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Terps' Press: Not Surprising; Still Effective

Bryant Coach Tim O'Shea knew full well what his team was getting itself into when it marched into Comcast Center on Saturday afternoon. He played for Gary Williams at Boston College for two seasons and was a graduate assistant under Williams for an additional year. So, suffice to say, that patented Maryland full-court press didn't catch O'Shea or his players off guard. But that didn't mean it was any less potent.

The Terps tallied 14 steals and forced the Bulldogs to commit 19 turnovers. To be fair, though, Maryland shouldn't get all the credit for Bryant's high turnover total. The Bulldogs did a fine job of committing frequent unforced errors, which led to a number of those possession changes.

In any event, Maryland's press was stifling yet again, a point reaffirmed by O'Shea after the game.

"I thought their pressure defense really got to us, which is Gary's trademark," O'Shea said. "That's not a big shock to me. It's something we will have to work at in order to get better."

As usual, the Terps were relentless with their full-court pressure, which very well may have saved them from an embarrassing upset Saturday. There were several periods when Maryland's press was the only thing working in its favor. It was effective both in keeping momentum on the Terps' side and in crushing the Bulldogs' spirits whenever they began to make a run.

Williams said he does not want his team to be reliant upon its press -- and thus, its transition offense -- to generate and maintain leads, but until the Terps get a better grip on their half-court offensive execution, blitzing opponents until they break is a plan that seems to be working quite nicely.

By Steve Yanda  |  December 29, 2008; 10:38 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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