Terrapins searching for 'more fight'
At halftime Friday night, Maryland players learned they were being out-rebounded, 23-20, by a Charleston Southern team not known for its glass-cleaning acumen. Coach Gary Williams informed his players of that particular stat in his typically blunt fashion, and the Terrapins' rebounding effort improved in the second half.
Still, Maryland and Charleston Southern ended up tied in the rebounding battle, 43-43, and that did not sit well with Williams or his players after the game.
"We didn’t rebound well at all in the first half," Williams said. "We had to pick it up and those two guys (referring to freshmen forwards James Padgett and Jordan Williams) helped us in the second half. We just weren’t going for the ball in the first half. We’re not the type of team that has a guy that’s going to get 20 rebounds (a game), so we have to have team rebounding. Each guy, when it’s his turn, he’s got to stick his face in there and get hit a little bit as he gets a rebound. That’s just rebounding. You have to be able to do that."
The freshman duo and senior forward Landon Milbourne combined for 24 of Maryland's 43 rebounds (55.8 percent). That certainly counts as an encouraging performance from the three players Maryland likely will most count on in that area this season. Guards Sean Mosley and Greivis Vasquez -- who led the team in rebounding last season -- pulled down five rebounds each.
Milbourne said the biggest halftime adjustment the Terrapins made in terms of rebounding was simply becoming aware of their deficient first-half performance. Gary Williams made sure to bring it to their attention.
"That's just something that we need to work on," Milbourne said of Maryland's effort on the boards. "We're not a perfect team. We're not the biggest team. Last year we had a lot more fight than we do right now, but we're just trying to get back to that."
That task is complicated, in an immediate sense, by the absence of several of the team's frontcourt members. Sophomore forward Jin Soo Choi suffered a right ankle sprain Friday night against CSU and left Comcast Center wearing a protective boot. Choi is not expected to play Tuesday night against Fairfield but may be able to return Friday against New Hampshire, according to a source close to the team.
Sophomore forward Steve Goins remains out with a lingering knee injury, and junior forward Dino Gregory's status remains unsettled. Gregory sat out Maryland's exhibition game, its scrimmage against Temple and its regular season opener due to what the team continues to describe as an unspecified violation of team rules.
Gregory acknowledged this summer that his eligibility for the upcoming season was in question because of a charge of academic dishonesty. It is not known whether the academic charge Gregory acknowledged and his current suspension are related.
For now, Maryland's frontcourt consists of Milbourne, Padgett and Jordan Williams, and while that trio certainly should be able to hold their own against the likes of Fairfield and New Hampshire, it will hope to get some reinforcements before the Terrapins take on, say, Cincinnati or Vanderbilt or Wisconsin or Gonzaga (teams that are in the field of the upcoming Maui Invitational).
"It’s kind of out of necessity right now that he’s starting," Gary Williams said of Jordan Williams. "If Dino could play tonight, he would have been starting. He’s going to play and so is James, and we need both those guys to compliment a situation like that. Hopefully that will happen for us. We’re going to have a good front line as time goes by, but you don’t get excited by one game."
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