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Maryland opens ACC play with 77-68 win over Florida State

The Terrapins won't get much time to enjoy this afternoon's win over No. 18 Florida State, given they'll travel to play at Wake Forest on Tuesday night. Still, a victory over a Seminoles squad that entered the day owning the top field goal percentage defense in the country and the best shot-blocking unit in the ACC is worth savoring just a little.

Maryland went right at Florida State and its oversized frontcourt, and the strategy proved highly effective in the first half. The Terrapins got the Seminoles -- and specifically 7-foot-1 center Solomon Alabi -- into early foul trouble and discombobulated Florida State in the early going with its man-to-man defense.

The Terrapins shot better from the field (46.8 percent) than any other Florida State opponent has this season. They drove into the lane and dished out to open teammates. They sank shots from the perimeter. And for the most part they knew when to pass up a shot in order to prolong a possession, even if just for another pass.

"I don’t think we really got the defensive plan down," Florida State guard Deividas Dulkys said. "Coaches told us exactly what they were going to do, and they did it. We were just a split second late. That’s why they were shot-faking and driving the lane and kicking out and getting open shots."

Three Up:

1) Offensive efficiency. If you expected Maryland to try to turn today's game into a track meet, you're not alone. You'd also have been wrong. The Terrapins picked up the pace when they had to, but for the most part they defeated Florida State by out-executing the Seminoles in half-court sets. Maryland drove right at Florida State's imposing big men and reaped the benefits: kick-outs to open teammates, drawing fouls, sucking in defenders so as to put them in a worse position to rebound. Speaking of which, the Terrpains out-rebounded Florida State, 40-34. Who saw that one coming?

2) Defensive efficiency. If you expected Maryland to eventually settle into a zone defense in order to help negate Florida State's significant size advantage, you're not alone. And again, you'd also have been wrong. The Terrapins stayed in their man-to-man defense all game long, and -- save for a four-minute period early in the second half during which Florida State went on an 11-0 run -- the approach proved effective. Florida State point guard Derwin Kitchen (four points, zero assists) never got into any sort of offensive rhythm, and that bled over into the rest of the Seminoles' offense.

3) Eric Hayes. In the previous three games, Maryland’s top long-range threat, Hayes, had shot 3 of 14 (21.4 percent) from three-point range. Williams had said Hayes was getting good looks; the shots simply weren’t falling. On Sunday, Hayes’s fortune lurched upward. He made 5 of 6 attempts from beyond the arc and played a significant role in stretching out a reeling Florida State defense. Hayes finished with 17 points.

Three Down:

1) Adrian Bowie. The sophomore guard showed off a recently-cut faux hawk, but the new look didn't do much for his game. One week after a promising performance against UNC-Greensboro, Bowie disappeared for all intents and purposes against Florida State. He finished with no points on 0 of 1 shooting in 11 minutes. He also tallied two rebounds, two assists, two turnovers and a steal.

2) Free-throw shooting. Maryland made 9 of 17 attempts (52.9 percent) from the charity stripe on Sunday. Greivis Vasquez -- one of the team's best free-throw shooters who otherwise turned in a quality performance with 22 points -- missed four of his seven free-throw attempts. The Terrapins are shooting 69.2 percent from the free throw line on the season.

3) ACC schedule-makers. Maryland players began preparing for their next game roughly 36 seconds after the final horn sounded on Sunday. They didn't have much choice. That next game (Tuesday at Wake Forest) takes place less than 48 hours from now. As Coach Gary Williams will tell you, no other team in the ACC has to make such a quick turnaround between their first and second conference games (and go from home to being on the road, no less). It's a fair point and an unfair situation. But it's the Terps' lot nonetheless. On to Winston-Salem ...

