Wake's 1-3-1 Zone Defense Causes Terps Headaches
Wake Forest defenders proved susceptible in the first half to wandering away from their assigned men in attempts to provide help on whichever Terp had the ball. Maryland players noticed as much and simply passed to their suddenly open teammates.
With just more than eight minutes remaining before the intermission, freshman guard Sean Mosley looped underneath the basket, drawing Wake Forest post players Chas McFarland and James Johnson to his side. Standing all by his lonesome was sophomore forward Braxton Dupree, who had to wait only a few seconds before Mosley fired him the ball. Dupree finished with a dunk. McFarland and Johnson exchanged exasperated glances as they marched down the court.
In the first half's final minute, junior guard Greivis Vasquez dribbled left, leapt into the air and looked to his right. Following Vasquez's eyes, two Wake Forest defenders shifted accordingly, but Vasquez rifled a no-look pass to Mosley, who finished an uncontested lay-in.
Using misdirection and a whole lot of hustle, Maryland sustained a lead for most of the first half. The Terps exposed the holes in Wake's man-to-man defense and were rewarded with numerous open looks.
But in the second half, Wake used more of its 1-3-1 zone defensive look and Maryland struggled to adapt. The lane was more difficult to navigate. Passing lanes were more congested. Clean looks were harder by which to come.
Responsible for an area, rather than a specific Maryland player, the Demon Deacons were able to flow along whatever path the ball headed, which made them more difficult to fool with misdirection.
After shooting 44.1 percent from the field in the first half, the Terps shot 34.3 percent after the intermission.
"In the second half, we just couldn’t move as well as we did in the first half, and that hurt us," Gary Williams said. "We have to, against a team with that size, use our speed, and we just, uh, didn’t seem to have it there for a while. And their zone is big. It’s just really long. They spread out out there. We had trouble with the passing angles. And the open shots that we did get, they didn’t kick in there for while."
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