Maryland puts away Winston-Salem State, 98-55
The Terrapins did not make quick work of Winston-Salem State on Tuesday night at Comcast Center, but they sure had buried the Rams when all was said and done. Maryland was able to pull away from the Rams with prolific shooting from three-point range and quality performances from several bench players.
Senior guard Greivis Vasquez recovered from a rough start to tally a game-high 27 points on 9 of 16 shooting, but it was the effort Maryland received from players like Cliff Tucker, Adrian Bowie and Jordan Williams that mattered more in the grand scheme of things.
As far as definitive conclusions about this squad go, tonight's game didn't reveal much. But that was to be expected. There were, however, several encouraging signs for the team as it continues forward toward the start of ACC play.
"We're pretty good when we have to be," Coach Gary Williams said. "And I think we'll get there."
1) Cliff Tucker. The biggest question at the end of a night in which Tucker tallied 13 points on 5 of 5 shooting in 17 minutes of play: Can he do it again Sunday in Maryland's next game? Consistency always has been the issue with Tucker. Confidence comes in a close second. On Tuesday night, Tucker possessed both. He provided a spark when Maryland needed it, and his focus did not wane as the game progressed.
"Coach told me it was a good game today, so hopefully I can keep going," Tucker said. "I don’t want to just have this good game and then the next game go back to normal, so hopefully I can just keep going and playing the way I am."
2) Three-point shooting. Maryland entered the game Tuesday night shooting 36.3 percent from beyond the arc. Not awful, but not great either. Against the Rams, the Terrapins shot 12 of 18 (66.7 percent) from three-point range. Greivis Vasquez went 4 for 4 from beyond the arc. Eric Hayes shot 3 for 5 from three-point range, where Tucker shot 3 for 3 and Adrian Bowie shot 3 for 5.
3) Bench play. Aside from Tucker's performance, several other Maryland subs played well Tuesday night. Bowie played 21 minutes and registered nine points and five assists. Jordan Williams tallied 12 points, eight rebounds and two blocks in 18 minutes. James Padgett finished with seven points and two rebounds in 13 minutes. Granted, the circumstances of the game allowed more opportunities for these players to perform, but still, their efforts were encouraging nonetheless.
1) First-half defense. Players said Monday that the team had spent much of its 10-day break for finals focussing in practice on improving its defensive efficiency. And yet, several players said following Tuesday's win that the defensive showing in the first half was sub-par. Winston-Salem State's guards frequently beat Maryland off the dribble and drove into the lane with relative ease before the intermission. With just a few minutes remaining in the first half, Maryland lead by just four. The Terrapins did perform much better on defense in the second half, and for that they should be commended. But against a better opponent, they might pay more dearly for taking so long to adjust.
2) Rebounding. The Terrapins won the battle on the boards, 39-36, but one would like to think the margin would be a little larger against an opponent like the one Maryland played Tuesday night. Landon Milbourne and Dino Gregory, the Terrapins' two starting forwards, combined to pull down seven rebounds. That likely won't cut it down the road.
3) Dino Gregory. I know Gary Williams says Gregory's value to the team does not always completely reveal itself on the stat sheet, and I believe him. I really do. But sometimes, a stat line can raise relevant issues. Against the Rams, Gregory did not attempt a single shot from the field. He scored no points and tallied three rebounds in 19 minutes. In two games since his return from suspension, Gregory has tallied a combined eight points and six rebounds in 52 minutes of play. Gregory might be more experienced than Jordan Williams, but if both players continue to perform at their current rate, it will become increasingly difficult to rationalize keeping Jordan Williams out of the starting lineup.
December 22, 2009; 11:51 PM ET
Categories: Men's basketball
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