Terps Claim Comeback Win Over GaTech, 68-61
What an interesting game. Maryland forces 18 first-half turnovers with an all-out, full-court defensive effort, yet trails by five at the half because it shot 25.0 percent from the field. Then, the team found its stride in the second half and eventually claimed a lead with a few minutes to go, only to have its star player begin berrating the Terps student section. But hey, a win's a win, right?
"It was nothing pretty or anything like that, but I was really proud of our team because in first half I thought we got really good looks and we couldn’t make a shot, couldn’t make a jump shot, anybody," Gary Williams said. "Shoot 25 percent and hang in there where you’re close enough to come back in the second half, but then get down 10 or whatever and still have the toughness to come back is really a good sign for the next 15. You’ve got to go through a game like that to know you can do it and hopefully we really get a lot out of this game."
1) Eric Hayes's shooting. Nobody -- and I mean absolutely nobody -- was making shots for the Terps. When Hayes hit a three-pointer with 56 seconds left in the first half, it was the team's first make from beyond the arc of the afternoon. He shot 4-for-6 from long range on the day and finished with a game-high 17 points. Several of his buckets in the second half came at crucial moments when momentum was shifting Maryland's way.
2) Full-court pressure. Maryland harrassed the Yellow Jackets into 28 turnovers on the day, which translated directly into 24 points. This seems to be the Terps' forte, and while the team's reliance on this particular aspect of its game might eventually do them in, it sure is effective at this point. Sean Mosley and Adrian Bowie had three steals each to lead the way.
3) Adrian Bowie's presence in the lane. Very quietly, Bowie had a pretty solid day. He finished with 11 points and six rebounds. His second-half drives to the basket helped cool the offense's fascination with -- and largely fruitless pursuit of -- three-point baskets. His defensive rebounds were critical down the stretch. Williams praised Bowie's play afterward. It was a performance the team would like to see him consistently put forth from here on out.
1) Defense in the post. After the game, Dave Neal said his hips were sore from all the banging around he did in the interior against Georgia Tech's two starting forwards -- Gani Lawal and Alade Aminu. He also said he did the best he could and was satisfied with his performance. As admirable as the efforts of Maryland's post players might have been Saturday, they were not enough, and will not be enough down the road. Lawal and Aminu combined for 28 points and 27 rebounds. To be fair, the pair also combined for 10 turnovers.
"I tried to be as physical as possible and front him as much as I could," Neal said. "I’m happy with what I did. I took a beating, but it was worth it cause we got the W."
2) Team-wide three-point shooting. Holy cow. Take away Hayes's three-point shots and Maryland shot 1-for-20 from beyond the arc today. Neal shot 1-for-7 from three-point range. Vasques went 0-for-6. Bowie went 0-for-3.
"I was hoping they wouldn’t shoot for a while there," Williams said. "You know, we didn’t make anything. We’re good when we look to go inside or take the ball to the basket first and then you settle for the open jump shot. I thought a couple times early in the game, we were too quick to shoot. And you know, there’s a fine line there. You don’t want to mess with someone’s confidence, but you try to get them to understand time and score situations."
3) Bickering between the home crowd and the home team during the game. Listen, what happened in the second half today between Vasquez and the student section was pretty ridiculous. First of all, home fans should reserve booing their own players for the most extreme of situations. Vasquez's performance today was not his best, but it also did not warrant the boos. At the same time, some of the criticism coming from the crowd were not boos but in fact specific implorations that were directed at many different Terps throughout the game. Neal was told to guard better in the post. Bowie was told to take better shots. Mosley was told to take better care of the ball. Braxton Dupree was told to finish his shots from close-range. And Vasquez was chided, as well. But it was nothing so insidious that it justified Vasquez repeatedly shouting obscenities at the student section. Both parties need to grow up.
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