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Villanova holds off Maryland, 95-86

Though the outcome was not what the Maryland men's basketball team would have preferred, the Terrapins played about as well tonight as they have all season. Sure, Maryland lost to No. 3 Villanova by nine, but the final margin would have been much worse were it not for another second-half surge by the Terrapins that, at one point, closed the deficit to three.

Sophomore guard Sean Mosley and freshman forward Jordan Williams turned in standout performances, which were clouded only by Maryland's inability to curb Villanova's three-point shooting barrage in the first half, as well as its shortcomings on the offensive glass.

"That hurt," Jordan Williams said of Villanova's superiority on the boards. "That was painful to the fact that the rebounds that we didn’t get, that’s what good teams do, you know? They take advantage of second chance opportunities, and they did a great job tonight scoring on second chance opportunities."

Three Up:

1) Sean Mosley. The sophomore guard said after the game tonight that one of the keys to his offensive development this season is that he no longer doubts himself when shooting opportunities arise. Against Villanova, Mosley tallied a game-high 26 points on 11 of 14 shooting. There were times during the second half that Mosley simply could not be stopped. Even more encouraging for the Terps, Mosley appeared to recognize as much and embraced the chance to put the team on his shoulders.

2) Jordan Williams. By now, we know that the freshman forward is a fully capable rebounder. The 12 rebounds he pulled down tonight should have come as little surprise to anyone who has followed this team in recent weeks. But Sunday stood as a breakout performance for Williams because of his offensive production. He scored 19 points. He shot 5 of 8 from the field. He made 9 of 13 free throw attempts.

"He was a force," Gary Williams said.

3) Eric Hayes (the version of him that showed up in the second half). Hayes and Mosley teamed up to propel Maryland on a 19-7 run early in the second half to pull the Terrapins to within three points of the lead. In the first half, Hayes attempted three shots. In the second half, he attempted 10 shots. Before halftime, Hayes tallied 4 points. After halftime, he tallied 16 points. The obvious conclusion: Hayes needs to keep firing away. His four second-half three-pointers were critical in Maryland's comeback attempt.

Three Down:

1) Rebounding. Dino Gregory is scheduled to return next Saturday when Maryland hosts Eastern Kentucky, and the Terrapins will welcome back his presence with open arms because at this point they can use all the help they can get. Villanova out-rebounded Maryland, 45-33. More critically, the Wildcats out-rebounded the Terrapins on the offensive glass, 23-7. Villanova out-scored Maryland on second chance points, 29-10. No Maryland player, aside from Jordan Williams, tallied more than five rebounds.

2) Perimeter defense. To be fair, Villanova's three-point shooting performance in the first half was downright ridiculous. The Wildcats hit 11 of 22 shots from beyond the arc. For most teams, that's a good showing from three-point range for an entire game. Still, Gary Williams said his players at times were a little slow to jump out on Villanova's shooters, and the Wildcats took full advantage of such open looks. Once Maryland went into its 3-2 zone defense, Villanova cooled off considerably from three-point range. The Wildcats shot 5 of 17 (29.4 percent) from beyond the arc in the second half.

"You can live with 29 percent," Gary Williams said, "but you can’t live with 50 percent when they take that many."

3) Turnovers. Maryland turned the ball over 11 times in the first half, and Villanova capitalized by scoring 19 points off of those turnovers. The Terrapins were only slightly more disciplined in the second half, tallying eight turnovers after the intermission. The Wildcats totalled 32 points off of Maryland turnovers on the night. Senior guard Greivis Vasquez tallied seven turnovers to go along with his seven assists. Senior forward Landon Milbourne recorded three turnovers, which was one fewer than the number of points he scored (4).

By Steve Yanda  |  December 6, 2009; 11:21 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: Villanova's blistering start puts Terps in early hole


Another "down" for MD last night was the play of Vasquez, as usual. His game has gotten to be take the ball shoot a low percentage 3 as soon as possible. Since MD is a poor rebounding team it's usually 1 and out. He did make a good pass at one point but I feel he hurts the team much more than helps. Williams will be a good player and with Gregory returning, there is some hope for a good season. But in my opinion Vasquez should not be starting right now-agree?

Posted by: kenny10 | December 7, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Villanova played about as bad as it can play and the Terps fought hard, but the talent gap was evident from the start.

Let's not forget, even though they dominated the boards, that Villanova lost key front court players from last year and their primary replacement is out for an extended period.

I warned about their 3-point shooting and we couldn't stop it.

Villanova may be ranked #3, but they are not that good...probably top 20, but not top 5. Good not great.

So Maryland has yet to beat a good team.

Hayes, Mosley and Williams were pretty solid, but Vasquez was once again awful. So over-rated by some...really hurting the team with his poor performances.

