Slowing Down 'That Little Guy'
California guard Jerome Randle might be 5-foot-10, his officially listed height on the Golden Bears' roster. Might be. But Randle made clear to everyone in attendance at the Sprint Center yesterday afternoon that he can do some damage on a basketball court regardless of what the tape measurer reads.
At least, in the first half he did.
Randle drove into the lane throughout the opening 20 minutes with a precision, balance and ball control that was impressive to say the least. And when he wasn't driving to the basket, he was launching three-pointers from NBA range. He finished the first half with 11 points on 5 of 8 shooting.
"In the first half it wasn’t going too good because he was splitting screens and getting into the lane," said Adrian Bowie, who was charged with guarding Randle one-on-one in the first half. "We were trying to keep him out of the lane, but in the first half we weren’t doing too good."
Or, as Eric Hayes put it: "That little guy was getting to the basket ... He was kind of hurting us in that aspect of their offense."
The second half, however, was a different story. Early on, Bowie did a better job of keeping Randle in front of him. And once the Terps switched to a 3-2 zone, Randle was seldom heard from the rest of the night. He finished with 14 points, tallying just three after halftime.
"At five-eight, he needs a little space even though he has great range," California Coach Mike Montgomery said. "He needs space because a bigger player can maybe change shots. One of the problems we have, we don't have a lot of ball-handlers and, unfortunately, Jerome has to do a lot of things."
Too many things, as it turned out. Randle struggled to handle Maryland's pressure defense all game and when the Terps got into their 3-2 zone in the second half, Randle's problems were compounded.
"In the second half, we got to slow him down a little bit," Bowie said. "The zone really slowed them down a lot, and the press helped us out as well."
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