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Halftime Decision Propels Terps

Before each postgame press conference, Gary Williams stares intently at the stat sheet left for him at the podium. He eyes pour over quantifiable results that can help form the evaluations he soon will be asked to provide.

After yesterday's game, Williams revealed he performs the same routine before addressing his team at halftime. Though sometimes, he said, stats can lead to brash proclaimations.

When the Terps headed for their locker room at the intermission yesterday, they trailed by nine and had shot just 32.4 percent from the field. They had made only 4 of 14 shots (28.6 percent) from three-point range. Only one Maryland player -- Greivis Vasquez -- had scored more than five points.

Initially, after peering at those first half numbers, Williams was not pleased. And he let his team know it.

"You know, in coaching, sometimes you say things in the heat of the moment," Williams said. "You have to read at halftime before you get into the locker room, whether to yell, whether to try to get 'em up. And I was upset that I thought we could have been in better shape at halftime.

"But as I walked back through the hallway there, I just made up my mind to tell them I hope we get the same looks in the second half. I hope we get the same looks because we're good enough to get those shots. You know, there's nothing to lose by saying that. It's just a positive thing to say, and that gives Eric Hayes, Greivis Vasquez, Cliff Tucker the green light to go ahead and shoot those things."

The approach proved effective. Maryland shot 61.5 percent from the field and 58.3 percent from beyond the arc in the second half. The Terps fired 45.6 percent from the field and 43.3 percent from three-point range on the day.

By Steve Yanda  |  February 22, 2009; 3:29 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: Vasquez Grows Into Triple-Double

Comments

Terrell Vinson names final four
ESPNU 100 small forward Terrell Vinson has narrowed his choices to four schools, St. Frances coach Mark Karcher told the St. Petersburg Times. Vinson, who was released from his letter of intent at Loyola Marymount, is down to Maryland, Massachusetts, Cincinnati and South Florida.

Posted by: Terptime | February 22, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Lance Stephenson, SG, New York/Lincoln
Doug Steinbock for ESPN.com
Lance Stephenson would be a huge get for either Maryland or St. John's. Player rank (position rank): 8 (3)
Considering: Maryland, Kansas, St. John's, USC, UCLA and Wake Forest
Front-runners: Maryland and St. John's.
Recruiting overview: St. John's was believed to be the team to beat until recently, when Maryland burst onto the scene. Stephenson's high school teammate, James Padgett, is heading to College Park, which could be part of its appeal. Stephenson is scheduled to visit Kansas this coming weekend.
Scouts Inc. says: Stephenson is a productive wing who dominates high school basketball. He is a good natural scorer who can get points in a variety of ways. He has range to 22 feet and is a decent 3-point shooter. His incredible strength makes him tough to stop going to the hoop and gives him an advantage when he posts up against opposing guards. He has a solid handle and is a skilled passer when he wants to be. Stephenson has the ability to create his own shot, though he is more strong than he is quick. He is a good defender when motivated; Stephenson is known for shutting down some of the other elite players he has faced. He has a good IQ, but he needs to work on playing with other elite players

Posted by: Terptime | February 22, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Please see above looks like Gary is not only coaching well but he is recruiting well too! Vinson and Stephenson both looking at MD!!!

Posted by: Terptime | February 22, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

C'mon all of you FOG's, let's hear about how the Terps are still going to get to 8-8 and then win one or two in the ACC.

Don't bother to make your MSG reservations. They won't get that far in the NIT.

Posted by: petecard | February 18, 2009 11:05 AM

Posted by: Barno1 | February 22, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Why not just deal with the bottom line: We are going to miss the tournament this year for the 4th time in 5 years.

Unacceptable.

Gary's responsibility.

Posted by: petecard | February 19, 2009 10:32 AM

Posted by: Barno1 | February 22, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Maryland is a mid-major program right now -Morgan State even beat them-they have Morgan State talent-!!!

Posted by: Terptime | February 18, 2009 10:14 PM

Posted by: Barno1 | February 22, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

MD is a not a top 50 program and has limited talent right now and it is because of recruiting! Those are the facts! You can put out all your crappy facts and irrelevant stats but the results are on the court!! The reason they have won a few games in ACC is Gary Williams coaching! Enough said!

Posted by: Terptime | February 19, 2009 10:17 AM

Posted by: Barno1 | February 22, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Barno1, please quit your day job and destroy haters full time. I can't get enough of it. Well played Mr. Peanut.

