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Williams Eases Off The Throttle In Final Minutes

In his postgame press conference yesterday afternoon, Gary Williams revealed his strategy in regards to implementing a full-court press for all but the game's final minutes. Early in the game, Georgia Tech was able to break Maryland's press at times by making longer inbound passes up the sidelines.

The press the Terps run is designed to use two defenders to hassle the player who receives the ball. Only, the assumption is that the opposing player who receives the ball will be the one closes to the end line. Longer passes further up the court sometimes provided Georgia Tech with a man-up advantage (3 on 2 or 2 on 1), which led to easy baskets.

To be clear, Maryland's press was effective most times. Georgia Tech recorded 18 first-half turnovers, some of which were the Yellow Jackets' own doing, but most were due in some respect to pressure from the Terps. And in the second half, Maryland's press became even more effective as Georgia Tech players began to tire.

"Regardless of if you’re a good ball-handling team or not, if you press the whole game, eventually that’s going to make you tired, eventually that’s going to get you out of your offense, and I think that’s what happened today," junior forward Landon Milbourne said. "If you noticed their game, they stopped running their offense, the timing got messed up. I think that helps. If we can keep our pressure up like that, our full-court pressure, it will make it tough for teams to score."

On the day, Georgia Tech recorded 28 turnovers, which directly led to 24 Maryland points.

But once Maryland took charge late in the game, Williams called off the full-court press. As much as he believes in the press's effectiveness, he also acknowledges its shortcomings.

"We got ahead, and the only thing with pressure is it can give a team an open look down at the other end cause we’re double teaming all the time," Williams said. "Once we got the lead, I just wanted them to earn it if they scored, where we didn’t give them a wide open layup or something like that because we made a mistake in pressure."

By Steve Yanda  |  January 11, 2009; 8:35 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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