Terps Fall to Duke In ACC Semis, 67-61
The Terps weren't about to make excuses for today's loss, but several players did acknowledge the mental and physical strain of playing three games in three days took a bit of a toll on them against Duke. Gary Williams cited missed scoring opportunities by his team and timely three-point shooting by the Blue Devils as key contributors to the game's outcome.
As for the Terps' NCAA tournament chances, Williams said he would leave that discussion up to the selection committee.
"What we’ve done is for people to judge," Williams said. "In other words, I’m not a part of that selection process so I don’t want to say anything about it. I know we’re a very good basketball team right now."
1) Eric Hayes. The junior guard took over for the Terps late in the game when they were desperately trying to make up ground on Duke. He scored 15 of his team-high 20 points in the final five and a half minutes of the game. His jumper with 16 seconds left pulled the Terps to within four, but that was as close as they came.
2) Quick starts for Greivis Vasquez and Adrian Bowie. The guard tandem tallied a combined 17 points in the first half and was a central reason why the Terps trailed by only two points at the half. Vasquez finished with 14 points and six rebounds, while Bowie added 10 points.
3) Sean Mosley's defense. The stat sheet says he only recorded one steal and one block, but his defense on Gerald Henderson was highly commendable. Henderson, Duke's most dynamic scorer all season, scored just eight points on 3 of 14 shooting. Mosley also added eight points and five rebounds.
1) Three-point defense. Duke shot 40.9 percent from beyond the arc tonight. The Blue Devils were paced by Jon Scheyer, who connected on 4 of 10 attempts from three-point range.
Scheyer "hit a couple big time shots; he did a good job," Williams said. Duke forward Kyle Singler "made a couple in the first half which probably kept us from going into the zone earlier than we did. When we did go to the zone, Scheyer knocked a couple down. He was very impressive today."
2) The 3-2 zone defense. It had been so effective for the Terps for most of the season. Williams said he's probably played more zone defense this year than any other during his head coaching career and that it "has been good to us." But today against Duke, the zone scheme proved detrimental. The Terps went to it midway through the second half, and Duke responded by going on a 12-2 run that broke the game open. Duke broke the zone down, first by driving into the lane and then by knocking down shots along the perimeter.
3) Fatigue. As mentioned above, several players admitted to being a little tired during today's contest, especially during its latter stages. They also said that fatigue led to several mental mistakes that cost Maryland opportunities on both ends of the floor.
Williams "said we were making a couple of mental mistakes as far as on defense and as far as not finishing (shots)," Landon Milbourne said. "He was just trying to get us riled up, get us back into it. He was right, but as the players on the team, you just have to push it; you just have to go through it. Nobody’s going to be sympathetic. You have to just play."
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