McGowan, sending him to the line for two. It’s clear how much more confidence Gary Williams and the Terps have in the freshman’s offensive game. He hits 1-of-2 freebies.

7:45 p.m. — Collins is completely out of sync in this one as he just got called for the walk. Williams and Gregory have done a fine job defending the senior, making him look like the underclassmen in the battle.

7:44 p.m. — Milbourne hits the jumper from the elbow, giving him 11 for the game to lead the Terps.

On the other end, the Terps cannot grab the board, leading to a second-chance opportunity for Collins and he’s fouled. The Canes’ leading scorer misses both free throws. This is just ugly for Miami.

7:40 p.m. — Very unselfish play by Vasquez who could have easily taken an off-balanced shot in the paint but he kicks it out to Milbourne for the wide-open triple.

Following a Dews basket on the other end, Vasquez hits a 3-pointer of his own as everything seems to be clicking for the Terps in the first half tonight.

An airball will send us into the final media timeout of the first half. Maryland is really working over the Hurricanes in this one, 41-24 with 3:33 to go before the break.

7:38 p.m. — The Terps are bringing a very balanced approach to tonight’s first half, mixing the perimeter shots with looks inside. The half-court offense is looking so much better than it did early in the season, but again, we’ll need to see the same effort against the tougher opponents the ACC has to offer.

7:36 p.m. — Mosley just ABUSED Thomas with that defensive work, leading to a foul and a trip to the line for the Baltimore sophomore. He hits 1-of-2, but that was quite the defensive play.

Grant hits the 3-ball for the Canes to cut the lead to 11.

7:32 p.m. — James Padgett checks into the game as Bowie throws up a wild shot, but Maryland controls the offensive rebound. Vasquez with the feed to Williams and the big man scores plus the foul. You could tell the senior from Caracas was happy with that play.

Williams drains the freebie to complete the three-point play. Maryland is now up by 15 points.

7:29 p.m. — Mosley is such a fun player to watch. Though listed at 6-foot-4, you’ll find a tough time finding anyone that believes he’s actually that height when you stand right next to him. He plays much bigger than what he is.

The three-point play gives Maryland a 29-17 lead. We’ve reached an official timeout with 7:38 remaining.

7:27 p.m. — The Canes beat the press and find Dews for a wide-open triple.

On the other end, Bowie drives the lane and sticks the layup. Nice to see the aggressive drive from the reserve guard.

7:25 p.m. — Gregory hits the jumper in the lane to give the Terps an eight-point lead. The junior really seems to be finding his role in the rotation over the last few games. Getting more production from Gregory will be a major plus for the Terps moving forward in the conference.

7:23 p.m. — Hayes drains the triple, giving him eight points to lead the Terps in the first 10 minutes of the game.

However, Collins gets on the scoreboard with the dunk for the Canes.

7:21 p.m. — We’ve reached the under-12 media timeout with Maryland continuing to hold a lead over Miami, 17-12, with 11:07 remaining in the first half.

7:19 p.m. — Thomas is fouled by Milbourne on the 3-point attempt. The Terps have done a much better job defending the outside shot this year, but we’ve seen way too much of that over the last couple seasons. The senior forward hits all three shots from the line.

7:18 p.m. — Adrian Thomas drives the lane and is fouled by Hayes, sending the forward to the line for two. Thomas hits them both.

On the other end, Milbourne hits the one-hander in the lane. He has six points already.

Thomas answers with the 3-pointer, but Hayes hits one of his own for the Terps. The pace is really starting to pick up in this one.

7:15 p.m. — Dino Gregory has checked in and forces Collins to take an off-balanced fadeway that’s short. It leads to a Vasquez bucket, and the senior forces the turnover and scores again on the dunk. Timeout, Frank Haith. Miami is just reeling right now, already down 12-2 less than seven minutes into the game.

7:12 p.m. — Collins having all kinds of problems against Williams in the low post as the freshman ties him up.

We’ve reached the first media timeout with 14:43 remaining in the half. Maryland is out to a 8-2 lead over the struggling Canes.

7:10 p.m. — Vasquez drives the lane and is called for the player-control foul. Maryland is using the press early but not with the full intensity we’ve seen at times this year.

DeQuan Jones hits the first bucket of the game for the Canes as they went the first four minutes of the game without a point.

Hayes answers immediately at the other end.

7:08 p.m. — Collins has just checked into the game for the Canes. His time on the bench was short-lived.

Collins is subsequently called for the carry. Miami looking downright anemic on the offensive end right now.

7:06 p.m. — Just a great start for the Terps defensively, forcing a 35-second violation.

Milbourne misses the baseline jumper, but Jordan Williams is right there to clean it up and put it in. We’re seeing that more and more from the freshman big man.

4-0, Maryland.

7:04 p.m. — Maryland comes out playing man-to-man, forcing a miss on the inside off the Canes’ first possession.

Milbourne hits a soft jumper to get the Terps on the board. That shot is just pretty when he has it going.

7:02 p.m. — Miami will go with the black unis while the Terps wear the gold duds again. Milbourne will face off against Reggie Johnson to get this one underway.

I’m a bit surprised to see Dwayne Collins coming off the bench. Perhaps Haith is trying to change his team’s fortunes–or misfortunes–of the last couple weeks.

6:50 p.m. — Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

Miami
G Durand Scott
G Malcolm Grant
G James Dews
F Cyrus McGowan
C Reggie Johnson

Maryland
G Eric Hayes
G Greivis Vasquez
G Sean Mosley
F Landon Milbourne
F Jordan Williams

6:40 p.m. — Maryland will again go with the gold uniforms against the Hurricanes tonight. After the dominating performance against the Wolfpack on Saturday night, it’s hard to argue with the wardrobe choice.

6:30 p.m. — Greetings from the Comcast Center in College Park as the first-place Maryland Terrapins (13-5, 3-1 ACC) prepare to close out a three-game homestand against Miami (15-4, 1-4 ACC) at 7 p.m.

Maryland is riding high, winners of five of its last six, and is clearly playing its best basketball of the season. The Terps find themselves in a first-place tie with Virginia atop the conference after an impressive 88-64 victory over NC State on Saturday evening in Gary Williams’ 1,000th career game.

Four Terps posted double figures in scoring (Greivis Vasquez leading the way with 19) against the Wolfpack as Maryland held NC State to 36 percent shooting and an anemic 27.8 percent in the second half.

While Maryland finds itself at the top of the ACC through the quarter pole, Miami is going in the other direction in last place with a 1-4 record. The Hurricanes have lost three in a row, their most recent loss coming against Boston College last Tuesday night. While three Canes average double-figure scoring—senior forward Dwayne Collins leading the way at 12.7 ppg—coach Frank Haith is still searching for that “go-to” scorer to replace Miami standout and Baltimore product Jack McClinton who graduated last season.

The ACC has not done Miami any favors in the early part of the ACC schedule as the Canes played three of its first four conference games on the road and now begins another stretch of three of four away from the BankUnited Center. Needless to say, it’s a dubious task and Miami has struggled mightily since getting off to a 14-1 start, albeit against a very soft non-conference schedule.

It goes without saying that Miami is a very desperate team right now, and Terps fans know all too well the difficulty Maryland has had against the Canes in recent years. The schools split a pair of games last season, but Miami has still won four of the past five meetings against the Terps. With a tough battle looming at hostile Littlejohn Coliseum on Sunday night, Maryland cannot afford to overlook the struggling Hurricanes.

Tonight’s game will be televised on ESPNU with Rob Stone, Jon Barry, and Drew Barry calling the action.

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