Maryland 66, Virginia 42: Three up, three down
Might as well begin with a bright note: Virginia became Maryland's first opponent in 14 games to limit Terrapins forward Jordan Williams to fewer than 10 points and 10 rebounds. Williams managed just four points and six rebounds in 32 minutes.
So there's that.
But as you might have guessed from glancing at the final score -- Maryland 66, Virginia 42 -- Williams's ineffectiveness didn't particularly hold the Terrapins back Thursday night. The Cavaliers lost to the Terrapins by the largest margin in Charlottesville since 1930 because they could not defend the other four Maryland players on the court and because their offense was offensive.
Maryland made 17 shots from the field in the second half. Virginia made 16 shots from the field all night.
1) Defense on Jordan Williams. This had been a focal point for the Cavaliers all week in practice. The plan was to match Williams against junior center Assane Sene and have at least one and sometimes two other defenders swarm Williams whenever he touched the ball in the post. The strategy was effective. Williams tallied just five shots on the night and never developed any sort of rhythm. Kudos to Sene, senior forward Will Sherrill, freshman guard Joe Harris and the others who helped out.
2) Assane Sene. In addition to his defense against Williams, Sene also grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds, including 10 in the first half. Considering he was primarily battling Williams -- who entered the night as the ACC's leading rebounder -- on the boards, that's quite an accomplishment.
3) No one lit themself on fire.
1) Offense. For the seventh time this season, Virginia shot worse than 38 percent from the field. The Cavaliers shot 33.3 percent Thursday night. The Cavaliers point total (42) was their lowest since falling to Duke in the 1998 ACC tournament. For the second time this season, no Virginia player scored in double digits. The Cavaliers missed short shots, mid-range shots and three-point shots (4 for 17).
2) Breaking Maryland's three-quarters press. The Terrapins have several press defenses they can throw at opponents. Their full-court press is quite difficult to handle. But during the second half Thursday night, Maryland stuck primarily to a three-quarters press look that essentially lets opponents hang themselves. The look induced Virginia into side-to-side passing, which ate up the shot clock before the Cavaliers could cross mid-court and drew them toward the sidelines. Once there, Maryland could used the sideline as another defender as it worked to fluster Virginia into a slew of turnovers. The Cavaliers committed 15 turnovers on the night. They hadn't committed that many turnovers since tallying 17 during their 43-point loss Nov. 22 against Washington.
3) Effort. Is this young Virginia team supposed to be inconsistent? Yes. Is it supposed to -- at the very least -- be able to rely on its effort? Yes. Was that the case Thursday night? Absolutely not.
"I really don’t know the reason why we were so flat," sophomore guard Jontel Evans said. "There was a lot of energy in the building. I guess they just wanted it more."
"Offensively and defensively we weren’t aggressive," senior guard Will Sherrill said. "We didn’t attack their press. We were hesitant against their press. We were playing tight. I think, by and large, they just kind of punked us, especially in that second half. They just wanted to play harder than we did."
Some teams might be able to get away with playing a little flat or not being as aggressive as they need to be. This one can't.
| January 28, 2011; 5:59 AM ET
Categories: Men's Basketball
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