Posted by: Lee26 | February 22, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Repost from last night's post-game thread:

Now, here's a result that ALL Maryland fans AND millions of ABC viewers LOVED:

THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND TERRAPINS 88
the university of north carolina tarheels 85

Not only did it bolster their post-season hopes, this win brought Maryland basketball back to the national spotlight. This is the type of win that coaches, players, parents, recruits, and applicants will remember for years to come!

Why would a recruit come play for Gary Williams? Gary Williams is a successful coach and mentor who knows how to get the most out of his student-athletes. Does he lose players from time to time? Sure. Not every student-athlete is cut out for the rigors of this University and its basketball program. Is he struggling with recruiting? Perhaps, but remember he has groomed many assistant coaches who have left to become head coaches at other D1 programs. This might be a down year, but Gary and his crew always find the right players to make his teams competitive. They never lack heart--and always come up with big wins!

Why would a parent send their child to Maryland? Once a safety school, the University of Maryland is now among top national universities. (The average SAT of incoming students this past year was approximately 1200.) It boasts many nationally ranked academic programs, including top notch business, engineering, and communications schools. Simply put, parents see the value in sending their children to a strong school with the faculty, programs and facilities to accommodate the diverse interests of their children.

Go Red, White, Black & Gold--Go Terps!

Posted by: Terptwin | February 22, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Based on all those posts, I guess Barno and Lee are convinced Maryland is going to the Last Waltz this year?

I'm not seeing it. Looks like they need at least one more major victory, this time on the road, or two at home, plus at least one and probably two wins in the ACC tournament.

Which I'd love to see them do.

I'm basing that on the ACC being clearly the 2nd best conference this year (instead of the best), plus the surprise loss to Morgan, plus the really bad losses to a couple of the stronger in-conference teams.

Hearing all arguments to the contrary...

Posted by: Samson151 | February 22, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see the ladies set an example in walloping Duke at home today.

Posted by: Lindemann777 | February 22, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

I guess Barno and Lee are convinced Maryland is going to the Last Waltz this year?

I'm not seeing it.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 22, 2009 7:04 PM

Posted by: Barno1 | February 22, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

"Posted by: Barno1 | February 22, 2009 5:25 PM"

Posted by: Samson151 | February 22, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

terptime: "looks like Gary is not only coaching well but he is recruiting well too! Vinson and Stephenson both looking at MD!!!"

Wish'em best of luck on both. Gary's having a good year in the NY region. By the way, I thought Vinson was more highly recruited than apparently he was -- Loyola Marymount is a good school, but players usually go from Maryland to there, not the other way around.

Given all the blowback here about whether the Terps will make the NCAAs, thought I'd check and see whether I was that far off base. Wish i was, but I don't think so. The Terps had a strong start featuring victories over good Michigan State and Michigan teams, but the rest of the early schedule was fairly weak. And they had that awful game against Georgetown here in the DC area, where the media can pay attention to it. Then that embarrassing Morgan loss (probably shouldn't have been so embarrassing, Morgan's exactly the sort of rebounding club that can give the Terps trouble), but nonetheless, along with Georgetown, that got people talking about whether the Terps were past it.

Then in the ACC, the Terps have some nice home wins but only one W on the road, at struggling Ga Tech. Some of the road losses were respectable (Miami and Fla State) and others were, well, not so much. You lose by what, 40? at Duke and 30? at Clemson (very recently), and that OT win here against UNC looks more like an aberration. To a selection committee member, at least. I guess I'm saying the Clemson loss already sort of cancelled out the Tar Heel victory.

So I think the Terps have to get a road win in the last games, plus a home win against either Wake or Duke, and then do something impressive in the conference tournament, to get back on the positive radar screen.

Gary's a good coach -- that was never his problem -- so let's hope he can pull it off.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 23, 2009 6:02 AM | Report abuse

A quick addendum -- I recall reading a couple years back a quote from a selection committee chair saying that NCAA tourney selectors tried to avoid potential blowouts -- it made them look bad. So if a team had been blown out a couple times during the season, that was taken as a bit of a negative compared to teams that played close in losses, especially against stronger clubs, or on the road.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 23, 2009 6:06 AM | Report abuse

It's really great to see who the real "haters" are.

Barno and company would fit right in with the all of the book burners and big brother types who think that they are the only true Americans (Terp fans). PC Police.
Give us a break.

One win (which was great and we all loved it) and you would think that our team is now among the elite. That they are a lock for the NCAA. That Gary is the best coach in the country and a genius recruiter.

Get real. We have major flaws and one win will not fix them. Making the tournament is still a real crap shoot.

