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Terps Prevail Over N.C. State, 71-60

The Terps were well aware of how important tonight's game was in terms of holding onto their NCAA tournament hopes, and it appeared from the outset that the chips were stacked against them. N.C. State recently had switched to a taller lineup that included three players who were 6-foot-9. Add to that Maryland's poor track record on the road this season.

But just as they have at several points this season, the Terps proved their resiliance and came away with a much-needed victory. But don't let the final score fool you. The game was tightly contested throughout and many times it appeared the Wolfpack were on the verge of claiming momentum.

"I told them at halftime, if we lose this game our season’s pretty much over," senior forward Dave Neal said. "And I think they took that into consideration, and we came out in that second half and played hard the last 20 minutes. Now our season’s still going."

Three Up:

1) Greivis Vasquez. Especially in the first half, Vasquez did a masterful job of driving into the lane and taking whatever the N.C. State defense gave him. At times, he would shoot a floater that often went in. At other times, he would dish the ball out to an open teammate along the perimeter. His decision-making might have been better tonight than at any other point this season. He finished with 33 points and five assists.

2) Forcing turnovers. Part of this had to do with N.C. State's horrific ball-handling and decision-making. But part of this also had to do with Maryland's intense ball pressure. The Wolfpack committed 16 turnovers, and those errors oftentimes killed whatever momentum N.C. State was in the process of building. Every Terp except for Braxton Dupree (who played just three minutes) recorded at least one steal.

3) Open looks. N.C. State was just begging for the Terps to make open shots. And Maryland took the Wolfpack up on the offer. With N.C. State clogging the lane, the Terps simply hung out along the perimeter and were waited for dish-outs from Vasquez or whoever else drove into the lane. Maryland shot 48.2 percent from the field and 47.6 percent from three-point range.

Three Down:

1) Interior defense. With the makeup of this season's team, facing more physically imposing lineups was going to be a given. But that doesn't make it any less of a concern. N.C. State's frontline was successful tonight in forcing its way toward the basket and gaining short-range shots. Tracy Smith was the biggest pain in the Terps' collective neck. He finished with 19 points and nine rebounds. Maryland switched to a 3-2 zone midway through the first half and again in the second half. For a while, it was effective, but the Wolfpack eventually found a way back inside for close-up baskets.

2) Rebounding. In many respects, this goes hand-in-hand with the above point, but Gary Williams has pointed out in recent weeks his team's propensity to allow second-chance scoring opportunities. The problem arose again tonight. N.C. State outrebounded Maryland, 32-24, which allowed the Wolfpack do-overs they oftentimes did not deserve. Fortunately for the Terps, N.C. State had such a hard time controlling the ball that it frequently squandered its extra opportunities.

3) n/a

By Steve Yanda  |  March 1, 2009; 11:02 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: N.C. State's Ball-handling Struggles Aid Terps

Comments

There is a reason Steve Yanda now gets ignored by Gary Williams at press conferences.

The Washington Post ought to think long and hard about whether it wants to continue down the current path they're on with respect to the University of Maryland's basketball program. Consider the Post's relationship with the Washington Redskins, which has deteriorated in the last 10 years to the point where Vinny Cerrato and Dan Snyder now refuse to speak with beat reporter Jason La Canfora, due to La Canfora and the Post's perceived agenda-driven, irresponsible and unethical coverage of the Skins over the last several years. That deteriorating relationship culminated this past season with La Canfora attempting to blow the whistle on the Redskins on a phony tampering charge that he called the NFL front offices on--which in turn resulted in Vinny Cerrato publicly calling out La Canfora by name on his radio show and creating quite a backlash among the Post's readers.

This in many ways seems quite similar to today's accusatory piece on possible NCAA violations.

Is this what the Washington Post wants to happen to their relationship with the University of Maryland? The Post has started down this ugly path just recently. But today's piece does not inspire confidence that the attacks will cease.

The blame should not stop with Prisbell and Yanda. Yes, to most observers it does appear that both of the Terps reporters are trying to make a name for themselves at the expense of the Maryland basketball program. But the responsibility should also lay with their assignment editors and all the higher ups in the Sports department involved in the recent attacks. This is a collective effort to go after MD--and one that had better stop if the Post does not want to see more embarrassments like Steve Yanda being ignored by Gary Williams at press conferences.

