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Maryland falls to Wisconsin, 78-69

Maryland will depart from Hawaii tomorrow afternoon having dropped two straight games to the only major conference opponents it has faced this season. While the Terrapins have demonstrated that their press defense can produce positive results, recurring themes emerged during their stay in Maui that might be cause for concern with two more tough tests upcoming.

A day after shooting 54.8 percent from the free throw line, Maryland shot 58.8 percent from the charity stripe. The Terrapins also had to deal with two starters -- Sean Mosley and Jordan Williams -- getting into early foul trouble, the second straight game in which that was the case, as well. Adding to the list was Maryland's poor perimeter defense. The Badgers made 7 of 12 three-point attempts in the first half.

"We thought after last night watching them that if we doubled down and kicked it, since they didn’t make threes last night that that would work," Coach Gary Williams said. "But they made threes tonight when they kicked it out."

Three Up:

1) Eric Hayes. The senior guard has been one of Maryland's most consistent offensive performers so far this season. He shot 6 of 10 from the field and tallied 13 points Wednesday against Wisconsin. He also recorded five rebounds and three steals. With Mosley in foul trouble and Greivis Vasquez continuing to make questionable decisions with the ball in his hands, Hayes stepped forward tonight when Maryland needed a steadying presence.

2) Rebounding. Believe it or not, Maryland didn't get killed on the boards as might have been expected against a lengthy Wisconsin frontcourt. The Badgers won the battle of the boards, 33-28, but if you'd have told Gary Williams before the game that his team was only going to be outrebounded by five, I'd think he would have liked Maryland's chances. Jordan Williams grabbed six boards and Eric Hayes grabbed five to lead the way.

3) Greivis Vasquez. For the second straight night, Vasquez led the team in scoring. This time he had 18 and shot 6 for 13 from the field. Still, the Terps have yet to see an all-around solid performance from Vasquez, the kind of performance for which he became known in previous seasons. He recorded four rebounds and two assists, and for most other ACC guards those totals would be fine. But this Maryland squad needs more from Vasquez in those areas. He also made five turnovers, and several of them came when Vasquez simply had the ball stripped out of his hands.

Three Down:

1) Perimeter defense. Gary Williams said the Terrapins started the game focussed on not allowing Wisconsin to get the ball into the post. They did so by double-teaming Wisconsin's forward, specifically Jon Leuer. Williams believed they could devote extra attention to such a task because Wisconsin had not shot the ball particularly well from beyond the arc the night before against Gonzaga. On Wednesday, the Badgers lit it up from three-point range, shooting 45.5 percent on the game. They were allowed several open looks because Maryland's guards could not get back out to the perimeter in time to get a hand in the shooter's face.

2) First-half free throw shooting. Maryland had a roster full of quality free throw shooters last season, and nearly all of them returned. That makes explaining their current free throw shooting woes all the more problematic. The Terrapins missed 5 of 10 free throws in the first half against Wisconsin, and they shot just better than 50 percent from the charity stripe Tuesday against Cincinnati. They paid for it against the Bearcats, and they paid for it again today against the Badgers, who entered halftime with a 10-point cushion.

3) Foul trouble. Sean Mosley shot the ball pretty well Wednesday (4 of 5 from the field), but his offensive efforts were curtailed somewhat by the number of fouls he tallied. He and freshman forward Jordan Williams had two fouls each by halftime. Mosley ended up fouling out of the game. In recent games, it was Landon Milbourne who was limited due to foul trouble. On Wednesday, it was Mosley. For a team that is not at full strength entering a pair of tough games, foul trouble would seem to rank near the top of Maryland's "Things To Avoid" list.

By Steve Yanda  |  November 25, 2009; 8:02 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: Terps 'couldn't get over the top' in Maui

Comments

Another disappointing loss.

As today is Thanksgiving I am thinking about what we have to be thankful for regarding the Terps. Leaving our success earlier in the decade out...we can at least be thankful that it is early in the season. We can hope things will get better.

That's all I am going to say today.

Posted by: petecard | November 26, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

It is time for concern, though not panic. DG's return should help tremendously. The terrible FT shooting needs to end. I actually was pleasantly surprised by the play of Choi - do not think he will be a wasted scholarship at all. I used to think that Neal was a wasted scholarship but he proved me wrong. The freshmen bigs played admirably against great competition. We played pretty deep through our bench as well which will be beneficial throughout the season. Look for a big win vs. Indiana next week to set things in the right direction. I know DG will be hungry and all over the boards. Now if they can just concentrate better on the FTs....

Happy Thanksgiving to all. The posters on this board are better than most of the reporting in the WaPo and I look forwad to seeing what all of you have to say from day to day about the teams. Certainly a smaller group than the skins board, but across the board far better informed. have a great holiday with the ones you love and lets hope for a great season in the only sport that really matters - Terps (and NCAA) basketball!!!

Warm Regards to all -

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | November 26, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

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