By Steve Yanda  |  January 10, 2010; 9:21 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Good win today.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | January 10, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Couldn't agree more, Poopy. Milbourne actually proved that he can play as a big in the ACC and made some huge plays - I have been of the opinion that he is a 3 playing out of position at 4 to this point. I still contend that LM would be an all-ACC player if he played 3 most of the time. Padgett showed some athletic flashes as well (kinda reminded me of Wilcox as a freshman). GV started slow but DID help get Alibi into early fould trouble which really opened things up for the Terps. Overall, a fun game to watch. LH probably mismanged the clock down the stretch which helped end the game sooner than I would have expected. Crowd was great. EH was smooooooth. CT was a timely insertion and delivered.

NO I AM NOT POOPY_. But in the past I have made posts that Poopy_ is a MD fan for all of the Poopy bashers (and was accused of being Poopy by more than a few). That said, this game was a must win, and the Terps did win it. Given the four losses out of conference, they will need to start hot this year in the ACC; a recovery in Feb/Mar likely won't cut it this year. I hope this is the first of many "Nice Win" posts from the entire community. Remain torn over Choi's decision to leave and the impact that will have on Grad stats versus the possibility that we could pick up another big with the extra scholarship next season. I wonder whether the staff has a JC guy targeted because we never hear about those guys until they actually enroll.

Looking forward to seeing the input from Reston and PeteCard as well on this one. As for the Sigma Chi crowd, looking forward to reading your thoughts as well.

Regards -


Posted by: HughGRection | January 11, 2010 7:22 AM | Report abuse

Nice showing from Cliff Tucker, hopefully he can earn Garys trust and start getting some real court time

Posted by: DMoney28 | January 11, 2010 7:25 AM | Report abuse

It was a great win. The three leaders of the team stepping up when needed. I still think if someone is going to shoot 50% from behind the arc (Hayes - 47%), you need to feed him more. If you notice, the run FSU made was at a point when Hayes was on the bench or not being set up for shots. Seriously, Hayes won't shoot 50% the whole season so ride the hot hand. He's not one who can create his own shot regularly so it's up to the Coach and the PG to make sure he gets them. If that means taking shots away from GV and Landon, so be it.

Otherwise, I was impressed with the whole team against FSU. They did what they were supposed to at home. Now let's hope tuesday produces a similar result on the road.

Posted by: fushezzi | January 11, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

More signs that Jordan Williams will end up a very very good player before he's done. He was quiet stats-wise, but his defense was great, he set some big picks, and he had a few tap-outs that resulted in rebounds for teammate. I love this kid.

Posted by: ICBomber | January 11, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

great game, great effort. some genuinely pretty basketball played at comcast. onto winston...

Posted by: jpfterps | January 11, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

wow-petecard nailed his FSU prediction from 1/9.

tell me who you like in the football games next week dude, I went 1-3 this weekend

Posted by: jpfterps | January 11, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

It was a very good win and it was gratifying to see the team play with some discipline and poise.

My feeling was that they had to do a strong job on the defensive boards and they did.

I felt they had to penetrate and dish back out and they did..even having some success scoring in the paint to a limited extent.

I felt that Hayes needed to shoot more and he was 5 of 6 from 3 pt. range.

After a win like that nitpicking is fun so here is mine...someone really needs to help GV with his postgame interviews. I mean seriously, he comes across as a conceited child. Oh, maybe he is! :)

How big would a win be on Tuesday at Wake. Time to get them focused Gary.

Posted by: petecard | January 11, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Good win for the Terps. This road trip will be critical. Win both and we start pushing ourselves into the bubble conversation, split and we still have some hope of life, lose both and it's probably lights out.

Posted by: restonhoops | January 11, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Excellent start from the Terps. Overall high quality of play from everyone who checked in with the exception of Bowie. Problem with Bowie is that if he isn't slashing to the hoop he loses all his effectiveness. Either way, great game plan by Gary and even better execution from the team. Good quality win and a good start to a year that promises this team being perpetually on the bubble.

Posted by: lavar609 | January 11, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

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