To the Post's assignment editors: Do you really want this to go where your relationship with the Redskins front office has gone, all just to sell a few papers and generate maybe a little more ad revenue?

To the 2 Terps beat reporters: Do you really want to become Jason La Canfora, and be despised by the team you are assigned to cover and most of your readers, all for the sake of making a name for yourself nationally?

There are other ways to make a name for yourself without losing your journalistic integrity.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 1, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Well, considering that the post is a huge source of info for most fans in the DC area, I think it'll only hurt UMD to ignore them. I'm sorry, but the Baltimore Sun is rather puny.

About the game: We'll live and die by Vasquez. Great game tonight, but he could be a better class act. Up 8 and he intentionally shoots a 3 as time expires? Taunts the other teams fans? He's gotta understand he represents us outside of Maryland. Quit doing us a disservice. When the AP story of the game mentions stuff like that, it reflects horribly on the program. The whole country reads that. I'll be damned if Juan Dixon ever pulled off crap like that.

Posted by: doh1 | March 1, 2009 11:57 PM | Report abuse

Man, this time is gonna be great once Lance Stephenson comes here next year.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to read the Sunday morning sports section. I haven't gotten to it yet.

*Grabs paper*

Huh.

Posted by: BurgundyAndGold | March 1, 2009 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Road wins are always big and tonight was no different. Unlike the FSU and Miami games where the Terps didn't make the critical shots down the stretch, they definitely made every offensive and defensive possession count. I can't wait to be at Comcast this Tuesday to hopefully see an NCAA tournament clinching win.

Posted by: TerpFan2001 | March 2, 2009 12:03 AM | Report abuse

This was a great win. If I were a selector, it would go a long way towards convincing me that Maryland should be given a slot in the NCAA tournament. For one, it's a road win, only their second, and in North Carolina. If they can score a win over UVA or Wake, I would think that does it.

Now for the editorializing of our friend Barno1: "Yes, to most observers it does appear that both of the Terps reporters are trying to make a name for themselves at the expense of the Maryland basketball program. "
I for one don't think that at all.

"But the responsibility should also lay with their assignment editors and all the higher ups in the Sports department involved in the recent attacks. This is a collective effort to go after MD--and one that had better stop if the Post does not want to see more embarrassments like Steve Yanda being ignored by Gary Williams at press conferences."

If I was an editor at the Post, this sort of thinking would strengthen my resolve to follow the story wherever it led. And if Gary Williams really did ignore a Post reporter at a press conference, that would make me think, for sure, we're on to something.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 2, 2009 1:29 AM | Report abuse

You know Yanda, you and Prisbell are jerks.

You just love beating down the Terps to try and make a name for yourselves. Then you have the nerve to write about how bad they are, question why they don't recruit better players, then scare quality kids away by writing here how Maryland violated NCAA rules.

I don't get it?

You know I NEVER agree with Barno, but he's 100% right one this: Is this what the Washington Post wants to happen to their relationship with the University of Maryland?

Gary Williams deserves better, he's one of the good guys and has done more with his life then either of you will ever accomplish.

Give UMD a break. All you want to do is stir up the pot for your own benefit. Please do somewhere else and report on those 'other' schools and maybe you'll see UMD isn't so bad after all.

At the very least we won't have to deal with you two tabloid reporters anymore. I hear your mothers were abducted by aliens, please go report about that. :P

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | March 2, 2009 6:40 AM | Report abuse

The real crime is the headline. Throughout the article the attempt to tie the UnderArmor visit and the UMCP visit together was there but it was impossible to do. The only thing the two visits had in common is that they occured the same day because the kid and his family were down from NYC for the only 36 hours they would be in the state the next three months and killed two birds with one stone. To say UnderArmor and MD can't presue the same recruits is ridiculous. Can no kid going to Duke or UNC wear Nike's on his visit without it being a "gray area"? So the article basically says nothing and deserves no attention.

On to the game. Great win for the Terps. State has played well at home all year (especially the last month) and MD held them at arms length for 36 minutes. For four minutes State tried to make a game of it by pounding the ball inside but GV and the rest of the Terps ran the offense and rebuilt the lead. My one question for Gary, if you are able to get an answer out of him, is what's up with Burney? Is he hurt again? I can't see why Dupree would get minutes over him if he isn't. Honestly I think he should split Dino's minutes as it is. I don't see why he played and looked good vs Clemson, looked even better vs. UNC and then DNP vs. Duke and State...

