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Big Shots Loosen Team's Collar

As he prepared to speak to his team during the media timeout with 3:38 remaining in the first half, Gary Williams yanked on his collar to loosen his tie just a tad, a literal conclusion to the figurative act his players already had accomplished. Then Williams clenched his left fist and pumped it a few times as his players gathered around him.

At one point in the first half the Terrapins trailed by 13 points. By that point, after Cliff Tucker had connected from beyond the arc with 4:12 left on the clock, N.C. State's lead was down to a single point.

The 15-4 run Maryland used to close the first half began with a three-pointer from Eric Hayes with 6:34 to go to close the Wolfpack's lead to eight. He finished the first half with nine points, all off of three-point attempts.

"Sometimes that’s all it takes," Williams said. "You make one or two shots, and everybody else relaxes. It’s not just you making the shot; it’s a team thing. When Eric hit those shots, I think we all relaxed a little bit."

If the Terps were a little tense to start the game, it was understandable. Nevermind that it had been a few years since Maryland had won a game in the ACC tournament, the players took the court knowing that of all the "must-win" games they had played this season, last night's was the first one they truly could not have afforded to lose.

Heading into the game, it was commonly thought that Maryland had to win at least two games in the ACC tournament in order to put themselves in good position to gain a NCAA tournament berth. A second win, obviously, would not be possible without first accomplishing the first.

"You’re definitely nervous because you know if you lose you’re pretty much done," Hayes said. "We did a great job of playing with those nerves and turning them into a positive. We came out and played one of our better games in the past couple of weeks. We came out and got the win and that’s all that really mattered."

Tonight, the Terps will take on Wake Forest, who barely hung on to beat Maryland at College Park 10 days ago. Based on what you all saw from the Terps last night, how do you think the rematch against the Demon Deacons will go?

By Steve Yanda  |  March 13, 2009; 7:10 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: Friday's ACC Tournament Viewing Guide

Comments

I honestly can't tell you. They were playing so well, even when they lost to Duke and Wake Forest at home. I had no problems with those losses. But that Virginia game just turned everything on its head. And now they played well in the 2nd half last night.

This much is true, the Terps don't win vs. Wake if Landon Milbourne and Adrian Bowie keep looking lost on the court. Landon is definitely putting in the effort but he is missing all kinds of shots. Bowie looks lost.

Posted by: GoNatsTerps | March 13, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

One more win Terps. One. More. Win.

Posted by: Lee26 | March 13, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

If Mosley does not break the backboard while missing a layup, we may have a chance.

Posted by: rdawes | March 13, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Gotta get scoring tonight from Tucker and/or Bowie. That, and Milbourne's gotta bang the boards hard. I thought Dino had a great game last night. Here's hoping he can repeat that effort vs. Wake's front line.

Posted by: putnam23 | March 13, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Put the Virginia game out of your minds. That game was my fault. I've been to about 20 games in Charlottesville over recent years (I live nearby)and I've never seen Virginia lose. So, I guess I'm their good luck charm. I went to the Maryland - UVA game last Saturday and jinxed the Terps. My bad. I apologize. Won't happen again.

Maryland 78 Wake 71

Posted by: terpin | March 13, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Pomeroy's stats predict our lads will not win. But the Terps are unpredictable and the Deacons are too. Let's say it's a tossup. Hope for proper alignment of the stars and a fierce solar wind.

Posted by: AncientTerp | March 13, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

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