Maryland pounds UNC-Greensboro, 97-63
Maryland scored 52 first-half points and led by 18 at halftime, which is to say today's game was not much in the way of competitive. The Terrapins showed progress in each area in which there were question marks entering the weekend and hope that momentum will last the coming week as they prepare to open ACC play against Florida State on Jan. 10.
Though Coach Gary Williams pointed out his team sent UNC-Greensboro to the foul line a few too many times in the first half, he appreciated the aggressiveness with which the Terrapins had played on defense, a marked improvement from previous outings. If you're a Maryland follower who's into statistics, this game was for you. The Terrapins controlled the contest in every aspect from start to finish.
Keen readers will note that Maryland returns to Greensboro Coliseum in March to play in the ACC tournament. Does having such a dominant performance at the site of the conference tournament under their collective belt afford the Terrapins any greater sense of comfort?
"I hope we remember it," Williams said.
1) Defensive aggressiveness. It was clear from the start that Maryland was ready to play with more vigor on defense against UNC-Greensboro. That led to the Spartans attempting 11 free throws in the first half -- a few too many for Gary Williams's liking -- but it also led to numerous UNC-Greensboro turnovers and abundant Maryland transition scoring opportunities. The Terrapins ended up forcing 16 turnovers and out-scoring the Spartans in fast break points, 28-7.
2) Playing inside-out on offense. A statistic frequently referenced in the aftermath of Maryland's loss last week to William & Mary was that the Terrapins had shot 4 for 25 (16.0 percent) from three-point range. While the percentage was ghastly, the number of attempts was even more alarming. Gary Williams said he was not opposed to his players shooting three-pointers, but he reminded them in recent days that his offensive philosophy begins with looking first to feed the ball into the post. The Terrapins responded Sunday by totalling 58 points in the paint. A good portion of those points came in transition, but there was a clear emphasis on Maryland's part to get the ball into Landon Milbourne, Jordan Williams and Dino Gregory, so that they could either attempt close-range shots or dish to a cutting guard.
3) Bench production. After tallying a combined six points in the previous two games, Maryland's reserves recorded a combined 36 points Sunday. That charge was led by the trio that rounds out Maryland's eight-man rotation -- Dino Gregory, Adrian Bowie and Cliff Tucker. Gregory finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and two blocks. Bowie tallied 11 points and three steals. Tucker added six points, four rebounds, two blocks and a steal.
1) Guarding Ben Stywall. If there was one player the Terrapins struggled to contain all afternoon, it was UNC-Greensboro's 6-foot-5 power forward. Stywall, who happens to be the Spartans top all-around player, recorded 17 points and 11 rebounds. Though he shot just 3 of 9 from the field, he attempted 16 shots from the free throw line and made 11 of them. Stywall appared to be the only UNC-Greensboro player that did not wear down under the weight of Maryland's constant pressure as the game progressed and the score got out of hand. For his efforts, Stywall drew praise from Gary Williams afterward. But going forward, Jordan Williams, Landon Milbourne & Co. will want to learn from this experience. Gary Williams liked the defensive aggressiveness he saw out of his squad today, but he would have liked for that not to have been accompanied by so many UNC-Greensboro trips to the charity stripe.
2) Three-point shooting. Not that it was needed today, but the Terrapins shot 3 for 10 from beyond the arc. Eric Hayes, the team's top long-range threat, shot 0 for 1 from beyond the arc. Granted, a big part of Maryland's game plan was to get the ball inside, and the Terrapins did so quite effectively. Still, the Terps' three-point shooting is something to monitor as the team transitions into conference play.
Posted by: mikeinrockville | January 4, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse
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