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Terps Fall To Hot-Shooting North Carolina, 108-91

That's right, the Terps scored 91 points and lost. Five Maryland players scored in double figures -- which was one more than North Carolina -- and lost. The Terps shot 48.0 percent from the field -- 55.6 percent in the first half -- and lost. This, folks, was just not meant to be. Not against a superior team with shooters that seemingly couldn't miss if they tried.

"I liked the way we competed in the second half," Gary Williams said. "But this time of year, playing hard in the second half doesn’t get it done."

Three Up:

1) Cliff Tucker. It's been quite a strange couple of days for the sophomore guard. On Saturday, he did not play a single minute in a win over Miami. Afterward, he complained about the low amount of playing time he had been receiving. Sunday was fallout day, when the media (myself most certainly included) likely made more out of Tucker's comments than they were worth. And then tonight, Tucker played 20 minutes, the most of any Maryland reserve. He shot 8 for 14 from the field and tallied 18 points. Afterward, more than one reporter was told Tucker was in the training room and unavailable for comment.

2) Sean Mosley. The freshman guard is making the absolute most of his new starting role. Since entering the first five on Saturday, Mosley has asserted himself on both ends of the floor. Against Miami, it was his defensive tenacity that shined. Tonight, he shot 6 for 10 from the field and scored a team-high 19 points.

3) Offensive game plan. It was clear from the start that Maryland's primary offensive objective was to score in a hurry. The second a North Carolina basket was made, the Terps raced back down the court for a quick counter. Had the teams been trading two-pointers, this might have been an entirely different contest. But the Tar Heels were knocking down three's, while the Terps were answering with lay-ups.

Three Down:

1) Defensive regression. It wasn't long ago when Maryland was relying on its tremendous defensive effectiveness and efficiency to keep itself in games while the offense sputtered. Now, it appears as though those roles have shifted. The offense has been somewhat improved since the 41-point drubbing at Duke, while the defensive efficiency has fallen off dramatically. And what, pray tell, has been the difference between the defense of three weeks ago and the defense currently on display?

"Well," Williams said, "earlier in the season we weren’t playing North Carolina."

The Terps tried man-to-man. They tried zone. They tried calling timeouts. Nothing could break them from the trance from which they watched North Carolina sink 51.4 percent of its shots and 64.0 percent of its three-pointers.

2) Milbourne and Bowie. Last time out, these two were in the upper portion of this evaluation. One game later, what happened? Milbourne tallied nine points and three rebounds. Bowie recorded six points and four rebounds. Neither shot poorly from the field, nor did either make any critical mistakes. At the same time, neither ever seemed fully engaged in the action, which is an aberration for two players who had been Maryland's most consistent performers of late.

3) The state of North Carolina. It has not been all that great of a host to the Terrapins this year. First came the 41-point debacle at Duke. Then came tonight's 17-point defeat against the Tar Heels. North Carolina's 108 points was the fifth-most allowed in Maryland history. The bad news for Gary & the Gang is that two more teams from this state -- N.C. State and Wake Forest -- remain on the docket. Fortunately for the Terps, only one of those contests will require them to return to Tobacco Road.

By Steve Yanda  |  February 3, 2009; 11:08 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: When No Defensive Scheme Will Do

Comments

I can't think of a sane reason why Cliff Tucker has been riding the pine. He makes the most of what few opportunities he receives.

GW needs to provide this guy more quality playing time and reduce GV's time on the court.

Posted by: imterpsfan2 | February 4, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

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