I watched Wake beat Gonzaga in Spokane Saturday...the ACC is going to be a very tough road for the Terps this year...

Posted by: petecard | December 7, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Vasquez was TERRIBLE last night, and as has been the norm for this season was taking stupid shots and making horrible decisions. Gary needs to sit him down and have a serious talk with him. Most teams have a pretty good book on how to guard Vasquez, and GV has not been doing a very good job at adjusting to what teams are doing against him. He drives in too far (where 2 of his unnecessary fouls came from), and is not strong with the ball when pressure come from behind (where at least 3 of his 7 turnovers came from). He's a feast or famine kind of player, and by the way he's played this season, this team may have been better served if he had stayed in last year's NBA draft. He is not helping this team win games, and is seriously affecting the development of other players (Bowie and Mosley). Maybe it's time to cut down on his minutes and let him taste a little bit of humble pie like Hayes got last season.

Bowie was a BIG disappointment last night. He only logges 13 minutes, but looked completely confused on the offensive end, and was not comforable played in the zone on the defensive end. If Bowie had been able to step in when GV got into foul trouble, that may have been a different game.

Cliff Tucker played some solid minutes after not getting ANY against Indiana, but he needs to be a little more assertive in half-court sets instead of deferring to other players. He plays "scared," which is backed up by being pulled out of the game by Gary the instant he made a turnover that led to a fastbreak basket the other way. GV seems to be the only player on this roster not on a short leash, and maybe Gary needs to rethink that technique, because this team showed some real moxie last night giving the #3 team in the country everything they had in the face of an unprecidented 3-point barage.

Posted by: Russtinator | December 7, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Villanova played about as bad as it can play

Posted by: petecard | December 7, 2009 10:26 AM

This statement above sums up why so many people on this blog have questioned your intelligence (and sanity). To put it lightly, you simply are not a smart person. You continue to amaze us all with your ability to operate a computer.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 7, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Villanova played about as bad as it can play

Posted by: petecard | December 7, 2009 10:26 AM

Villanova had 16 three-pointers. They had 42 rebounds, compared to MD's 30. They had 20 offensive rebounds, compared to MD's 7. They had 10 steals and put up 95 points on Terps team that hadn't given up 70 all season.

But according to the guy above with the IQ of a toaster, Villanova "played about as bad as it can play"

Wow, just wow.

Posted by: Barno1 | December 7, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

"Villanova played about as bad as it can play"

I just ignored that statement since it was clearly posted by someone who didn't bother to watch last night's game. 'Nova played like the #3 team in the country, and Scottie Reynolds definitely was deserving of the MVP award he received.

Maryland is much better than their current 5-3 record would indicate, and it's a shame that they are out of chances for a marquee non-conference victory. I'm sure Gary would have preferred not playing on the Chaminade side of the Maui draw now, because they essentially only got 2 games in that tourney (both losses against what are now top 25 teams---Cincy is solid and Wisconsin knocked off Duke last week). They took care of business against Indiana, but last night was their last chance for a resume-defining win (like last year's MSU victory). Even if they manage 2-3 wins against the top of the ACC, they cannot afford to stumble against the bottom of the "lig." The Terps will definitely need a 9-7 conference record now to make the NCAA, and cannot lose to non-conference competition at home.

Seeing how inconsistant the other teams in the ACC are playing right now (UNC crushing MSU but getting trounced by UK, Wake losing at home to W&M yet beating Gonzaga on the road, Clemson crushing everyone yet giving up a big lead to Illinois at Littlejohn, and the really strange Miami/BC game last night), this could be a 5-bid year for the ACC if everyone starts beating up on each other, so the Terps better get in gear, especially our friend from Caraccas. Dino will certainly impove this team, but they will need more consistancy from #21 to have a successful season.

Posted by: Russtinator | December 7, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I agree about Vasquez. He has some talent, but not enough to play in the manner he does. He is a terrible outside shooter, which would be fine, except he insists on taking outside shots. During our great run in the second half, he finally decided he needed to get in the mix, and took an awful outside shot that pretty much killed our momentum.

He's got really good height for his position, and he's a good finisher from within 10 feet. I'd like to see him play mostly as a distributer and playmaker on the perimeter and break, and maybe post up some on the opposing player. He should avoid jump shots from beyond 10 feet, and forcing his way into the lane, where his lack of quickness tends to translate into an offensive foul.

I think if he focused on those things, and defense, he could be a 10+ assist a game guy, and still score 8-12 points. I know he wants to win, but sometimes it looks like he only wants to win if he's the one making it happen.

Posted by: segastyle | December 7, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Sad to say that barno has nothing to do but attack people's opinions.

And take personal shots...

Barno, why not defend Gary and the team.

How do things look?

Let me know how your date with GV goes....

Posted by: petecard | December 7, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

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