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Feel-Good Season-Opener Exposes a Weakness

By Liz Clarke

Amid Maryland’s 105-76 feel-good romp over Seattle in its season-opener were a few agenda items to work during the quick turnaround before Wednesday’s game against the College of Charleston.

The Terps got off to a fairly slow start, just as they had in the previous week’s exhibition against Florida Southern, scoring just two points in the first four minutes of play.

And they turned the ball over 29 times. Senior point guard Adrian Bowie accounted for seven of those; freshmen Terrell Stoglin and Pe’Shon Howard combined for another seven.

But that’s largely the point of such non-conference games early in the season: Exposing weaknesses so they can be corrected quickly.

Said Bowie: “We can’t have that [number of turnovers]. If we do that against Pittsburgh [Nov. 18], we’re going to get killed.”

Added Coach Gary Williams: If we had any belief that we were good at handling pressure, it got knocked out of us tonight. Teams are going to press you if they see that you are not very good at handling pressure, so we need to show then that we can handle it.

By Liz Clarke  | November 9, 2010; 8:09 AM ET
Categories:  Gary Williams, Men's basketball  | Tags:  Adrian Bowie, Gary Williams, Maryland basketball, Pe'Shon Howard, Terrell Stoglin  
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Comments

Yeah, a little rusty but I like this team and know that Gary will have them getting better each game!

Go Terps!

Posted by: TerpfanMA | November 9, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

If the backcourt turnovers can be significantly reduced, this could be a Terp team that can surprise in the ACC. The team has serious hustle, a great building point.

The TV announcers failed to point out that Bowie sat much of the first half because of the two quick fouls. I should have noticed the fouls but didn't, so I wondered whether Bowie had been benched for his overall play.

Williams could have had 20+ points had he converted several easy shots inside.

MD took over the game early in the second half. One reason seemed to be Williams playing his starters and a short bench for the first eight minutes or so.

If the Post had this news -- http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/sports/college/recruiting/2010/10/city_guard_nick_faust_headed_to_maryland.html -- I missed it. The future grows brighter.

Posted by: runningcloud | November 9, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I was a little astonished with how much streetball Gary let the team get away with last night. Guys were not playing together, coming to the ball, making aggressive passes, or smart decisions. Sure there were some very good highlights, and flashes of what appears to be a pretty solid and deep team, but a performance like that is not going to get it done against a quality opponent.

Bowie was borderline terrible at the 1, and for a kid who has been saying for 3 years that he is and always will be a point guard, he sure didn't show the skills of a D-1 PG. He couldn't break down a single player on Seattle last night, and was passing into traps constantly.

For a team that had a size advantage, they sure didn't show it. Every single trip down the floor should have had at least one look down low, but too often, the Terps weren't running plays at all. Tucker needs to be confident in his slashing ability, because he could be a serious threat if he uses he quickness and length to get to the basket.

Mosely was a steadying force on the floor, but despite his improved mobility and quickness, he still misses too many easy layups and was having trouble scoring through contact.

Jordan Williams was solid, and it's clear that his post defense has improved. He had a couple flashes of the dominant center he can become, but he too is having difficulty scoring the easy baskets under pressure.

I'm much more impressed with Stoglin's performance at the point than Howard, because Howard plays right on the edge of control, much like Vasquez did his first two years. Howard works too hard to make the simple play look complicated, and he seemed to be the major culprit in leading the Terps into a streetball mentality. He seems to have great court awareness and instincts, but sometimes you just have to run the play that coach calls. Stoglin seemed more willing to run the offense, and was very good at doing it.

Weijs could be the Juco transfer of the year if he continues to perform like he did last night. He is going to be a solid defender, but got lost on a few posessions, which can't happen against a quality opponent. Padgett had a pretty quiet night, and needs to improve defensively or Weijs will steal his minutes.

