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Returning To Form

The first three minutes or so of senior forward Dave Neal's first start of the season did not go well. After scoring the game's first bucket, Neal drew the ire of Coach Gary Williams on consecutive possessions, leading to a quick pull from the game.

Neal failed to corral a pass in the post from guard Adrian Bowie. The ball fell out of bounds and Michigan took over possession. Next time the Terps were on offense, Neal took a jumper from the baseline only to watch it clank off the side of the backboard. He grabbed the rebound and then turned the ball over.

With 16:55 remaining in the first half, Neal was subbed out of the game for Jerome Burney. Neal played nine minutes before the intermission, recording four points, three rebounds and two turnovers.

But just as his team revived itself in the second half, so too did Neal. The senior forward played a crucial role in holding off Michigan in the final three minutes of the game. With 2:55 remaining and the Terps up by four, Neal drained a three-pointer to provide Maryland some extra cushion. He also sank a pair of free throws and recorded a block before the final horn sounded.

He finished the night with 12 points on 4 of 6 shooting in 25 minutes. Neal, who went 1 of 2 from three-point range Wednesday night, is shooting 58.3 percent (7 of 12) from beyond the arc on the season.

"Dave Neal was consistent," Williams said. "He was solid. He struggled a little bit early, but you know, you take a senior out of the game and tell him he's got to play better, not necessarily tell him how to play better, a guy like that can figure it out for himself, and I think that's what he did."

By Steve Yanda  |  December 5, 2008; 10:55 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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