Terps Knock Off Spartans, 80-62
Well I'll be honest, I absolutely didn't see that one coming. Maryland out-ran, out-hustled, out-smarted, out-defended and just plain out-played Michigan State. The Spartans committed numerous turnovers, frequently rushed their shots, racked up silly fouls -- and the Terps capitalized.
Greivis Vasquez and Dave Neal tied for the game high with 17 points, and two other Maryland players also scored in double figures. Meantime, Michigan State's best player, Raymar Morgan, sat out nearly 12 minutes after picking up his third foul midway through the first half. He finished with four points on 2 of 4 shooting.
With the win, the Terps improve to 4-0 and will play Gonzaga tomorrow in the second round of the Old Spice Classic at 5:30 p.m. Now let's get to the honors ...
1. Team defense. It was good in the Terps' previous three games, but tonight against the No. 5 team in the nation, Maryland proved equally stifling against a high quality, well-rounded opponent. Neal and Braxton Dupree teamed up to limit Morgan's effectiveness down low, while Maryland's perimeter players forced Michigan State's guards into errant passes, rushed shots and bad decisions.
2. Secondary scorers. Vasquez is supposed to lead the team in scoring. He just is. What this team has been looking for are complimentary players capable of supplementing Vasquez's point total. Tonight, several stepped forward. Neal turned in another solid performance both in the paint and on the outside (3 for 3 from beyond the arc). But Eric Hayes and Adrian Bowie came through, as well. Hayes tallied 13 points and five assists, while Bowie scored 13 points of his own. It doesn't have to necessarily be these particular guys each night, but the Terps will need a player or two to take some of the opposing defense's attention away from Vasquez.
3. Free throw shooting. The Terps made 11 of 12 from the charity stripe in the second half and shot 81 percent from the free throw line on the night. That, obviously, helped their cause. The Spartans, on the other hand, shot 44.4 percent from the free throw line. And that, obviously, contributed to their demise.
Three Down (the picky, picky version):
1. Rebounding. Even though the Spartans were without their best post player, 6-foot-10 Goran Suton, Michigan State still managed to out-rebound the Terps, 38-35. (I know, I know, a pretty weak complaint considering the numbers reveal the rebounding battle was pretty much a push.)
2. Short bench. Maryland used just nine players against Michigan State. Among those who never approached the scorer's table were Jin Soo Kim and Jerome Burney. Sitting Kim out the entire game was a bit of a surprise to me, because it seems as though he would have been yet another hot-shooting, long-armed, taller guard Maryland could have used to take advantage of the Spartans' smaller lineup. The Burney ommission, on the other hand, was understandable.
3. Cliff Tucker. The starting sophomore guard played only seven minutes. He missed both of his shots and tallied not a single point, though he did pull down three rebounds. Don't be surprised to see another face (Bowie or Mosley) replace Tucker in the lineup soon if this keeps up.
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