Terps Fall To Gonzaga, 81-59
A night after pulling off a shocking upset of No. 5 Michigan State, Maryland came back down to earth against a Gonzaga squad that simply was too big for the Terps to handle. Three Gonzaga starters were 6-foo-8 or taller. Maryland has four players on its entire team that are 6-foot-8 or taller and only one of them (Braxton Dupree) played more than eight minutes tonight.
After suffering their first loss of the season, the Terps now must prepare to face a Georgetown squad that has some size of its own (Anyone ever heard of this Greg Monroe fella? I've heard he's not too shabby.). Sunday's third place game of the Old Spice Classic will mark the first time Maryland has squared off against Georgetown in a regular season contest since Nov. 26, 1993, back when the Hoyas played at the Capital Centre and Joe Smith wore a Terps uniform.
But back to tonight's game. The Terps appeared to wear down significantly as the game wore on. Gonzaga was a much more physical team than any other team Maryland has faced this season, and it was apparent the Terps were unprepared to deal with such cirmcumstances.
1. Defense. Sure, Gonzaga shot 52.7 percent from the field, but the Terps intial defensive attack was not the issue. The problem was that Maryland kept giving up rebounds and allowing the Bulldogs to take second and third cracks at the basket. Which, of course, was a by-product of Gonzaga's superior size.
2. 1,000-point club. Greivis Vasquez entered such company with a three-pointer about six and a half minutes into tonight's game. He became the 47th player in Maryland history to record at least 1,000 career points. He also led the team with 16 points against Gonzaga.
3. Burney, Goins & Pearman. They played. Not much, but they played. Jerome Burney entered the game for six minutes in the second half after Braxton Dupree air-balled a jumper. Steve Goins and David Pearman entered the game in the final minute of the first half. (Hey, I had to come up with three positives from tonight, okay?)
1. Rebounding. All those second and third shots of Gonzaga's that I referrenced earlier? They came about because Maryland got owned on the boards. Actually, that's not fair. For a good part of the first half, the Terps hung with the Bulldogs and actually held the rebounding edge at halftime. But Gonzaga's size quickly wore on Maryland in the second half. The Bulldogs finished with a 41-30 rebounding advantage.
2. Shooting percentages. Let's run down the list: Landon Milbourne -- 3 for 11; Cliff Tucker -- 2 for 6; Eric Hayes -- 3 for 10; Sean Mosley -- 2 for 7; Dave Neal -- 3 for 8. Maryland shot 37.3 percent from the field and 7.7 percent (1 for 13) from three-point range. Greivis Vasquez was the only player to score more than eight points. That simply cannot happen if the Terps expect to be successful this season.
3. Assist-to-turnover ratio. Maryland only gave up 13 turnovers on the night. However, the Terps only recorded 13 assists. That, my friends, is a push. The Terps strength lies in its ability to transform high-intensity defense into transition points. But if that strength is negated by iffy decision-making, Maryland will have to make up for it in another area. Judging by tonight's performance, those other areas might be hard to come by.
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