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.”
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.
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.
February 1, 2010; 1:46 AM ET
Categories: Men's basketball
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