Brian Zoubek and the rebounding battle
The last time Maryland played Duke, Blue Devils 7-foot-1 center Brian Zoubek had a career game, tallying 16 points and 17 rebounds. Eight of Zoubek's rebounds on Feb. 13 during Duke's 77-56 win came off the offensive glass, which contributed significantly to the 20-12 edge the Blue Devils claimed in second-chance points.
Tonight, the Terrapins will get another crack at Duke at Comcast Center on senior night, and senior forward Landon Milbourne acknowledged one of the key factors in the game will be Maryland's ability to keep up on the offensive boards.
"We know that’s a big deal," Milbourne said Tuesday of giving up offensive rebounds. "Before we played that game [against Duke], we didn’t. I mean, we knew rebounding was going to be big because that’s a lot of times how they get their points or how they get their threes. I don’t know. I just don’t think we paid a lot of attention to it when we were playing" Duke the first time.
"Now that we know that and we’ve watched a lot of film and we’ve seen how big of a difference it made, you know, we’re definitely going to emphasize that in practice and work on that. It’s all we can do, really, is just know and be aware of it and try to do as much as we can to have that energy and box those guys out and fight down low. I think we get it, and I think we’ve been working towards it, so we’ll see what happens."
As well as Maryland has played in the weeks since the 21-point loss in Durham, giving up offensive rebounds -- and thus, second-chance scoring opportunities -- has been one point of concern brought up frequently by players and coaches. Typically, the Terrapins have been able to adjust midgame and find ways to work around their interior size deficiencies. And having freshman forward Jordan Williams playing as well as he has certainly helps.
But against a Duke squad with some front-court depth, rebounding will be one of the focal issues tonight. The Blue Devils outrebounded Maryland, 44-37, in their meeting earlier this season.
"We have to work a lot harder at rebounding in this game if we expect to do well," Coach Gary Williams said.
And that means working harder at limiting Zoubek's effectiveness on the boards. Zoubek ranks second in the ACC in offensive rebounds (3.1 per game) in conference play.
"He’s big," Gary Williams said. "He’s not just 7 feet or whatever he is; he’s wide. He’s very difficult to deal with. We have to do a better job of doing what we do than we did the first game. He’s a difficult matchup for us, no doubt about it."
March 3, 2010; 8:06 AM ET
Categories: Men's basketball
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