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Posted at 7:50 AM ET, 01/13/2011

Cliff Tucker just plays, rather than pouts against Wake Forest

By Liz Clarke

For the second consecutive game, senior swingman Cliff Tucker was Maryland’s most valuable player off the bench Wednesday. In the eventual 74-55 rout of Wake Forest, Tucker was the most valuable Maryland player overall, transforming a sluggish, misfiring offense into one the Demon Deacons couldn’t contain.

His numbers were strikingly similar in the past two outings.

Sunday against Duke, Tucker poured in 14 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the floor in 29 minutes, while adding seven rebounds, two assists and two blocks.

Against Wake Forest, he led all scorers with 21 points on 6-of-13 shooting (in addition to making 7 of 10 free throws) in 29 minutes, while adding eight rebounds, four assists and two steals.

“I’m just trying to be more aggressive,” said Tucker, who deferred celebrating his 22 birthday Wednesday until after the Terrapins (11-5, 1-2) got their first ACC victory this season.

Asked how he was handling coming off the bench after starting the first 11 games, Tucker said: “Every senior wants to start. Coach [Gary Williams] knows I want to start, too. I’m not going to pout about it. Whenever I get in the game, I want to do whatever I can to help this team win.”

Tucker’s efforts to do just that in the Terrapins' 71-64 loss to Duke drew high praise from Coach Mike Krzyzewski.

“I tell you what: Jordan Williams [23 points] is a hell of a player, but Tucker was really good for them,” Krzyzewski said afterward. “We had a chance to go up three possessions and then all of a sudden -- boom! With a three [-pointer], [Tucker] cuts two possessions there. You know, five points goes to two. Big difference than if he hits a two [-pointer]. Tucker was big time for them.”

While Coach Gary Williams believes sports fans and journalists make too much of which players start rather than who plays well, he conceded Wednesday that Tucker may return to the starting five.

“[Tucker’s] not starting the game, but in my mind he’s a starter,” Williams said. “Don’t be surprised if he starts somewhere along the way this year. I think he’s under-rated in his quickness because he’s very quick in the open court. People think they have an angle on him in transition, and all of the sudden he’s up there shooting a layup.”

By Liz Clarke  | January 13, 2011; 7:50 AM ET
Categories:  Gary Williams, Men's basketball  | Tags:  Cliff Tucker, Maryland basketball, Wake Forest basketball. Gary Williams  
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Comments

if Tuck can step it up... that will go a long way towards the terps season..20 out of tuck 20 out of jordan and 60 out of the rest

Posted by: carolina1 | January 13, 2011 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Poopy, re: your comments on race...for once (I think) we are in total agreement on something.

As for this: "Whenever my dog passes on I won't mention it on the interweb to tell a bunch of random, anonymous people. But that's just me, different strokes for different folks."

That's not at all how it went down. 'mydogsnameisdixon' started posting comments on here and of course, considering that my dog too was named dixon and had just been killed, I was going to say something. My guess is a lot of people, even you, would've said something along those lines had that happened to your dog when someone was posting under that name.

And for the record, this is all I said at that time:
---------------------------

mydogsnameisdixon,

My family's dog was also named dixon, til he was killed by a neighbor's dog a few weeks ago. Assuming yours was also named after the juan and only.

Posted by: Barno1 | February 18, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Little did I know at the time that you would later go on to mock the dogs death repeatedly.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 12, 2011 5:21 PM

I never thought my using this screen name would result in this. Can I change it to
mypreviousdogsnamewasbias ?
Now I know how Hgr feels about wanting to make the change.

Hope JW keeps up the nice free throw form up at Nova, and I keep being more impressed with Hawk's bball IQ and decent athleticism.

Posted by: mydogsnameisdixon | January 13, 2011 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone else cringe whenever they see Karl Hess ref'ing our game? I know last night he wasn't a factor, but I'd love to know the Terps overall record in games played with a Karl Hess crew.

Posted by: mydogsnameisdixon | January 13, 2011 9:41 AM | Report abuse

...hey, anybody know how Chucky is doing?

