Misdirection Only A First Half Charm For Terps
Part of the reason for Maryland's success early in Tuesday night's game against Wake Forest was the misdirection it used to draw and and subsequently fool several Demon Deacon defenders.
For all of its superior size and athleticism, Wake Forest began the game flat-footed, and the Terps took advantage.
With just more than eight minutes remaining in the first half and Maryland up by five, freshman guard Sean Mosley looped underneath the basket and drew two Wake Forest defenders to his side. With Chas McFarland and James Johnson occupied by Mosley's motion, Braxton Dupree was left unguarded on the opposite side of the lane.
Mosley whipped a pass to Dupree, who finished with a dunk. Dupree played six minutes -- all in the first half -- and tallied four points.
With 48 seconds left before halftime, Greivis Vasquez drove to his left, leapt into the air and looked to his right. Two Wake defenders followed Vasquez's gaze and adjusted their positions accordingly. That, however, left Vasquez with a clear passing lane to Mosley, who was standing near the basket all by his lonesome. One no-look pass and one uncontested lay-up later, Maryland's lead stood at five once more.
"When you go to the basket there and there's a 6-9 guy coming at you, your first instinct is to pass the ball to whoever he came off of," said Eric Hayes, who finished with four assists. "And you know, they did a good job of coming off their man and getting blocks on us."
The latter part of Hayes' quote told the story of how the second half went for the Terps on offense. Wake switched to a zone scheme that made the Demon Deacons less susceptible to being fooled by misdirection.
So when Vasquez or Hayes or Cliff Tucker drove to the basket and then dished off to a teammate, Wake's defenders -- who weren't caught out of position -- had just enough time to swoop in and swat the ball away.
Johnson's block on Dave Neal 40 seconds to go in the game might have been the most emblematic of the 10 Wake recorded on the night. Even Neal, who was Maryland's most dynamic offensive threat in the second half, could not escape the Demon Deacons' collective reach.
"We got inside a couple of times, but they blocked everything," Gary Williams said. "Every time we got it in there somebody swatted it away."
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