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Men's basketball team turns to the tape

While talking to Maryland's players after last night’s exhibition win over Indiana (Pa.), it was easy to forget that the Terrapins had just won by 21 points. Senior forward Landon Milbourne talked about a teamwide lack of effectiveness. Junior guard Adrian Bowie said Maryland was outworked in several key aspects of the game.

The bright side*, for the Terrapins, is that they now have something tangible against which they can measure themselves. They can see the flaws IUP, their first opponent in eight months, exposed in their game and then specifically hone in on those areas during practice.

* Actually, there was another bright side to last night's game for Maryland, and that was that the Terrapins did not make like Syracuse and lose at home to a Division II team.

"Games like that are really valuable, just so that you can walk in tomorrow and have the tape of going against somebody else instead of just playing against yourself all the time," Maryland Coach Gary Williams said. "And just to see where we failed. In other words, we tried to take some shortcuts in terms of running our offense, playing defense, rebounding that we paid for tonight and certainly will pay for as we go along. So, good teams learn."

According to Williams and several players, there will be three fairly broad points of emphasis during practice over the next few days: rebounding, team defense and offensive execution. Maryland was outrebounded by a team severely lacking in size, it allowed numerous uncontested shots because of breakdowns in defensive assignments and turned over the ball 15 times (11 in the first half).

"I think we got just a little bit overconfident, and you can’t do that," senior guard Greivis Vasquez said. "You just can’t. We learned our lesson, especially myself. I can’t allow myself and my teammates to not be ready to play. We need to run our plays hard. I don’t think we need to worry about who’s scoring the most points; we’ve just got to worry about who’s going to win at the end of the night. We’ve just got to play better defense. That’s the main thing for me right now, and the whole team."

Of all the shortcomings Maryland players listed that arose out of last night's game, the Terrapins' defensive problems appeared to be most worrisome.

"We can score a lot of points, but it all depends at the end of the day on whether we can stop our opponents," sophomore guard Sean Mosley said.

Again, Maryland won by 21 points. The Terrapins forced IUP into 20 turnovers and created 12 steals. They held IUP to 36.5 percent shooting from the field and 20.0 percent from beyond the three-point arc. So the defensive performance was not grossly deficient by any means.

The point several players tried to emphasize was that against a better opponent -- one that they might play, say, in about three weeks in Maui -- such a defensive effort very well could result in a loss.

On Wednesday, "we’re probably going to spend a good amount of time watching tape and the way we played poor defense," Vasquez said. "Sometimes you don’t have your best night, but we’re not going to come out with excuses. We’ll continue to work and make sure we get better defensively. I think on offense we got there, but we got to set the tone defensively."

By Steve Yanda  |  November 4, 2009; 8:38 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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