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Three up, three down: Maryland falls at Clemson, 62-53

This was a pretty ugly game all the way around, and the Maryland men’s basketball team was only one of the guilty parties. The Terrapins turned the ball over 26 times, and yes that was quite bad. But Clemson turned the ball over 21 times itself, so the Tigers weren’t faring too much better.

Neither team shot the ball well, neither team ran its halfcourt offense with much efficiency and neither team made good decisions with the ball on a consistent basis throughout the game. In the end, the Tigers prevailed, 62-53. Maryland’s point total marked its lowest output of the season.

Clemson Coach Oliver Purnell may have best described Sunday night’s contest when he said: “Even though (Maryland) scored more in the second half, we got all the big stops and we came up with all the big rebounds and all the big blocks and preserved the win. And we struggled offensively all night long.”

It was that kind of night. The Terrapins now stand 4-2 in conference play with another road game (at Florida State) coming up on Thursday. Maryland is not as bad as it showed tonight. But the Terrapins are not as good as they showed in the previous three weeks, either. Indeed, they are somewhere in between.

“You know, being 4-2, this game isn’t going to take us out of what we want to do,” Maryland Coach Gary Williams said. “But we have to learn from it, so that will be the key, whether we learn from this or not.”

Three up:

1) Jordan Williams. The freshman forward kept Maryland in the game during a first half in which the Terrapins shot 37.0 percent from the field, missed all five of their three-point attempts, turned the ball over 12 times and were out-rebounded, 27-19. Williams tallied 10 of his 13 points and nine of his 13 rebounds before the intermission. And the defense he played on Clemson forward Trevor Booker – who shot 2 for 16 from the field – was commendable.

2) Press defense. Maryland might have turned the ball over a bunch of times, but so did the Tigers. The Terrapins pressed Clemson nearly the entire game, and the scheme played a large role in Maryland’s second-half comeback. Clemson point guard Andre Young – who filled in for the injured Demontez Stitt – finished with three assists and five turnovers. As a team, Clemson tallied 21 turnovers, and Maryland recorded 10 steals.

3) Field goal shooting percentage defense. You could make a convincing argument that this point is tied strongly to the previous one, but it deserves a separate mention nonetheless. Maryland held Clemson to 31.9 percent shooting from the field and 22.7 percent shooting from three-point range. The Tigers entered the night shooting 47.3 percent from the field and 33.9 percent from beyond the arc. Just like Maryland, Clemson’s halfcourt offense largely was inefficient because it rushed into too many first-look shots after breaking through the press defense.

Three Down:

1) Handling the press defense. It wasn’t so much that the Terrapins couldn’t beat Clemson’s press. Actually, that wasn’t the case at all. Rather, Maryland struggled to find its offensive rhythm once it crossed mid-court. Gary Williams had talked on Saturday about one of the residual effects of the press being that opposing offenses are too sped up once they break through. That certainly seemed to be the case for the Terrapins on Sunday. There were a lot of poor decisions made – with shots, with passes and with dribbles – and much of that was due in large part to Maryland being too anxious once it beat the press and had a numbers advantage.

2) Greivis Vasquez. It took less than three minutes for Vasquez to pick up two fouls Sunday night, and that was just the beginning of his off night. Clemson was physical in guarding Vasquez, and that approach appeared somewhat effective. Vasquez finished with 10 points on 3 of 11 shooting. He also tallied two assists and nine turnovers. After playing just 10 minutes in the first half, Vasquez played all but one minute after the break out of necessity. But this was not his, nor his team’s, night.

3) Landon Milbourne. The senior forward had scored in double digits in nine straight games entering Sunday’s contest. Against Clemson, Milbourne tallied three points on 1 of 8 shooting and five rebounds. He was never an offensive factor in the game, and his defense was not up to par. Milbourne received praise last week for not showing signs of fading as the season progressed. Maryland fans should hope Milbourne’s performance Sunday night was an aberration, not an omen.

By Steve Yanda  |  February 1, 2010; 1:46 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: Terps stuck 'in between' after beating Clemson's press


Not as ticked off as I was yesterday. But am returning to my mantra of 6 wins to go. Hopefully, after Fl State, I can change it to 5 wins to go. Ugliest game I can remember by two ACC squads. JW seemed to be the only Terp who came to play.

I certainly hope they learn something from this one - they played right into Clemson's game plan while Clemson was playing poorly themselves.


