Maryland pummels North Carolina with 92-71 win
With several thousand extra students helping to fill the seats at Comcast Center on Sunday, Maryland provided North Carolina Coach Roy Williams with the worst loss of his tenure with the Tar Heels. In fact, it was Ol' Roy's worst loss since 2000, back when he was the head coach at Kansas.
Though North Carolina edged close to the lead every now and then through the first 27 minutes of the game, Maryland exuded a confidence that made it seem as though its lead never was in serious jeapordy. The Terrapins shot 51.5 percent from the field and 52.2 poercent from three-point range. And despite brief focus lapses on defense, Maryland proved steady on that end of the court, as well.
It's been an interesting last couple of days for Maryland Coach Gary Williams. He hasn't left College Park since the team returned from its trip to Florida State on Friday afternoon. He's been sleeping at a local Marriott. And apparently the events of the past few days -- as road crews worked round the clock to clear the campus streets and parking lots, and as two teams prepared to play a conference game of mutual importance -- capped by a convincing victory, hit an emotional chord in Williams. He had to pause and compose himself at least twice in his postgame radio interview.
When asked in the postgame press conference about the atmosphere in Comcast Center for today's contest, Williams had to pause briefly once more.
"It was amazing because I didn't think, I mean, there were several things sent to our season ticket holders to make sure they understood about the parking lots and everything, and so many people here at Maryland worked to get the parking lots cleared, did all that so people could come in," Williams said. "I talked to some people just briefly, and they were coming. If they had to take a dog sled they were coming to the game, and that's a great feeling. It really is."
1) Quick surges. North Carolina played like a team in desperate need of a win -- which it is -- during the first three-quarters of Sunday's game. On several occassions the Tar Heels came close to catching up with the Terrapins, but each time Maryland was able to put together a quick run to re-establish a comfortable lead. Much of that ability stemmed from the Terrapins' defensive effort. Maryland tallied nine steals and 22 fast break points. The Terrapins recorded 16 points off of 14 North Carolina turnovers.
2) Three-point shooting. Another quick way to boost a lead? Start draining shots from beyond the arc. Maryland made 12 of 23 three-pointers (52.2 percent) against North Carolina. Eric Hayes made 4 of 5 shots from beyond the arc. Greivis Vasquez made 6 of 11. The Terrapins aren't a team reliant upon its three-point shooting, but it sure makes things smoother when those shots are falling. Maryland entered the game leading the ACC in three-point shooting percentage (43.9 percent) in conference play.
3) Milestones. Landon Milbourne tallied 15 points to become the 49th player in program history to reach 1,000 career points. Greivis Vasquez's six three-point makes pushed him into second place (205) on the career list in that category. He trails Juan Dixon, who made 239 three-pointers during his career. Also, the ninth of Vasquez's 11 assists Sunday was the 700th of his career.
1) Sean Mosley (kind of). I preface this by noting that in a game like today's, Maryland does not need Mosley to be firing on all cylinders. But at some point this season, the Terrapins likely will need more offense from Mosley than what they've been getting of late. Something just seems to be off with the offensive rhythm of the sophomore guard. He's still snagging rebounds and making smart passes and playing solid defense, so it's not as if he's not producing at all. However, the eight points Mosley scored Sunday all came in the final 10 minutes of the game when the game's outcome already was secure. Like I said, this is not meant as a wholesale criticism; just noting a recent struggle in one aspect of the game of a player that is important to Maryland's continued success.
2) Usage of James Padgett. It would be one thing if Maryland was winning close games and Gary Williams couldn't risk putting in an unproven freshman for large stints. But the Terrapins are crushing opponents at home, and still on Sunday, in what became a 21-point victory, Padgett logged just seven minutes. He was the lone active scholarship player to play less than 10 minutes. Williams keeps saying he needs to find more playing time for Padgett, and Padgett continues to ride the bench during games in which Maryland is torching its foes.
3) "NIT!" chant. Gary Williams seemed a little bothered with the fans who chanted "NIT!" at the Tar Heels on a few occassions during the second half. But only a little bothered.
February 7, 2010; 5:42 PM ET
Categories: Men's basketball
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