I'm not sure why Pankey played last night, because it seemed as though he was on the path to red shirt this season. Let's hope Gary is just seeing what he's got, and will watch his minutes closely so he can still qualify for the red shirt.

I'm really surprised Parker did not get more time, becuase he's got some serious skills. However, after seeing him jog back and forth when he didn't have the ball, it's clearly an issue of motivation with him. If Gary can get him to play with intensity, the Terps will be able to run teams out of the building with one of the deepest benches in the country.

Overall, an adequite performance for the first game, but this team has a long way to go, and is going to take some lumps before March.

Posted by: Russtinator | November 9, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

"Bowie was borderline terrible at the 1, and for a kid who has been saying for 3 years that he is and always will be a point guard, he sure didn't show the skills of a D-1 PG. He couldn't break down a single player on Seattle last night, and was passing into traps constantly."

It should be blatantly obvious that Bowie is simply not a point guard. He never has been one and never will be one. He certainly has some skills which is playing off the ball, slashing into the D, and finishing around the basket. Having him try and run a half court offense is flat out not his game. I know Gary favors experience, but the sooner we end this experiment, the better off we are as a team. Let Bowie do what he's good at and let Stoglin or Howard (actual point guards) run this O!

Posted by: elowe2 | November 9, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

The problem is that Bowie does have a consistant enough shot to play the 2, so his value is at the 1. Bowie needs to be stronger with the ball, and take charge, because this team has enough pieces to make a strong run at the top of the ACC, but that's not going to happen if they are struggling through the prospects of a freshman starting PG. Not even the best can get through the ACC schedule starting as freshmen (CP3, J. Williams, Blake, Marbury, Rice, Felton, etc..), and I expect Kyrie Irving will not be the exception. Even the best freshman point guards eventually hit the wall about halfway through the ACC season.

With only freshman backing him up, Bowie needs to improve in a hurry. Both freshman looked good last night, but if we're starting one or both of those kids come February, this team is probably in trouble.

Posted by: Russtinator | November 9, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

HGR- what sports bar in Columbia do you frequent? I'm in Ellicott City.
...and as Barno kindly pointed out...I am not Poopy!

Posted by: mydogsnameisdixon | November 9, 2010 9:08 AM

Hey mydog -

I went to Greene Turtle Columbia expecting a crowd salivating for the start of MD BB. INSTEAD, not a single one of the big screens was tuned to Comcast until I spoke with the manager. There were mostly Steelers fans and Bengals fans with a smattering of anti-Steeler fans mixed in. Would not recommend it in the future. None of the other local bars have nearly as many TVs, and at least at the GT they had more than enough to change channels so I could watch the game if no one else was.

I heard from a buddy this morning that the Hooters in Laurel was packed with MD fans but did not feel like driving that far. Was forewarned about crowds in CP so did not attempt Bentley's or Appleby's as was recommended by someone on this board.

Is there a place in Ho. Co, that yo would recommend?

Regards -

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | November 9, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

"With only freshman backing him up, Bowie needs to improve in a hurry. Both freshman looked good last night, but if we're starting one or both of those kids come February, this team is probably in trouble."

I'm going to have to disagree with this. We started a freshman Blake with success and in 06-07 we started the freshman tandem of Hayes and Vasquez at point guard and the team went 10-6 in the ACC. I'm not saying Stoglin/Howard are definately as good as those aformentioned, but the point is that starting freshmen at point does not always spell doom and gloom.

If Stoglin/Howard are better running the point than Bowie (which there is no reason to believe otherwise) it doesn't matter if they are freshmen or not. You play them at point if they will give you your best chance to win which they do.

Posted by: elowe2 | November 9, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Not opposed to a blackout game...the one time we actually won one of those was against FSU....and we are kinda due in black. Though I don't think it'll happen against this time since, as someone else mentioned, that is the date of the Wounded Warrior Project uniform game. NC State is the more likely blackout game this year.