Posted by: HughGRection | February 1, 2010 7:27 AM | Report abuse

I come not to bury Gary Williams, but to praise him. I actually think he's doing a good job getting this group of kids to buy into his charlie hustle us against the world coaching style. We played terribly and still almost beat on the "better" ACC teams on the road. It certainly helps to have a roster choc full of juniors and seniors with a talented freshman thrown in for good measure. As long as this team continues to listen to Gary I think they can go 11-5 maybe even 12-4 and have a real shot at winning the ACC. All that said I think its fools gold. The ACC is a terrible conference this and I won't be surprised if 0 zero teams advance even to the Sweet 16. Witness Duke's beat down on Saturday. Again let's repeat for the slow at home. MD will not be a major factor again until GW hangs em up and takes his rocking chair or maybe goes to coach a lower conference team where he could coachem up Norman Dale style and not worry about how much talent he has. Look at Texas who died and made them into UCLA or Kentucky? They already have 2 5 star and 2 4 star recruits committed for 2011!!!! And I bet their star recruits actually show up. Even emerging powers like Villanova, Pitt, Tennessee, and Ohio State have all passed us in significance. You can't recruit 2 and 3 star players year in and year out and think you're doing something.

Posted by: restonhoops | February 1, 2010 7:32 AM | Report abuse

It was a frustrating game to watch, particularly since the Terps had a great defensive plan and executed it very well. We certainly could have won the game, but we also didn't deserve to win. In my view these were the key reasons:

1. Grevis Vasquez played a horrible game, putting us in an early hole and never settling in. 3-11 in shooting and 9 turnovers. The man guarding him, Smith, often made him look helpless. This poor performance was not the first time GV let his team down after running his mouth... remember, Cameron Indoor is his court...

Even with our other problems this loss can be layed at his feet.

2. We had a very poor shooting day and Milbourne at 1-8 really hurt. Clemson's perimeter defense was excellent (and expected) and we handled the press pretty well, but we just couldn't get good looks very easily and when we did we missed. Let's face it, we don't have a guard who can really work his man and make his own shot and that hurt us last night.

3. Clemson had 20 offensive rebounds, which really made it tough after our good defense forced a miss. Grant was very effective.

One thing for sure, this loss is not on GW and his coaches. It's on Grevis and to a lesser extent the other guys who missed their shots and turned it over.

Posted by: petecard | February 1, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

That was just one of the sloppiest, ugliest games I've seen all year. I think that was just an aberation, because this team is definitely much better than it played last night. I was most surprised by the lack of poise and leadership from the three seniors. Vasquez and Hayes did a terrible job running the offense, the few sets that they actually ran throughout the game (I think I can count the total number of sets on my 2 hands). However, their defense kept them in the game all the way to the end, and when they took the lead with @ 4 minutes to go, I thought perhaps they would put on a blitz to pull away. Alas, they got even sloppier with the ball, and Vasquez attempted to put the team on his back by taking some tough (not necessarily stupid) shots led to the end.

I couldn't believe how invisible Landon was in this game considering how well he's been playing as of late. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact they just weren't running any offense, but Landon didn't seem to have that extra spring in his step that he's had the past few weeks. Landon did do a decent job on the boards, but he just did not seem like the player that has averaged 15+ points the past few weeks.

Vasquez, who is not the strongest of ballhandlers normally, was uncharacteristically soft with the dribble last night, almost daring Clemson players to pick his pocket. He was clearly bothered by having Tanner Smith on him and not having any sort of advantage (height or quickness) against his defender, a clear hint as to why Vaquez may not make the greatest NBA point guard.

Eric Hayes seemed to just be trying too hard. The offense was running a little better through him than Vaquez, but he was pressing a bit too much, and forced a few illadvised passes that turned into easy buckets. Gary should realy have been giving Eric some more time at the point the past couple of weeks during the blowout wins.

Jordan Williams was the only player who brought his A game, and despite his stellar performance, he was overshaddowed by Grant. Jordan's defense of Booker was stupendous, which is probably why Grant had such a big game.

Mosely also had a pretty quiet game, and the times he tried to be assertive, he kept getting himself in trouble. It really did seem that Gary was just asking someone to step forward, and everyone gave it a try, but what the Terps needed was the TEAM to step forward as a cohesive unit.

Tucker and Bowie had forgettable games off the bench. Gary stuck with Tucker longer than I expected, but he was not able to get out of his funk and barely saw any time in the second half. Bowie blew his chance by passing on the 3-pointer that could have changed the course of the game with 2 minutes left, but his defensive pressure was good.

This is one of the games that the Terps need to breakdown quickly and put it in the past. This is not the kind of team Gary has assembled, and they should come back with a solid performance against Florida State on Thursday.

Posted by: Russtinator | February 1, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

The UMD Terps should have never lost this game. Clemson did everything to give this game to Maryland other than put the ball in the basket for them. Horrible game to watch. Neither team could make a freakin layup. Six and seven minutes without a score, horrible. Last week, Terps #1 in the ACC. This week, tied for #2. Is this a free fall? Better play better against Fla. St. this week, or the demons may seep in. Good Luck Terrapins.
Go Hoyas !!

Posted by: Hlynchmaster | February 1, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

"and we handled the press pretty well"

Did you watch the game? We had 26 TO's mainly b/c of the press.

Posted by: beas13 | February 1, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

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