Lightening Milbourne's Load
After Maryland's win over Virginia on Tuesday night, Gary Williams made a point of saying how his team needed to provide some rebounding support for junior forward Landon Milbourne down low.
Milbourne tallied a team-high five rebounds and did much of the dirty work for the Terps in the post, more so than usual given the fact senior forward Dave Neal missed a solid chunk of the game due to a cut above his left eye. The only other Maryland player to record more than three rebounds was sophomore guard Adrian Bowie, who grabbed four.
"I just hope that we don't put too much pressure on Landon to rebound," Williams said. "We need rebounding from other people. We couldn't stop Virginia tonight for a while from getting second shots. They're the killers. It's one thing to only get one shot and if you're a good enough shooting team, you'll still score, but if you give a good team two or three shots, you're in trouble, and we were in trouble for a period there."
Milbourne ranks second on the team in rebounding, averaging 5.5 per game, and had done a respectable job of late in generating second chance opportunities for the Terps. But Landon is being asked to do the opposite -- keep opponents from gaining second chance opportunities -- at the other end of the court, as well.
Milbourne's rebounding responsibilities, combined with his scoring and rebounding objectives, make for quite a full plate. He says he doesn't mind, that he'll do whatever is necessary, but Williams knows one guy isn't going to be able to get the job done every time out -- especially on a team that lacks interior size and experience.
One post player who made his case Tuesday night for more playing time was sophomore forward Dino Gregory. He filled in immediately for Neal and ended up playing 12 minutes in the first half, scoring eight points on 4-of-4 shooting. He eventually fouled out with just more than five minutes remaining in the game after picking up three fouls in four minutes of play in second half. He finished with just two rebounds.
Gregory acknowledged after the game that the rest of Maryland's post players have to do a better job of rebounding to supplement Milbourne's efforts. He would seem to be the best option to fill a larger rebounding role for the Terps, what with his size (6-foot-7, 227 lbs.), athleticism and energy.
But consistency always has been the issue with Gregory, as it is with several other Terps. There are times you watch Gregory and wonder why he's never broken into the starting lineup. And then there are times you watch him and wonder where all his focus disappeared to.
"I think Dino has to push himself every day," Williams said. "Every day in practice has to be a good day. Tonight, he did make some great plays in the first half and that's what we needed. I think Dino sees that it's right there; now it's a matter of going and taking advantage of it."
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