Posted by: Lee26 | March 2, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

rmcazz: "Give UMD a break. All you want to do is stir up the pot for your own benefit. Please do somewhere else and report on those 'other' schools and maybe you'll see UMD isn't so bad after all."

A good question: is the Post looking to stir up trouble for the U of Maryland?

As far as the two reporters, writing articles that are less than flattering about the beloved local team and its long-time coach is definitely not the way to advance your career in Washington-area sportswriting.

For one thing, the fans get really mad at you. They write in all sorts of hateful stuff about your parentage and your appearance and how they'd like to drop you out the door of a Huey.

I remember all the letters (this was before blogs) that spewed at area newspapers in the wake of the Bias death and the subsequent investigation of Lefty and the Terps. Fans taking the media to task for their obvious attempts to destroy a great program. I remember because I probably wrote a couple of 'em.

Of course, this is nothing so serious. There's no 'smoking gun' here. But universities have taken up the challenge of transparency, and they expect to be investigated when allegations arise.

If you read the Admin's statement, they're not sounding worried. I wouldn't be, either.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 2, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

One of the key positives was the outstanding ballhandling by Vasquez and Hayes. In 69 minutes, they had 9 assists and just one turnover. Two negatives were Milbourne fouling out in 19 minutes and the so-so play of the starting backcourt.

Posted by: gw67 | March 2, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

About Vasquez: does he stay next season or try to go pro?

These two games (UNC and NC State) reminded me of how good he looked last summer against pros and other Olympic-caliber teams. Sure, his game has holes in it -- many of which you read about earlier this season from disappointed fans -- but some of those flaws become strengths in the matchup world of pro basketball.

He's 6'5", plenty quick, a good passer who runs the floor with abandonment. He's a streaky 3 point shooter but has unlimited range. And he's spent 3 seasons playing Gary Williams-style perimeter defense, a lost art in the pros.

His game resembles Ginobili, and not just because they're South Americans. It's that hyperkinetic style they have. If you can live with the errors, they can really help a team.

He apparently wanted to go last year, but couldn't get the rating he wanted. This year, especially with a strong tournament, that could change.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 2, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

I for one, would like to see at leat ONE improvement on these message boards. And that is that the whole pack of you would make yourselves aware of at least some, if not all internet traditions.

When commenting on a blog post or story, PLEASE do so in the section to THAT PARTICULAR ENTRY. The spillovers are driving me nuts. Of the ten comments preceding, only 5 are about the actual game, which is what the actual post is about. (granted, some of them are replies and at least one of them attempted to address both threads)

I realize that it is not a comment posting standard, per sa (as stated by the WaPo webmaster), and there are always valid reasons to steer the discourse away from the initial post. However, hijacking a thread when there a perfectly appropriate forums for the new (foreign) topic should be called out for exactly that; HIJACKING.

RANT OVER

Posted by: mabkhar | March 2, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

(Simpsons professor Fink nerd voice) "Stop posting about a pervious story on the current thread. Where are the admins on this blog. mrrrr... I am so angry I need a HiC to clam down. mrrr...."

Posted by: Lee26 | March 2, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Did the writer even watch the game???

"The problem arose again tonight. N.C. State outrebounded Maryland, 32-24, which allowed the Wolfpack do-overs they oftentimes did not deserve." Sure, the Terps got outrebounded in the box score, which is obviously all this writer saw of this game, but even a high school sports writer would see that the Wolfpack had only 6 offensive rebounds. Considering that State was playing a big lineup and the Terps played a 3-2 zone for a good chunk of the game, giving up just six offensive rebounds is a stellar effort.

If you want to criticize anything about last night's game, why not talk about the Terps inability to turn State turnovers directly into points and their inability to finish when they did get close (Mosley, Bowie, and Greggory), something that seriously haunted the team in the loss to Duke.

To constantly criticize this team because of a OBVIOUS flaw is just LAZY writing, and the sign that the beat writer does not actually pay attention during the games!

Posted by: Russtinator | March 2, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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