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Terps Judicious With The Press

Miami guard Lance Hurdle had a bad night against the Terps. A really bad night, in fact. I don't follow the Canes closely enough to proclaim it was his worst performance of the season, but I can't imagine he'd still be a starter for them if he consistently had nights like he had last night.

Hurdle's stats would not indicate anything too troubling. Rather, it was the manner in which Maryland's press defense appeared to overwhelm Hurdle that caused him such consternation.

Two and a half minutes into the game, Hurdle was called for a 10-second violation. He never made it past a pair of Terps defenders to midcourt.

With 11:30 remaining in the first half, Sean Mosley and Adrian Bowie harrassed Hurdle into a turnover.

Forty-five seconds later, Mosley and Greivis Vasquez confined Hurdle just after he passed midcourt. With nowhere to go, Hurdle took on step back and his foot touched the midcourt line. He was called for a backcourt violation. Terps' ball.

"I don't really have a whole lot other than to say they just totally played harder than us, played tougher than us, more physical than us," Miami Coah Frank Haith said. "They took the game to us right from the start and never let up."

What was interesting was that Maryland continued to put immense pressure on the Canes without having to keep up the press. In the second half, the Terps settled into zone defensive schemes that flustered the Canes. Miami did not give up as many turnovers after halftime, but their shot selection deteriorated significantly.

The Canes shot 37.1 percent in the second half, down from the 45.8 percent they shot in the first. Maryland, meantime, shot 50.0 percent after halftime, which was a stark improvement from the 34.3 percent it fired before the break.

"We had pressed well down at Miami," Gary Williams said. "The problem with the press is it can tire you out. You're trying to tire the other team out, as well as steal the ball. We were going to try just mixing it up a little bit more and it worked today. We didn't press much in the second half, but we got a lot out of the press in the first half and maybe we had more energy to run our offense in the second half because we didn't press the whole time."

By Steve Yanda  |  February 1, 2009; 4:21 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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