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Experience helped stave off upset

Just out of curiosity, how many of you had visions of the Morgan State game last season dancing in your head at any point during the second half Saturday during Maryland’s matchup against Eastern Kentucky? Or maybe you thought back even further to two seasons ago, when Maryland dropped three straight December home games to Boston College, Ohio and American?

Regardless, the Terrapins got it together in time Saturday to pull away late for an 11-point win over Eastern Kentucky. Coach Gary Williams and several players said experience played a significant role in the team not allowing the win to slip away, as it did in similar situations in seasons past. But that didn’t keep the Colonels from putting at least a temporary scare into the home squad.

“It wasn't pretty,” Gary Williams said. “We had some layups that we should have made there that kind of let them hang around. We missed a free throw rebound down there where they got a score after we didn't get a rebound. When those things happen, when you miss a layup that you make nine times out of 10 you really worry, you know, because you're giving them chances to hang in there, and you don't want to give a team like that chances because they could hit two threes in two possessions and that's a six-point swing.”

By Steve Yanda  |  December 15, 2009; 10:39 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: A solid start to the season for Milbourne

Comments

The bevy of talented juniors and seniors is why so many of us are very excited about this team. Coupled with the freshmen bigs and GW's history fo winning we should have a very good to great season. Ok, so what can go wrong?

1 - One or more of the key players does something stupid academically (already happened with DG) a la McCray.

2 - A major injury to a big - DG, LM, JW or JP (Goins does not count b/c he has never really played). We are well set at guard and should be able to overcome a single injury to any of the backcourt players.

3 - Mental f-ups against inferior opponents. We keep bringing up the lower tier programs that MD has lost to. We got beat by Miami and Fl State last year in games that appeared to be won. We lost to UVA as well. The team needs to maintain intensity when they have a lead - especially in road ACC games.

This team is a typical MD team that is capable of scoring 20 points in 4 minutes but then go 5 minutes without a basket. We have seen that we are not an elite talent club this year, but with good talent. We need out experienced guys to play to the level of their experience - I think Hayes has, but AB, CT and GV have been inconsistent thus far. SM is playing ridiculously well to this point. LM has been quietly streaky.

GW is still likely smarting from last year's criticism. I think that will be used to get this team to deliver a great season.

Regards -

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | December 15, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Great post Hugh. I think barring a major injury or suspension, there is no reason why this team shouldn't win double digit games in the ACC. Yes we lost 3 games out of conference, but none was a "bad" loss..all of those teams are top 25. The Indiana road win may end up looking better down the road as well--they hung with #4 Kentucky for a while on Saturday.

The worries about Vasquez derailing our season are unfounded. He appears to be coming out of his slump and he's got a few more weeks to get his confidence back before ACC play begins.

I really hope our starting 5 for the long haul includes both Gregory and Williams. I would love to see Milbourne back at the 3 and have Hayes be that spark plug off the bench that he was last year and his freshman year. And I don't think many small forwards in the country can hang with Milbourne's quickness, and now he has developed low post moves as well.

Lot of possibilities with this team...Going to be a very interesting season.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 15, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Agree that none of the losses was a "bad" loss. GV will come around; if he does disappear or regress again (which lets face it is entirely possible), we need AB and CT to deliver at the levels that they showed us last year. AB disappearing is as much of a concern as GV's issues. In the big wins, AB delivered big games. This is all on the reasonable assumptions that SM continues his pace to be this years MVP and that EH stays steady.

How about Mosley. We knew he was a great recruit (ok, there were arguments about THAT during the "GW can't recruit" drama last season) but seriously, the guy has played so well this year....He actually reminds me of (oh no, I'm gonna say it) Steve Francis but with smarter court sense. We'll have a great PG on the team next year in SM. I think he will have a better career at MD than GV, given what he has delivered thus far this year, and the fact that he will have some bigs that can play surrounding him.

Regards -

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | December 15, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I understand that this is a UMD site, but even die hard UMD fans should see clear.
The two losses in Hawaii WERE "BAD" losses. Some want to be optimistic, but neither Wisc. or Cinn. was ranked at that time, so you get no credit for those losses. The Villanova game was really a home game for UMD, and you lost that game too. The game against E Kent., at Comcast,
was in doubt with 6 min. left.
Where do you guys get all of this optimism?
Actually, you should be a little worried. I will keep a close eye on how UMD plays the next few "cupcakes".

Posted by: Hlynchmaster | December 15, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Sorry pal, but both teams were in the top 40 at the time and now they are both ranked--so those losses can't possibly be considered "BAD" at this point in this season. If either team collapses a la Gtown last year, then perhaps later in the year we can reevaluate and call one of those a bad loss. But as of right now, they were quality opponents and the losses don't look bad.

As for your cherry picking of the "game in doubt with 6 minutes left" well two can play that game. Md was up 24-8 at one point in the 1st half, won by 11, and no one whose opinion matters gives a damn what the score was at the 6 minute mark.

As for the Villanova game, MD was within 3 against the number 3 ranked team in the country late in the game. And if you really must not know anything about college bball if you're seriously calling that a bad loss.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 15, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

My friend, from the posts I read here, I know just as much about College bball as you or anyone else here. Top 40! Do you really think "top 40" will get you some consideration come Tourney time? Not happenin. As usual, UMD fans, such as yourself, are already trying to set up the scenario come BUBBLE time. Also, that was no "cherry picking". UMD at home, playing virtually a Mid Major, and couldn't put em away. With 6 minutes remaining, and as you stated, had a 16 point lead at one point, even YOU were worried, to be truthful. You should start seeing this team for what it is at this time.

Posted by: Hlynchmaster | December 17, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

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