Aggressiveness the key to Bowie's strong showing
When junior guard Adrian Bowie checked into the game in the second half Wednesday night, Maryland trailed Duke by two points with just less than 15 minutes remaining. Over the next 11 minutes, Bowie scored nine points, grabbed four rebounds and played a large role in ensuring the Blue Devils were not able to extend their lead beyond four points.
In fact, when Bowie subbed out of the game with just less than four minutes to go, the Terrapins led by two points and never would trail again.
"We wouldn’t let them get away from us," Maryland Coach Gary Williams said.
And Williams credited Bowie in that regard.
A starter last year, Bowie has served a reserve role this season while struggling with consistency. From time to time, Bowie has displayed flashes of the fearless penetrator and agile defender that he was for most of his sophomore campaign. But there also have been times when Bowie relied too much on his jump shot and played sluggishly on defense.
On Wednesday against Duke, Bowie turned in perhaps his most promising performance of the season. He scored nine points on 4 for 4 shooting from the field, but it was the manner in which he compiled those stats that stood out.
"When Adrian’s aggressive, he’s really good," Williams said. "Not just defensively, but offensively. He came down a couple of times on the break and he knew what he wanted to do. To have a guard like that come off the bench, and obviously Adrian would like to be starting. You know, I think he looks at himself as a starter for next year with Eric and Greivis gone, which is great because that was as good of plays as any guard out there made tonight."
In the meantime, the biggest service Bowie and fellow junior reserve guard Cliff Tucker can provide the Terrapins is reliable relief for Vasquez and Hayes. When Bowie subbed into the second half Wednesday night, he did so for Hayes. Two minutes later, Tucker subbed in for Vasquez. At that point, the game was tied, 47-47.
As the following three and a half minutes ticked off on the game clock, Bowie and Tucker helped the Terrapins hold steady while two of the team's top performers sat together on the bench. During that span, Bowie tallied five points and spurred the Terrapins to a five-point lead. By the time Hayes and Vasquez checked back into the game, the score was tied once again.
"It’s not like they have to come in and play anything different than the way we’ve been playing," Gary Williams said of Maryland's reserves. "But if they can keep us there and give the starters some rest … that was probably one of the keys to the game. Eric and Greivis were pretty fresh coming down the stretch."
Indeed, Vasquez and Hayes combined to score 15 points in the final eight minutes of play.
The Terrapins do not need Bowie -- or Tucker or Gregory, for that matter -- to score in droves when he enters the game, though they certainly won't complain if he does so. Rather, they need Bowie to play with the approach he took Wednesday night against Duke. They need Bowie to be aggressive with the ball and alert on defense. To go back to one of the points Williams made, they need Bowie to know what he wants to do before he tries to do it.
That sounds simple enough, but if Bowie can accomplish those objectives during the postseason, Maryland's bench will be stronger and starters like Vasquez and Hayes will be afforded a little more rest -- a valuable commodity at the end of a season.
March 4, 2010; 12:05 PM ET
Categories: Men's basketball
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