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Savoring Wins and Finishing Shots

Make no mistake, Gary Williams and the Terps felt fortunate to make it out of Comcast Center with a win Friday night over Vermont. One would imagine they knew it would be a tough test entering the night, but not need-a-game-tying-three-to-send-it-into-overtime-before-prevailing tough.

A win like that builds character and all that other good stuff coaches like to talk about, but maybe the most critical impact it had was on the team's psyche. Certainly, team confidence is now higher because the Terps know they can win a tightly contested affair, but the flip side might be just as crucial -- the Terps didn't have to return to practice yesterday knowing they had lost to a team most observers expected them to beat.

"I've always felt that if you lose a game like that you might come in the next practice and might have the best practice of the year, but it's too late," Williams said Friday night. "You still don't get that game back. We've got a lot of things to work on that we know we can do better, but we know we can win in a game like that and that's the big thing to get this time of year."

One adjustment Williams would like to see the Terps continue to work on is the way they approach short-range shots. He believed part of the reason Maryland struggled offensively in the first 10 minutes against Bucknell and Youngstown State was that the players weren't dedicating full focus to shots taken up close to the basket.

"We thought we had shots looking at the tapes of the first few games and we had a little bit of a habit of not finishing," Williams said. "In other words, we get shots that we can make, like three- and four-footers, we're kind of throwing them at the rim. We did it a couple of times (Friday). You've got to shoot that; it's still a shot. We're just releasing the ball instead of trying to shoot it. So it was better today and hopefully it will continue to get better."

By Steve Yanda  |  November 24, 2008; 1:14 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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