Maryland advances to second round with 89-77 win over Houston
Thanks in part to a huge night from freshman forward Jordan Williams, the Maryland men's basketball team advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament with a 12-point win over Houston on Friday night. The Terrapins will square off against Michigan State on Sunday afternoon.
Houston set a torrid pace in the first half, and several Terrapins said they got caught trying to keep up with all the shots the Cougars were firing. Once Maryland settled down a bit, the Terrapins were better able to manage the game's tempo.
Maryland did well to seize the advantages Houston offered. The Terrapins pounded the Cougars on the boards, 50-29. Maryland also did well to limit the advantages it was thought that Houston might be able to claim. The Cougars shot 30.8 percent (4 for 13) three-point range in the first half and were much more timid in their perimeter shot selection (3 for 7) in the second half.
"I think we were just loose," Greivis Vasquez said of Maryland's hot start to the second half. "In the first couple minutes of the first half we were so tight. We didn’t play in a while. We watch all these games. A lot of teams get upset. We just weren’t relaxed. The second half was a different type of game. We were more loose and let the game come to us, and we had a good game."
1) Jordan Williams. The freshman forward tallied 21 points and 17 rebounds. His rebounding total was the highest for a Maryland player in the NCAA tournament since 1995, when Joe Smith grabbed 21 boards against Texas. Williams anchored the Terrapins against a Houston squad that wavered between indifference and inability on the boards. Williams's growth has been continual nearly all season long, and Maryland will need another strong showing from him on Sunday against a very physical Michigan State squad.
2) Landon Milbourne. The senior forward seems to have broken out of his slump at just the right time. Milbourne turned in his second straight solid performance, tallying 19 points and seven rebounds against Houston.
3) Greivis Vasquez. Another all-around performance from the Venezuelan senior tonight. Vasquez tallied 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists. He also did a fairly decent job defending Houston's Aubrey Coleman, the nation's leading scorer. Vasquez said his goal was to keep Coleman from scoring more than 25 points (Coleman's season average). Coleman tallied 26, but Vasquez seemed okay with his defensive effort.
Three One Down:
1) Another uneasy start. Houston set the game's pace at the outset. The Cougars fired lots of quick shots and somehow induced Maryland into doing the same thing. When the pace was frenetic and the possession count expanded with a dizzying frequency, Houston was able to build a small lead. But eventually Maryland found its legs and began making the Cougars pay for their missed shots (and their inability to snag rebounds). After Maryland ran off an 11-2 run early in the second half, Houston never truly threatened the Terrapins' lead again.
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