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Posted at 10:10 AM ET, 12/29/2010

Williams: Line-up Change Not Made Lightly

By Liz Clarke

For all his barking and scowling on the sideline, Maryland Coach Gary Williams isn’t insensitive to the ramifications of tinkering with his starting lineup. So the recent change, inserting freshman Pe’Shon Howard as the Terps' starting point guard and bringing senior swingman Cliff Tucker off the bench, wasn’t made lightly.

Williams explained on the eve of Wednesday’s game against North Florida, in which he plans to stick with the switch, that he doesn’t like to make line-up changes for several reasons—chief among them, that fans and followers automatically assume that a player is in the doghouse.

“People always think there is something wrong,” Williams said. “[Yet] what you’re doing is looking for a way to play better.”

In this case, with Maryland losing four of its first 11 games by single-digit margins, Williams concluded that the Terps needed to get off to quicker starts. So he inserted the 6-3, 195-pound Howard for Tucker to see if the freshman could help pick up the intensity in the early going.

In Williams’ view, the change was a victory all around.

“I thought Adrian Bowie played better at the second guard position,” Williams said. “He just looked more calm out there.”
As for Tucker, who entered the lineup five minutes, 28 seconds into the game, Williams said: “He played great coming into the game. It’s the best he shot the ball in awhile. And Pe’Shon gives you energy; he gets things stirred up.”

Six Terps scored double figures in the 89-50 rout of NJIT.

Tonight’s game against North Florida (4-7, 1-1 Atlantic Sun) may well produce comparable scoring marks.

The Ospreys are playing 13 of their first 16 games on the road and arrive in College Park on a four-game losing streak, having dropped games to Stetson, Purdue, Texas and Furman. North Florida’s four victories have come over Wyoming, Prairie View A&M, Morgan State and Florida Gulf Coast. Sophomore Andy Diaz, a 6-7 forward, the lone Osprey averaging double figures (10.1)

By Liz Clarke  | December 29, 2010; 10:10 AM ET
Categories:  Gary Williams, Men's basketball  | Tags:  Cliff Tucker, Gary Williams, Maryland basketball, North Florida, Pe'Shon Howard  
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There are other dynamics that GW may have chosen not mention that are probably a concern, the chief of which may be the "freshman" issue. I am a little surprised that he expressed concern about what the fans think and how we interpret a change as a sign that "something is wrong." That's why relationships with the media are important. Surly he could consider announcing a change prior to a game by simply saying what he said in this article. I don't really understand why he is so sensitive about this.

Posted by: petecard | December 29, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

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