And if we make the tournament what does that mean? Is that our goal? two times in 5 years?

Barno, Lee and company, your standards are pathetically low. Why don't you pay some attention to our women's team and their coach. Now they have the program our men should aspire to.

Posted by: petecard | February 23, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Here's the deal Petecard and Samson. You never EVER back up ANYTHING you say with any sort of evidence. So this is your homework. Samson, you keep saying the ACC is the second best conference and the Big east is the best. Prove it. By any measure. Go find something online that supports your argument. ACC is better by RPI, ACC is better by Pomeroy rating (which by the way IS used by the selection commitee and when you see the smart guys on ESPN talking about it you probably will go "aww nuts that son of a _____ Lee26 was right") ACC is better by just about every bracketologist out there having 7/12 ACC teams in and 8/16 Big East teams. As for petecard the deal with the Terps is this. 8-8 will have them on the good side of the bubble. 8-8 with an ACC tourney win and a decent record will have them in. To get to 8-8 they either win 2 more road games or two more games vs. top ten competition or a combination of the two. they would be 2+ games over .500 in their last 8 games. Two top 5 wins. Really only 1 bad loss. This is all we have said and it's still a tough road ahead but thats the argument thats the deal. Your position is not supported by facts. That is what makes you irritating and us come at you so hard.

Posted by: Lee26 | February 23, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

I rewatched the game last night and Gary is really 10 times the coach that Roy is. Go watch the last 5 minutes of the game and overtime. Don't watch the players watch the sideline. Gary is up calling plays, urging on his team on defense urging on the crowd to make noise, etc. Roy is sitting in his chair silent when they are on O and then crouching when they were on D to get a better look, perhaps he needs new glasses. The best look of this is when they show a close up of him with 3:30 left in OT when Burney went to the free throw line. He is sitting in his chair silent and just has this aww shucks look on his face like he needs his mommy, his blanky, and a stiff drink. And Lawson is back over by the bench looking for some coaching too, nothing. Roy got punked, again, just like the final four in 2002. He can have all the NBA players in the world and he still can't win but 1 of 2 from Gary and it's getting worse. Gary has taken 4 of 6 from him. Think about that with the teams UNC has had the lasat few years and the teams MD has had. Love it.

Posted by: Lee26 | February 23, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

The facts are rather simple Lee. Our record is on the bubble and we are at great risk in not making the tournament for the 4th time in 5 years.

We lost at home to Morgan State. We lost to Georgetown by 27 and Gonzaga by 22 on a neutral court. We got blown out by Duke (41!) and Clemson (29).

We have wins against UNC, Michigan and Mich. State.

We are 18-9 overall and 6-6 in the ACC.

Last year we won 19 games, were .500 in the regular season ACC and didn't get in.

As Bobby Knight says, you are what your record says you are.

You and Barno throw out a lot of garbage about RPI's and conference rankings. The idea that 8-8 will get us in is wishful thinking. It might, but it certainly might NOT. It's one thing to root for your team. It's another to accept mediocrity. Bubble teams are mediocre.

Our standards need to be higher.

I don't want to fire Gary, but I might not want to give him another contract. He has work to do.

Posted by: petecard | February 23, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

petecard: One word: scoreboard.

All the HOG's need not respond.

Posted by: ecglotfelty | February 23, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Well, it was a great win indeed. Coach Williams' record vis a vis Carolina is stellar.

Reading the useful Pomeroy ratings shows a statistic that quantifies what Terp fans have endured for the past two years: inconsistency. Both football and basketball teams show seemingly inexplicable highs and lows.

How to account for this? Is someone feeding the lads a behavior modifying substance every now and then? Perhaps the difference between a 'great' and a 'bad' performance isn't really that much but just the effects of small things the sum of which is greater than the parts.

I'd like to read an analysis of Terp inconsistency from the Post's stable of experts. It's much too simple simply to claim it's coach William's or players' inadequacies yet that's what many observers record on these blogs.

Posted by: AncientTerp | February 23, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Correction, we are 17-9. I gave us another win...wishful thinking! :)

Posted by: petecard | February 23, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Lee26: "You never EVER back up ANYTHING you say with any sort of evidence. So this is your homework. Samson, you keep saying the ACC is the second best conference and the Big east is the best. Prove it. By any measure. Go find something online that supports your argument. ACC is better by RPI, ACC is better by Pomeroy rating (which by the way IS used by the selection commitee and when you see the smart guys on ESPN talking about it you probably will go "aww nuts that son of a _____ Lee26 was right") ACC is better by just about every bracketologist out there having 7/12 ACC teams in and 8/16 Big East teams."

