Next up for the Terps are the No. 9 Gonzaga Bulldogs, who dispatched Oklahoma State, 83-71, in the final game of the Old Spice Classic's first round Friday night. Gonzaga is 3-0, having also defeated Montana State-Billings and Idaho this season. The Bulldogs are coached by Mark Few and while they have no standout stud, their collective skill is prodigious.
Four Bulldogs entered Friday night averaging over 10 points per game, and the one that didn't (senior guard Jeremy Pargo) was nearly averaging a triple-double (6.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 9.0 apg). Against Oklahoma State, Gonzaga attacked the paint relentlessly. Four Bulldogs scored in double figures, led by senior guard Micah Downs with 17. Downs (6-foot-8, 194 lbs.) also collected 12 rebounds, and the Bulldogs won the rebounding battle, 47-45.
"First half, I thought we rushed a lot of our paint shots, guards and bigs," Few said. "We were getting the ball in there; we were just rushing it and missed a lot of free throws. The second half, especially under that eight-minute mark, I thought we did a great job cranking up the (defense), getting some stops and being pretty efficient on offense."
Gonzaga didn't shoot the lights out (45.7 percent from the field), but it did a good job of capitalizing on the Cowboys' mistakes. The Bulldogs converted 19 Oklahoma State turnovers into 23 points.
The score was tied, 60-60, with just over eight minutes to play, but from that point forward, the Bulldogs nearly doubled up on Oklahoma State.
"We go through situations like that in practice where we're down or we're up by a couple points and a few minutes to go, and that's just crunch time," Downs said. "The coaches have faith that the guys they've got out there are going to toughen up, dial it in and execute plays when we need to get buckets. I felt like everybody did a really good job of that."
Pargo (6-foot-2, 220 lbs.), while not flashy, proved to be Gonzaga's most crucial offensive component. Against the Cowboys, he tallied 15 points, seven assists and five rebounds.
Sophomore forward Austin Daye and junior guard Matt Bouldin also make significant impacts for the Bulldogs. Daye (6-foot-11, 200 lbs.) recorded 10 points and seven boards against Oklahoma State. He could pose a serious matchup issue for the Terps, who got a repreive Friday night when the big man they were supposed to face (Michigan State's Goran Suton) sat out with a knee injury. Gary Williams said Braxton Dupree played the game of his collegiate career against the Spartans, but Dupree may have to repeat that effort if Maryland is to be successful against Gonzaga.
Bouldin (6-foot-5, 224 lbs.) led the Bulldogs in scoring last season (12.6 ppg) and finished with 12 last night. He didn't have a great night from the field (5 for 14) but he did record eight rebounds.
"You could see their experience," Oklahoma State Coach Travis Ford said of the Bulldogs. "Their veterans really stepped up (Friday) and played really well for them. I thought we played very, very hard tonight; we just didn't play very smart at times. You saw two extremes of our team, and I thought Gonzaga was more steady. We had a shot, we just didn't execute. We're not very physical; we're not a real big basketball team."
So what do you all think? Does this matchup bode well for the Terps? Dupree played well last night, but can he put together two games in a row? And will he and the other Terps big men be physical enough to bang with the Bulldogs down low?
Posted by: JohninMpls | November 28, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse
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