Tribe hands Maryland 83-77 defeat
If you didn't believe it before tonight, you had better believe it now. William & Mary is a skilled and balanced squad, one with the mental toughness and confidence to win on the road against far more renowned opponents. The Tribe proved so once again Wednesday night in handing Maryland a 83-77 defeat. The Terrapins are now 8-4 heading into their final non-conference game before the start of ACC play.
William & Mary could shoot; Maryland could not. The Tribe's defensive scheme proved effective; the Terrapins continued to struggle keeping track of their assigned men.
"We came out tonight not wanting to get the ball inside," Maryland Coach Gary Williams said. "Their defense was good. They sagged and all that, but you can still get the ball inside. We didn’t have the patience or the toughness to go inside with the basketball, so it turned into a shooting contest and they won."
1) Landon Milbourne in the second half. At halftime, Maryland trailed by nine, in part because guys like Milbourne had seemingly disappeared. Following the break, however, Milbourne helped lead the Terrapins' comeback attempt. He scored 14 of his 19 points and seven of his 10 rebounds in the second half to finish with a double-double.
2) Rebounding in the second half. As the Terrapins picked up their intensity, they began to attack the boards with more vigor. Several times in the first half, a William & Mary would swoop in and snag a rebound in front of or over a flat-footed Maryland player. That problem diminished after halftime. Maryland ended up winning the rebounding battle, 37-35.
3) Greivis Vasquez in the second half. Vasquez began the night with a few drives into the lane. Then he went away from that for the rest of the first half, and his effectiveness plummetted as a result. But in the second half, Vasquez returned to the formula that had worked early on by driving into the post and attempting shots from close range. All five of his free throw attempts came after the intermission. He finished with 26 points, six assists and five rebounds.
1) Enthusiasm. Gary Williams said after the game that William & Mary had more of it than did the Terrapins. How, you might wonder, does that happen?
"I don’t have an answer for you," Landon Milbourne said. "I don’t know. Coach has been saying it all week. That’s just something that we have to build within our team. We haven’t done a good job of that so far. I think tonight it finally caught up with us."
2) Defense. It wasn't just that the Terrapins struggled to defend the perimeter during the first half when the Tribe built it's lead. It was an all-encompassing flaw the Terrapins revealed when William & Mary held possession Wednesday night. Maryland struggled to keep their assigned men in front of them, could not close out quickly enough when in zone and were susceptible to back door cuts due to their adament attempts to prevent further three-point attempts.
"Defense is obviously a big part of basketball," Milbourne said. "If we can’t figure out a way to keep our men from beating us off the dribble or helping each other out when we get beat, you know, we’re going to lose games like that. We have to learn how to help each other out and learn how to take accountability for our own man scoring. Once we can get that, then we can win some games. But until we fix that, we’re going to have a tough time."
3) Three-point shooting. There simply was too much of it by the Terrapins, especially on a night when such attempts weren't falling from the outset. William & Mary lined up in a 2-3 zone scheme designed to induce copious amounts of three-point attempts, and Maryland obliged, even when it was clear that plan wasn't advisable. The Terrapins made 4 of 25 (16.0 percent) attempts from beyond the arc against the Tribe.
"They give you decent looks on the perimeter," Gary Williams said. "You don’t have to make too many passes before you find someone open, you know, for a decent three. If you fall for that, you know, the problem with that is you don’t get to the free throw line, obviously, and the problem is if you’re not shooting well, then they just keep backing off and backing off more as you go along, and that’s what they did."
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