Terps Big Men Hold Down The Fort
There were many points during Sunday night's game against Georgia Tech when Maryland's size disadvantage was made apparent. For instance, with less than two minutes remaining in the first half, freshman guard Sean Mosley was surrounded underneath the Terps' basket by Georgia Tech forward Alade Aminu (6-foot-10) and Gani Lawal (6-foot-9). Mosley wisely dished off to Dave Neal (6-foot-7), who then was blocked by Lawal.
There were other similar instances, but that's not really the point. Rather, a crucial component in Maryland's win Sunday night was the ability of Neal, Landon Milbourne and Dino Gregory to contain Georgia Tech's sizable frontcourt players when the Yellow Jackets had the ball.
Lawal was held to eight points on 4-of-6 shooting, while Aminu recorded seven points. Forward Zachery Peacock (6-foot-8) tallied 11 points, but he took only four shots all night.
Neal has spoken before about some of the techniques he uses to negate the size disadvantage he faces on a nightly basis in the ACC, and many of those maneuvers were on display Sunday night. Neal's first objective typically is to gain defensive position in front of his man in order to make an entry pass more difficult. When caught behind his man, Neal tries to subtly nudge his opponent farther and farther away from the basket, so that turnaround shots are not from such close range.
Obviously, these techniques do not always work, but they sure seemed to against Georgia Tech. Perhaps more startling than the low scoring output to which the Yellow Jackets big men were limited was the fact that Maryland and Georgia Tech came out even on the boards, 35-35.
Lawal grabbed 14 rebounds, but his efforts clearly did not help Georgia Tech as much as Coach Paul Hewitt probably would have liked. The Yellow Jackets tallied just seven second chance points all night.
"It's a gamble, because they do have good players," Gary Williams said of honing in on constricting the effectiveness of Georgia Tech's frontcourt players. "We just felt that we had to try to take one thing away. We've been stung pretty good from the three-point line the last couple league games. But we were tough enough to say, 'Look, if they make some okay, but we can't let them dominate inside.'"
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