Good times at the Terps game last night. Great to see the new kids and was really impressed with the physique of some of these freshman. Pa'Shon looks like a grown man. Was a little disappointed in the attendance for the season opener...though it does help prove my point that it's much, much, much more about the economy than anything to do with fan optimism.

Hope to see more of you out there on Wednesday night for a tougher opponent.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 9, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Actually, DJ Strawberry held most of the PG duties in '06-'07 with Vasquez earning a starting spot during the second half of the season as the starting PG. Hayes was a bench player all year. That year was successful because of DJ, and Vasquez's freshman campaign is further proof of the difficulties of freshmen PGs in the ACC.

I think one of the two freshman will eventually crack the starting lineup, but if this team is going to be successful, they need Bowie to step up his play at the 1. The only problem is that if one of the freshmen move into the starting lineup, that means one of the two senior guards has to set (Bowie or Tucker). If Tucker sits, you get two ballhandlers on the court with Bowie and Howard/Stoglin yet lose the explosiveness and versatility of Tucker. However, if you sit Bowie, you're stuck with a freshman bringing the ball up the court with no other decent ballhandlers out there (Tucker is loose with the ball, Mosely isn't quick enough, and the bigs aren't going to dribble it up). I think the current rotation can work, Bowie just needs to understand that he needs to play like a starting D-1 PG, not the first guy off the bench. He's got two more games this week to work on it, so hopefully his performance last night was just first game jitters.

The great thing about this team is that this is the first time in at least 5 years that Gary can realistically go 10 deep and not see much dropoff in performance. I think that's where this team is going to do some damage against most of the ACC this year (wearing teams out).

Posted by: Russtinator | November 9, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Hugh,

Go to Looney's in Columbia (believe the neightborhood is called MapleLawn off 29 and 216). They've always had the game on when I go there (my parents live a mile from there).

Posted by: fushezzi | November 9, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Is there a place in Ho. Co, that yo would recommend?

Posted by: HughGRection | November 9, 2010 12:50 PM

Hgr- I'm not a fan of The Green Turtle. Have you tried Looney's out in Maple Lawn?... Lots of TV's.
For a little less low-key I like Diamonback Tavern in Historic Ellicott City (great burgers!). That new British Pub across from the mall is good too for TV's and beer/food.

Okay, enough of the restaraunt reviews...I'm just really enjoying this week with MD BB games,a Thursday night Raven game, and an important Sat. game against the hated Wahoos!

Posted by: mydogsnameisdixon | November 9, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Russinator, you won't see me disagree with you very often but Hayes actually did start 11 games his freshman year 06-07 and DJ didn't play PG at all that season. He wasn't even the 2 guard, he actually played the 3 the entire season. Vasquez and Hayes rotated at point guard but Vasquez took over permanently prior to the 5 game win streak to close the regular season.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 9, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Thanks mydog and fushezzi. Will make Looney's my spot going forward - its closer to my house anyways.

Regards -

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | November 9, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

True Barno. I was getting my years confused. DJ did have some ballhandling responsbilities in his senior year, and played alongside Vasquez in the second half of the season. However, if you look at Vasquez's production in his freshman year, you will see what happens to rookie PGs as they navigate through the grind of the ACC schedule.

Posted by: Russtinator | November 9, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Ok, so to address the AB issue - He was on the floor for the big run in the 2nd half when the team took the lead from 8/10 to 25. He hit a few FTs and hit some shots and had both of his assists. Looking at the game summary on the official website, it confirmed what I thought when I was watching the game - that AB was a major contributor to the run that put Seattle away. Thats why I stated that I was not that disappointed with AB. I/m certain he will come around and be a valuable contributor to the team. Now are either of the freshmen talented/driven/effective enough to wrest the starting position from him? Perhaps, but it wouldn't be a terrible thing. Somehow I think AB will be one of the "finishers" in tight games which is what GW values.

Regards -

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | November 9, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

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