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Maryland heads to Maui following 82-55 win over New Hampshire

The Maryland men's basketball team will depart for Hawaii early tomorrow morning, and they'll do so in pretty good shape. The Terrapins are 3-0 after recording a 27-point win Friday night over New Hampshire. That Maryland's margin of victory against the Wildcats was its slimmest of the year thus far speaks both to the level of competition the Terrapins have faced and the high level at which they currently are performing.

"I don’t judge the margins, the scores or anything like that," Coach Gary Williams said. "I’m just trying to get us to play at a certain level. A lot of times as a coach I work harder in these games than I do in some of the games later on because when you’re functioning on all cylinders and you’re a good team, you usually do a lot of great things. Now, especially with a couple of freshmen out there a lot of the time, you’re trying to teach as you go in these games. Where we are right now, it’s hard to say, but you know, we’ll find out pretty quick."

Three Up:

1) Landon Milbourne. The senior forward turned in his third straight solid performance Friday night against New Hampshire. He tallied a career-high 24 points on 9 of 15 shooting. There were significant stretches of the game when he simply could not be stopped. Milbourne has come a long way in understanding his role in Maryland's offense from this point last season. And while he's certainly having a positive effect on the two freshmen bigs, their presence is taking a considerable amount of stress off of him in the post, as well.

2) Sean Mosley. Putting Mosley's name in this section after games very well may become a repetitive act this season. The sophomore guard recorded his first collegiate double-double Friday night, tallying 13 points and a career-high 10 assists. Last season, Mosley was relied upon primarily to provide a staunch defensive presence along the perimeter, and while he still does that quite well (three steals against New Hampshire), he also has demonstrated an offensive efficiency not seen out of him since his days at Saint Frances Academy.

3) Eric Hayes. Gary Williams called Hayes's point total "the calmest 15 points" he'd ever seen. No, Hayes will not often be described as flashy, but he certainly is capable of being a scorer Maryland can lean on as long as he remains aggressive with the ball in his hand. Hayes shot 3 of 4 from three-point range Friday night.

The performances of Milbourne, Mosley and Hayes were critical for several reasons. For starters, it helped the team's overall offensive efficiency. The Terrapins shot 56.6 percent from the field on the night. Secondly, they helped negate another off night by Maryland's preseason all-ACC first team guard.

Three Down:

1) Greivis Vasquez. Through three games thus far this season, Vasquez is shooting 30.3 percent from the field. Now, you can say, "It's only been three games. Chill out." And that would be a completely fair assessment. But you also could look at the types of shots Vasquez is attempting, as well as the number of open looks he is passing up, and have legitimate cause for concern. Vasquez shot 50 percent from the field Friday night, but he attempted just eight shots, a departure from his typical offensive approach. He seemed frustrated most of the night, and the turnovers, traveling violations and offensive fouls for which he was charged likely didn't help matters. He went through a slump like this last January and worked his way out of it. If Maryland is to have success in Maui, the Terrapins may need him to snap out of it sooner rather than later.

2) Suspensions. Junior forward Dino Gregory sat on the bench during a game for the first time this season Friday night, though he was dressed in a dapper gray suit and did not play. But we already knew that was coming. He won't return to action until Dec. 12 due to a team-mandated suspension. What we didn't know heading into Friday night's game was that sophomore forward Steve Goins also would be suspended. According to a press release, Goins violated the athletic department's class attendance policy. He was not present on Maryland's sideline during the game. Goins had missed the first two regular season games with a lingering knee injury, but Gary Williams had said Thursday that Goins practiced a day earlier and was progressing in his rehabilitation. Would Goins have been physically ready to compete against New Hampshire? Maybe. Maybe not. His suspension took care of that issue.

Gary Williams did say after the game that Goins would make the trip to Hawaii with the team and that he could play Monday against Chaminade. He also said sophomore forward Jin Soo Choi could play Monday, as well. Choi suffered a sprained right ankle during a Nov. 13 win over Charleston Southern and did not dress for Tuesday night's win over Fairfield. Choi was in uniform and completed warm-ups Friday, though he did not play. Williams said Choi would have been available had the Terrapins gotten into foul trouble.

3) Half-court offensive execution. The Maryland press was fully functional Friday night. The Terrapins tallied 11 steals and forced New Hampshire to commit 21 turnovers. But Gary Williams has said repeatedly in recent weeks that the team can't continue to rely on its transition game to build and maintain its leads. After Friday's win, several players said the half-court offense is progressing, though it is still far more effective in practice than it is in games.

"If they’re going to give you lay-ups, you take ‘em," Gary Williams said. "And you have to work hard to get that. You have to be looking for it and you have to handle the ball ... We’re a good ball-handling team, but we have to keep it. You know, you have to keep working at it to maintain it.

"I’ll take the points whatever way they come; it’s just at this time of the year, you’re trying to work on some things. In other words, you don’t want the players to think transition all the time because it’s not always there. You have to be a good half-court offensive team, and that’s what we were trying to work on tonight."

By Steve Yanda  |  November 20, 2009; 11:05 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Comments

These teams we destroyed aren't world beaters but they aren't cupcakes either. Good work so far by Gary and the boys.

Posted by: lavar609 | November 22, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

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