Maryland defeats Florida Atlantic, 72-59
Question of the day: If I would have told you in October that at this point in the season Marylalnd's half-court offense would be farther along in development than its half-court defense, how would you have responded? Perhaps you wouldn't have been that surprised at all. Or perhaps your jaw would have hit the floor.
I'm guessing most of you would have ranged closer to the second option. Regardless, that's the reality for the Terrapins right now. On Sunday, Maryland operated the flex offense effectively and efficiently. For that, the Terrapins should be commended.
But Maryland struggled at times on the other end of the court. Defending the perimeter, as well as staying in front of FAU's diminutive guards, was an issue. And then there was the rebounding. FAU out-rebounded Maryland, 49-45, perpetuating what has been a consistent issue for the Terrapins this season.
Maryland advanced to 8-3, but there remain holes to be filled before Wednesday's game against William & Mary, much less before the start of ACC play on Jan. 10.
"Well, we passed the ball pretty well today," said senior guard Greivis Vasquez, who tallied 26 points, eight rebounds and five assists. "We were looking for each other. I think our offense, it has been pretty good for us. We’ve just got to get better defensively."
1) Vasquez. Sunday's game marked the second time in his career when he had posted three straight games of scoring at least 20 points. He also did it near the end of the 2007-08 season. Vasquez shot 12 for 20 from the field against FAU, raising his shooting percentage on the season to 40.6 percent.
"I really just believe he’s slowed down a little bit on a couple of things he was trying to do, and when you do that sometimes the court just seems like it opens up and there’s more room to operate," Coach Gary Williams said. "We’re not doing that much differently offensively. I think Greivis has just, you know, really, really picked it up."
2) Landon Milbourne's offense. This is, more or less, what the Terrapins need from Milbourne on a nightly basis. Not so much the points, though I'm sure Gary Williams would love to get 19 points out of Milbourne each game, as he did Sunday. Rather, Maryland needs Milbourne to play with the persistent aggressiveness on offense that he displayed Sunday. Milbourne shot 8 for 16 from the field.
"He’s not hesitating," Gary Williams said. "When you’re shooting well, you don’t hesitate, and that doesn’t give the defense time to recover if you don’t hesitate."
3) Half-court offense. Milbourne said the players are trusting the play calls now, and consequently, Maryland ran more of its flex offense Sunday than it had in any previous game this season. The Terrapins shot 46.4 percent from the field, and better yet, they were generating good looks from mid- to close-range.
1) Rebounding. Florida Atlantic entered Sunday's game with a -3.8 rebounding margin, so it's safe to say cleaning the glass is not the Owls' strength. Still, FAU out-rebounded Maryland, 49-45. In terms of offensive rebounds, FAU prevailed, 23-15. FAU forward Brett Royster pulled down 14 rebounds on his own. Players said afterward that their problems in the rebounding department have more to do with attitude than anything else. Proper technique in the post will only get you so far. "Sometimes," Milbourne said, "you just got to go."
2) Perimeter defense. Florida Atlantic entered Sunday's game shooting 37.6 percent from three-point range. The Owls shot 42.1 percent (8 for 19) from beyond the arc Sunday agianst Maryland. The Terrapins have struggled to defend the perimeter ever since the Villanova game at the BB&T Classic on Dec. 6. On the season, Maryland is allowing opponents to shoot 35.5 percent from three-point range.
3) Ankle injuries. Sophomore guard Sean Mosley sprained his left ankle near the end of Maryland's practice on the evening of Dec. 25 and did not play Sunday. Mosley was dressed, completed warm-ups with the team before the game and could have played if necessary, according to Gary Williams. Mosley will start Wednesday against William & Mary if the ankle has healed enough, Williams said.
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