The upside to passing up a first look
In the days leading up to Sunday's nine-point win over Florida State in Maryland's ACC opener, Coach Gary Williams talked about how necessary it would be for his players to have the discipline not always to take the first shot available to them against the Seminoles. Making extra passes and giving pump fakes would be critical, he said, against a tall Florida State defense that is at its best when it can sit, wait and swarm. Get them moving, the thinking went, and they'd be less effective at disrupting Maryland's offensive attack.
The Terrapins were quite effective in that regard Sunday afternoon. Using pump fakes to draw defenders out onto the perimeter, Maryland guards Eric Hayes and Sean Mosley easily side-stepped their men and either took an open look from a few feet closer to the basket or drove into the lane having dodged their initial obstacle.
Maryland shot 51.6 percent from the field and 46.8 percent on the night -- the highest percentage Florida State's defense has allowed all season -- in part because the Terrapins were able to recognize when to pull the trigger and when to fake-and-go.
"I think there's a tendency when you get a kick pass on the three-point line and you're kind of open just to make up your mind you're going to shoot it no matter what the defense does flying at you," Williams said Monday. "Last night we read the fly guy. If he was really tight on us, we would pump fake and try to take a dribble away from him whether you had a three or not, but you get an open jump shot as a result of that. All good shooters think they can make every shot they take, or at least they should, and for them to make that adjustment, like Eric Hayes adjusted really well last night. I thought they came after him hard when he caught the ball, and he got some good looks off the dribble, which I think that's important for his game the rest of the year, to be able to do that."
Hayes made 6 of 10 shots from the field and finished with 17 points. That makes him seven points shy of 1,000 for his career, a mark he likey will reach tomorrow night at Wake Forest.
"Eric's one of those players where you just don't notice all the good things he does sometimes," Williams said. "I thought last night he was tough. He was quick last night. He looked quick out there last night against some pretty quick people."
Hayes entered last night's game having shot 3 of 14 (21.4 percent) from three-point range in the previous three games, but against Florida State he made 5 of 6 shots from beyond the arc. Hayes is shooting 47.2 percent from three-point range on the season.
"I think when you're known as a shooter the obvious thing is when you don't make it, everybody goes, 'What's wrong with Eric?'" Williams said. "Well, the guy hasn't been invented yet that makes every shot. So, I think he deserves a break sometimes. He's not spectacular, so he doesn't get noticed all the time like some guys do, but for us, for the last four years, he's been great."
Posted by: HughGRection | January 12, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse
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