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Purnell's plan to stem Maryland comeback: 'Just keep hitting 'em'

With just more than eight minutes remaining in Maryland's game on Sunday night at Clemson, Terrapins senior guard Eric Hayes scored on a layup to give Maryland a two-point lead, its first of the night. The Terrapins had battled back from an 11-point second-half deficit, and Hayes's basket capped a 21-8 Maryland run that lasted more than seven minutes.

A television timeout followed soon thereafter, and here is what Clemson Coach Oliver Purnell said he told his players in the team huddle:

"I just told them: 'Just keep hitting ‘em. If we hit ‘em, they’re going to crumble,' " Purnell said. "We just felt like that was our message coming in here tonight that we got to take it at these guys, take it at ‘em, and we felt like we could get to them. That’s what we said: Just hit ‘em. Because you been hitting ‘em all night, and things don’t look great, but we’re only two down and all those residual effects come into play now if you hit ‘em. We had that little spurt, and here we are."

Maryland scored five points in the final eight minutes of the game; Clemson tallied 16 in the same span. Was the back-breaker Trevor Booker's three-pointer to put the Tigers up by four with just more than three minutes to play? Was it that Clemson's defense continued to force Maryland turnovers and, thus, easy transition points in the closing minutes? Was it, as Maryland Coach Gary Williams suggested, that the effort necessary for the Terrapins to close the deficit too exacting to leave enough left in the tank to secure a lead?

Perhaps it was all of those things. Or maybe it was something simpler. Perhaps Clemson's superior athleticism finally wore out the Terrapins, who were not on top of their game.

All game long, it was apparent the Tigers held the edge in teamwide athleticism. Maryland countered that by forcing and taking advantage of Clemson's numerous poor decisions with the ball. Against a team like Clemson, Maryland's poise, intelligence and crisp execution has to carry the day if the Terrapins are to be victorious. But on Sunday, Maryland made just as many -- if not more -- bad decisions with the ball as its opponent.

"It’s definitely frustrating," Hayes said. "I mean, it’s not going to be the end of the world for us, but it’s frustrating when we’ve been playing so well to come here and, especially offensively, the way we played, not sharing the ball and turning the ball over is just something that’s uncharacteristic of us."

By Steve Yanda  |  February 2, 2010; 8:13 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Jordan Williams named ACC Rookie of the Week
Next: Terps remain competitive despite off shooting night


No wonder the ACC is so wretched these days Purnell couldn't coach his way out of a paper bag. Outside of Gary, Coach K, and the other Williams who in the ACC can coach? Bennett looks like a prime candidate to climb the ACC coaching ladder in short order.

Posted by: restonhoops | February 2, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I meant Terence Morris. Can't believe I mistyped that badly - musta been thinking of Danny Miller at the same time. Yes, the one that Poopy has related the priceless story of having an intoxicated conversation with.

Reston - Bennett is having the same sort of first season we saw Fridge have...and its still really early.

The good news is that we have a player that we can argue about whether he'll stay four in JW. He is a very good college player at the very least. Look for a tunr-around at Fl State. One game at a time.

Regards -


Posted by: HughGRection | February 2, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Congrats Poopy on winning your soccer game this weekend. We were thinking of you as we were eating our Cookies-n-cream this weekend.

btw - I am noticing more head shops in MD. wtf is up with that? I mean in the liquor stores and such. Seriously, there were decades when I did not notice any head shops. I remember as a kid going to Columbia Mall or Plaza Del Mercado or Gtown for paraphenilia...and all of those places either disappeared or stopped selling the stuff. Now that I have no need, bongs are available in my local beer store. I thought laws were passed during the Reagan era. Did not go looking for them in CP, but was surprised when Poopy & the Sigma Chis were discussing last week. Then I realized that there were bongs behind the counter at the beer store and liquor store. I thought you younger guys might know.

Like I said, the mere smell of it makes me paranoid. A story not fit for this board.

Regards -


Posted by: HughGRection | February 2, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Interesting about the "water-pipes" Hugh (gotta make sure to use the correct head-shop lingo). After Simply Kind closed we had to go to DC or up to B'more to find head shops. Didn't know u can pretty much pick up your needs at liquor stores. Back in the early 2000's I went to a headshop in B'more where I was able to score a 2.5 foot Chong "water-pipe," which are now pretty much collectors items. What after the federal goverment busted Tommy Chong and his water-pipe company.

Of course, here in California, headshops are a dime a dozen. But that medicine helped "heal the pain" after my soccer game when after I was done I had some hyper-extended ligaments in my left knee, a bone bruise on my right knee and a sore (and black/blue) right thumb.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | February 2, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

"Just keep hitting 'em" tends to work a little better when a team's at home and the refs let you get away with a little more. I eagerly await the Feb 24 match up with Clemson in CP.

My guess is Clemson won't be able to play the same physical style that they played on Sunday and our skill advantage will take over.

Posted by: PeteinAZ | February 2, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

The Columbia Mall that brings up old memories :-) I think its clear that Bennett can coach and once he gets his recruits in there watch out. UVA won't be our whipping boy any more. Now hopefully VATech will keep Seth Greenberg forever. I love how he is always touted as a good coach and his teams go 7-9 every year and JUST miss the tournament. They are heading that way again this year.

Posted by: restonhoops | February 3, 2010 7:45 AM | Report abuse

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