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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."

Three Up:

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.

Three Down:

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.

By Steve Yanda  |  December 22, 2009; 11:51 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: Terps shoot well from beyond the arc against WSSU

Comments

Expecting a lot more out of Gregory. Does he not shoot at all? Not even a put-back? Last year he showed instant energy off the bench and maybe that is where his role evolves to. Did not see tough "help-D" when those guards were driving into the lane uncontested. This team needs to deliver more defense and a whole lot more rebounds. If JW is the answer, then let him play. Additionally, let LM play 3 where he can truly shine and be in position to deliver. Some of our best teams have had players who did not score a ton but delivered tough D and rebounds - Mouton, Veal, even Neal.

Maybe GW should consider using more of a traditional line-up with JW at 5, DG/JP at 4, LM at 3, GV at 2 and SM/EH at 1.

Regards -

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | December 23, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Hugh,

It's just one game. He looked good against Eastern Kentucky when Jordan Williams was ineffective because he couldn't cover their bigs on the perimeter.

If he looks the same in the next two games, then we have a problem.

I am more concerned about Milbourne's lack of production.

Posted by: larry31 | December 23, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Milbourne's lack of production? He's averaging 13 pts, 5 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 1.5 block per game. And he's accurate too (53% fgs, 44% 3-pointers, 82% FT).

What more do you want from him?

Posted by: Barno1 | December 23, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Larry,
I've been a critic of Milbourne's defense and rebounding, but he has been much better in those areas the last few games, while Gregory has been subpar. And Milbourne is clearly superior offensively.

Gregory looked pretty good offensively against EKU, but defensively he was embarrassingly bad. Not to mention those 3 rebounds in 33 minutes, mostly at the 5. If he doesn't show improvement over the next few games, I will be very concerned.

Posted by: Jeremy76 | December 23, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Barno - It doesn't matter what he's averaging. He didn't have the game we expected out of him against an inferior opponent. It's about performing night in and night out which this team seems to still have that problem with consistency. They don't always know where they're going to get their contributions from. I think we have had 5 or 6 different leading scorers this year which is a bit surprising.

Gregory isn't supposed to shoot the ball and be a threat offensively. He's supposed to clean the glass and get put backs. The fact that he didn't do that concerns me and he is still getting up to game speed. The next three will tell us where he is and if he is ready for the ACC season. Honestly, Williams should start right now and Gregory should come off the bench until he is at game speed and Gregory is better coming off the bench because he did come in with energy. You can see Williams prefers starting and feels more comfortable with that.

We will live and die with our bench. When they perform well, we win easily. When there is a lack of production, it's a very close game. I think the Eastern Kentucky game exhibited the ineptness a bit. It all comes down to how long of a leash will Gary have on the Freshmen and Tucker and Bowie. If he lets them get into the game and get in the flow and not take them out just because they have one bad play or miss a shot, the better off we'll be and they might finally get that shot of confidence they need. With no so great competition coming up, let's hope he rests his starters a bit for the war and let some of these guys build their confidence.

Posted by: DiehardTerp | December 23, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

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