Maryland falls to Cincinnati, 69-57, in first loss of season
No. 21 Maryland was able to fluster Cincinnati with its full-court press for a while in the second half, long enough to close the deficit at one point to seven points. But the Bearcats showed more discipline and maturity than many observers believed they possessed and eventually made the necessary adjustments.
Once Cincinnati did that, the Terrapins (4-1) lost out on the only advantage it had left. Maryland did not shoot the ball well (35.8 percent from the field) and lost the rebounding battle, 47-33. But Coach Gary Williams said it was Maryland's inability to capitalize on the many scoring opportunities afforded to the Terrapins by its press defense early in the second half that prevented them from making a complete comeback.
"When you’re behind by 13 or whatever, you can’t afford any mistakes," Williams said. "You have to play almost perfect when you have situations where you can score. We didn’t play perfect once we got the ball."
1) Greivis Vasquez. No, Vasquez's shooting percentage wasn't great (29.4 percent), but he was able to score with a proficiency the Terrapins had not seen from him in a game this season prior to Tuesday. He tallied a game-high 19 points to go along with five rebounds, four assists and three steals. Gary Williams said Vasquez's performance in the second half was as good as he'd seen Vasquez* play this season.
*Neither Vasquez nor any other Maryland player was made available to the media following Tuesday's loss. Just before Gary Williams left the podium of the postgame press conference at around 6:30 p.m. local time he said: "We play at 11:30 (a.m.) tomorrow, so we had the players go get something to eat."
2) Full-court press. When they want to, the Terrapins can be absolutely suffocating in their press defensive sets. At the start of the second half, Maryland flustered Cincinnati with its press and forced the Bearcats into making silly mistakes. Eleven of Cincinnati's 15 turnovers came after halftime.
3) James Padgett. When fellow freshman forward Jordan Williams got into early foul trouble, Padgett came in and performed servicably against Cincinnati's big, physical frontcourt. Padgett tallied nine points on 4 of 6 shooting to go along with five rebounds. Jordan Williams, despite his foul trouble, didn't play too poorly either. He finished with nine rebounds and four points.
1) Free-throw shooting. Maryland shot 17 for 31 (54.8 percent) from the charity stripe Tuesday. The Terrapins did a much better job of attacking the basket in the second half, but they struggled to convert the ensuing free throws. Padgett missed four. Vasquez missed three. Sean Mosley missed two. Cliff Tucker missed two.
"The problem we had today was when we stole the ball a couple of times and got fouled, we missed the foul shots or we missed a couple of lay-ups when we stole the ball," Gary Williams said.
2) Foul trouble. Jordan Williams and Landon Milbourne each picked up two early fouls, which sent them to the bench for a stretch during the first half in which Cincinnati began to gather steam. Williams drew Yancy Gates (6-foot-9, 260 lbs.) as his defensive assignment and did a fairly good job of deny entry passes into the Cincinnati big man early on. But once Williams got into foul trouble, he was forced to be more cautious in his defensive approach, which limited his effectiveness. Milbourne's foul trouble kept him from getting into an early rhythm for a second straight game. Consequently, Milbourne was a non-factor for the duration. He finished with seven points and no rebounds.
3) The bitter Lance Stephenson pill. Maryland fans could not have enjoyed watching Stephenson -- once a prized Maryland recruit -- at times dominate the Terrapins on Tuesday. He tallied 11 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals. He even got into a brief scuffle with Vasquez midway through the second half. When the game ended, the smile on Stephenson's face could not have been any wider.
November 24, 2009; 10:28 PM ET
Categories: Men's basketball
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