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Maryland unsatisfied with halfcourt defense in first half

Maryland players said Monday that the team had spent a good chunk of its practices during the 10-day hiatus for finals focusing on improving components of its defense. The Terrapins wanted to improve its perimeter defense, and indeed, Winston-Salem State shot just 4 of 18 (22.2 percent) from three-point range Tuesday night.

But the Terrapins also wanted to keep their opponents from beating them off the dribble, and at least in the first half, little progress appeared to have been made. The Rams offered a set of guards who were small and quick, and they used those traits to their advantage against Maryland. With just more than three minutes remaining in the first half, the Terrapins led by just four points. Winston-Salem State shot 46.4 percent from the field before the intermission.

“I thought our defense was better,” Coach Gary Williams said. “We still get beat, but we’re going to get beat. I mean, basketball’s not a perfect game. But we were much more competitive. In other words, if they beat us it wasn’t because we weren’t, you know, making the effort. They had some quick people, you know, they had three or four guards out there at times, so we didn’t have great match-ups all the time. But I thought our help was good.”

Williams went on to reference freshmen forwards Jordan Williams and James Padgett, saying that the two young players protected the lane while keeping track of their own men as well as he’s seen them do since the pair has been at Maryland.

Players said their defensive effort in the first half against the Rams did not reflect the improvement they felt they had made during the previous week’s practices. Junior guard Adrian Bowie said the Rams were scoring too easily off of penetrating drives into the lane in the first half.

Bowie noted that the Terrapins were much better guarding against that in the second half. Maryland forced 19 turnovers on the night, though most of those were a product of its pressure defense, not its halfcourt defense.

“The past couple of games we’ve come out real slow,” Jordan Williams said. “We’ve got to start coming into the game better because they were taking advantage of that. They were keeping with us for a little while. We can’t let that happen anymore.”

A few moments later, Jordan Williams said this: “I think now we’re starting to get a little better. We’re starting to start better a little bit sooner. A couple of games ago, we would start late and play bad the whole first half. Now we’re starting to play better in certain sets in the first half. So I think once ACC season comes we’ll be good to go. We’ll be alright.”

By Steve Yanda  |  December 23, 2009; 10:21 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Comments

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Posted by: Poopy-McPoop | December 23, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

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