Terps Close Regular Season With 68-63 Loss At Virginia
The body language said it all. Whether it was Gary Williams with his lips pursed and his eyes down or Greivis Vasquez with his shoulders slumped and his gaze distant, it was clear the Terps knew they let one get away today at the John Paul Jones Arena.
Maryland built a 13-point lead in the first half and then faltered once Virginia switched to a zone defense. Players said effort, aggressiveness and clarity all were lacking during the final 25 minutes of play. In the end, it might have cost the Terps a NCAA tournament bid. It certainly made their necessary objective for next week's ACC tournament more extensive.
"We know; we know,” Greivis Vasquez said. “We’re mature about it. We knew it was our win to seal the deal, and now we got to win the ACC tournament. We might have to make something impossible, possible [ellipses] At least two good wins would get us back in (NCAA tournament discussion), but we’ve got to show people we can play night in, night out. We’ve got to prove it again.”
1) Early offensive aggressiveness. Maryland's flex cuts were creating good looks early on. Landon Milbourne found a groove that had been missing of late. Vasquez was scoring, as well. On the whole, the Terps appeared in complete control. And that, Williams said, was a problem.
"It’s a game where you look at the start of the game and it’s almost like it’s too easy, where you think that’s going to continue," Williams said. "We got away a little bit when they went on their run in the first half of trying to run our offense properly when they were in their zone."
2) Dave Neal. The senior forward continues to turn in solid performances. He scored 15 points on 6 of 12 shooting from the field and 3 of 5 shooting from three-point range.
3) Second chance scoring opportunities. Emphasis on "opportunities." The Terps collected a bundle in the second half, but struggled to finish many of them.
1) Zone defenses. Maryland struggled to break down Virginia's zone defense all night. The Terps were more hesitant to drive toward the basket and were too quick to fire off a shot. Maryland shot 37.5 percent from the field in the second half after shooting at a 46.2 percent clip in the first.
"We just got to look at the tape because I know the whole entire ACC tournament, people are going to be playing us zone," Neal said. "They see that our man offense is very good but our zone offense could use a little work."
2) Offensive inefficiency. The Terps required 66 shots to compile their 63 points. Vasquez alone took 20 shots. Maryland shot 22.7 percent (5 for 22) from beyond the arc.
3) Effort deficiency. The players should speak for themselves on this one ...
"We didn’t play hard, man," Vasquez said. "We didn’t play hard and then we slowed down when they went zone."
"If you couldn’t get excited for this game – we’re 7-8 and had a chance to win to go 8-8 – if you can’t get excited to play hard for 40 minutes, I mean, I question your love for basketball," Neal said. "But we can’t use that as an excuse. We should have come out here and played harder."
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