Maryland prevails with an 88-79 win over Clemson
There was no buzzer-beating, game-winning, ecstasy-inducing three-pointer to conclude tonight's game. No, by the time the final horn sounded it had been clear for several minutes who would come out on top.
But that didn't mean Maryland's nine-point win over Clemson on Wednesday night was bereft of thrill. Far from it, in fact. The Terrapins erased what once was a 15-point Clemson lead and prevailed thanks to an offense that finally kicked into full gear. Oh, and Sean Mosley's game-high 20 points didn't hurt, either.
Yes, Mosley set aside the offensive struggles he'd been experiencing in recent weeks and displayed an assertiveness with the ball in his hands that hadn't been seen in quite some time. He scored more points before the first media timeout (nine) than he had in any of the previous seven games.
"I was looking for my shot," Mosley said. "Today I let everything come to me. My teammates did a great job finding me, and I hit all the shots that I basically took today. I had confidence in everything that I did on the offensive end."
1) Sean Mosley. As was previously mentioned, the sophomore guard tallied a game-high 20 points on 6 of 8 shooting. He was aggressive and swift and everything he had shown he could be in the early months of the season when points came easier for him than they have since the start of conference play. Mosley never has lacked for confidence in his shot -- even during the stretches when it has abandoned him -- and that paid off tonight against Clemson.
2) Greivis Vasquez. The senior guard took some medicine to sooth his stomach before the game, according to Coach Gary Williams, and early on it seemed as though Vasquez was dealing with some discomfort. And while his scoring didn't come until the second half, Vasquez remained engaged in the offensive flow from the outset. He tallied eight assists before recording a single point in the first half. He finished with 15 points and 13 assists. He now ranks fourth all-time on the Maryland scoring list with 2,028 points after passing John Lucas and Adrian Branch tonight.
3) Defensive adjustments. The Terrapins were torched by Clemson's improbably-deft three-point shooting in the first half. But in the second half, Maryland devoted less defensive help to guarding Clemson forward Trevor Booker and consequently was able to defend the perimeter much more tightly. After making 8 of 16 attempts from beyond the arc in the first half, Clemson made just 3 of 14 shots from three-point range in the second half. Without as much help defense, freshman forward Jordan Williams was left to defend Booker one-on-one for much of the second half, and Williams did so admirably. Booker tallied just two of his 13 points after the intermission.
1) First half defense. As was previously mentioned, Clemson shot 8 for 16 from three-point range in the first half, taking advantage of a Maryland defense that clearlyl was preoccupied with limiting the effectiveness of Booker. The Terrapins failed in both regards, as Booker tallied 11 first half points to compliment Clemson's outside shooting. You can't really blame Maryland for its initial defensive approach, though. After all, Booker is one of the top frontcourt players in the ACC and Clemson entered the game shooting 29.3 percent from three-point range.
2) First half offense. Sure, Maryland shot 50.0 percent from the field before the intermission, but its offense compiled those points erratically. In the opening minutes, it seemed as though Sean Mosley might be the only Maryland player capable of scoring all night.Then Mosley got quiet for a while and Eric Hayes stepped up to fill the scoring void. For so many of Maryland's ACC games at Comcast Center this season, the Terrapins have been a fluid, dominant force. That team-wide rhythm wasn't there in the game's early stages tonight. By the end of the contest, it most certainly had returned.
3) Second chance points. Because Clemson was able to control the boards for much of the night, the Tigers were able to score a number of times on second chance opportunities. Clemson won the rebounding battle, 39-32, and that included a 19-11 edge on the offensive glass. The Tigers outscored Maryland in second chance points, 19-11, on the night.
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