A leaking press
Historically, Maryland's press defense has been a highly effective tool used to force turnovers and create easy scoring opportunities. When executed crisply and intensely, it is as formiddable a defensive scheme as any other in the country. But that is not to say it is without its potential flaws, as William & Mary made clear during the first half Wednesday night.
With 3-4 Maryland players pushed up the court to trap the opposing team before it can move the ball past mid-court, there is ample room for open looks at the other end. The Terrapins typically bank on their ability to suffocate the ball-handler(s) before they can find open teammates down the court, but last night that wasn't the case.
William & Mary sent players down each sideline and had them wait in the corners for a pass to float their way. Once that happened, it was simply a matter of catch-and-shoot, and the Tribe certainly is adept at doing that. When the Tribe broke Maryland's press, the Terrapins could not get back to defend the half-court quickly enough, leaving guys like Danny Sumner (3 for 5) and Quinn McDowell (3 for 5) opportunities to burn Maryland from beyond the arc.
Early in the second half, Maryland eased off the press and sunk back into a 3-2 zone defense, which is designed to limit good three-point looks. Consequently, the Tribe shot 2 for 10 (20.0 percent) from beyond the arc after the break.
"In the first half they were breaking it and had numbers a lot going down towards the basket, and we weren't really getting out to the corners" to defend, senior guard Eric Hayes said. "In the second half, we did a better job of matching up and not letting them get the ball in as easily as they did in the first half, and I think that created more problems for them."
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