Hmmm... sorry if I haven't supplied you with enough evidence, but to start with, how about the Feb 23 AP Poll: according to SI.com, the Big East is at positions 1, 4, 7, 10, 12, and 24. The ACC is at 3, 8, 9, and 13.

Actually, I'm surprised to see UNC that high after the Maryland loss.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 23, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I forgot to mention: also receiving votes for Top 25 this past week were West Virginia 26, Florida State 18, BC 5.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 23, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

We have major flaws and one win will not fix them. Making the tournament is still a real crap shoot.

Posted by: petecard | February 23, 2009 8:30 AM

Posted by: Barno1 | February 23, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

The AP Poll? Are you serious? Jesus man this isn't college football or 1975, we have things that actually matter to the selection commitee that are readily available online. I know you don't want to go read them because they don't prove your point but come up with something better than the AP poll. That's just laughable.

Posted by: Lee26 | February 23, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

WHY ARE WASHINGTON POST WRITERS SO CRITICAL OF MARYLAND AND NOT GEORGETOWN?--I have noticed a tremendous amount of criticism for Maryland's men’s basketball Coach and team by almost all Washington Post writers. To me it is incredulous that Washington Post writers would be writing such terrible things about a local college basketball team. If the writers want to criticize a local program, they should concentrate on Georgetown who has great talent, but maybe not so good of a coach. Georgetown and its coach should be ashamed of the way the team has played recently.

I have been a loyal fan of Maryland athletics for many years. And I have been outraged by these recent Washington Post articles about the Maryland basketball team and especially Coach Gary Williams. He is certainly a hall of fame coach and one of the best in the ACC.

For example, the recent articles about Coach Williams’ recruiting methods were completely one-sided against Coach Williams. The Washington Post seemed to chastise Coach Williams’ recruiting methods for not playing the unscrupulous AAU recruiting game. Instead, the Washington Post should have praised Williams for not doing so. I applaud Coach Williams for not hiring unqualified AAU coaches, asking for outrageous salaries in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, who can bring excellent basketball players to Maryland.

And there have been many Washington Post articles about the poor quality of the athletes on Maryland’s current basketball team. I think the quality of Maryland's small forwards and guards are as equal to or above average relating to most other teams in the ACC. But, I do agree that Maryland’s post men are not tall enough or as talented as almost any other team in the ACC. However, they always play hard and have shown great improvement since the beginning of this basketball year.

After beating North Carolina, I noticed the articles about Coach Williams and and the talent level of his team have been much more favorable for Maryland fans--a much awaited for and long over due change.

I wonder why Georgetown University has not been afforded similar critical treatment by Washington Post writers. Georgetown does have tall and talented athletes at most positions; but, they have a terrible record. And Georgetown has demonstrated this by beating some of the better college basketball teams in the country while losing to teams with inferior talent. Might it be that Georgetown's Coach John Thompson III is not such a great coach? I am waiting to read what the Washington Post writers had to say about this subject. I am anxious to see what they say about how a team with such good athletes, can be so under achieving.

Posted by: ipa2va | February 23, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

l;ee26: "The AP Poll? Are you serious? Jesus man this isn't college football or 1975, we have things that actually matter to the selection commitee that are readily available online. I know you don't want to go read them because they don't prove your point but come up with something better than the AP poll. That's just laughable."

An old trick: first you demand evidence, then insist it isn't good enough.

Nonetheless, that's one bit of evidence that supports the idea that the Big East is regarded -- by the voters in that poll -- as stronger than the ACC.

Now let's take a look at the Pomeroy poll. First time I've ever seen this, so I can't vouch for its accuracy -- I'm just assuming it's not some gimmicky stat.

Question: which conference is stronger this year? ACC or Big East?

Looking at the top 65 teams (don't know why I picked that number -- something to do with some tournament somewhere), looks like this:

ACC: 8 teams; ranked 2, 5, 14, 19, 28, 47, 59, 65 (Maryland the last)
Big East: 10 teams; 3,4,6,9,20,21,22,32,33,63

Both strong conferences, no doubt. I was surprised to see Wake so low.

Now it's my turn. Since you think you're entitled to hand out homework, let me hand some back: clear your mind for a moment and write down all the arguments you can think of for the obverse position: that based on its record so far this season, Maryland shouldn't make the tournament.


Posted by: Samson151 | February 23, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

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