Posted by: oddjob1 | January 13, 2011 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I hate watching the game on the computer, but it's better than Gametracker! Well CT stepped up again last night and it does look, if he stays consistent, that he will be the #2 scorer and make other contributions as well. Two good games in a row. Looks like Stogs has shot himself out of the starting PG spot and that P'shon will move in. The question is, if that happens, who do you start, Bowie or CT? To me, Bowie has proven he should not play the point. We really are a poor shooting team and last night was ridiculous. Even if we take Stogs numbers out we still shot .424, .357 from 3's. Our FT shooting was bad as well with the exception (surprise) of JW, even though he shot only 64%. Where was Gregory last night? That second big man slot really needs some definition and improvement. Who really thinks we will beat Nova in Philly? What a boost that would provide.

Posted by: petecard | January 13, 2011 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Pete,

I do. This IS a trap game for Nova. How can they possibly get up to play a MD team that hasn't beaten anyone all year? Meanwhile, MD is looking for respect. They got a break by getting to play an awful WF team after the Duke game that took a lot out of them. (notice that Duke lost to FSU, still hungover from the MD game). They will be up for Nova. Nova is overrated right now and is due for a loss.

Posted by: larry31 | January 13, 2011 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Bad teams can sure cover up terrible play. The only thing I got out of last night's game was that Wake is quite possibly the worst ACC team of all time. If the Terps played half as well as they did against Duke, they would have won by 40. The only thing that kept Wake breathing in that game was the 2-3 zone and the Terps' complete inneptitude at solving it.

Duke doulbed from different sides of the floor to try to shut down JW, but Wake provided the ultimate blueprint at beating the Terps, a tight 2-3 Syracuse-style zone. You have to believe Jay Wright is going to throw that at the Terps all day on Saturday, and 'Nova can probably run it even better with a taller, more-athletic front line. The Terps better spend a lot of time working on their zone offense, or Saturday could be a disaster.

Posted by: Russtinator | January 13, 2011 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Called the Terps blowout and the big day from Tucker on his bday. Now if only I had not bet on gtown as well...they are SO overrated, but what else is new. They do this every year. Start out in the top 10 and beat up a bunch of patsies, then get rolled in the big east and somehow still end up in the top 25 until the very end of the season when they collapse completely in the first round of either the ncaas or the nit.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 13, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Saturday's game is not a trap game for Nova. Wright is a good friend of Gary's and knows the danger in facing teams coached by him. He won't let Nova overlook the Terps no matter who they play next. Expect Nova to come out ready to play. It won't matter though as the Terps are due and - I think - they finally get their big win.

Russ - last nights zone did provide the blueprint against the Terps. Someone needs to start hitting from outside to stretch the zone. That means either give Stoglin one more game of chucking or let the reins loose on Tucker. The only other option would be to have Bowie and/or Pe' dribble penetrate and force the zone to collapse, leaving someone open following the collapse, driving to the basket. There was a time when Bowie was unstoppable driving to the basket. Where have those days gone?

Posted by: fushezzi | January 13, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Russ - last nights zone did provide the blueprint against the Terps. Someone needs to start hitting from outside to stretch the zone. That means either give Stoglin one more game of chucking or let the reins loose on Tucker. The only other option would be to have Bowie and/or Pe' dribble penetrate and force the zone to collapse, leaving someone open following the collapse, driving to the basket. There was a time when Bowie was unstoppable driving to the basket. Where have those days gone?

Posted by: fushezzi | January 13, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Bowie did make a couple of drives in the second half, but I was really surprised by his disinterest in taking charge. Bowie's a senior, and he has to stop looking for someone else to take the ball. He did take some wide open 3's, but what he needed to do was to make some drives and slash to the basket when the rest of the team is just standing around.

Tocker did have a great game, but he really needs to be a little smarter when he's running on the break. He's always looking to get his own shot on the fast break instead of looking to pass. Eventually teams will pick up on that and he's going to start picking up charges.

I'm really surprised Wiess is not getting more time. He was solid in the few minutes he played last night. The kid is a block machine. Parker did actually make it into last night's game, but he spent the whole time tucking his shirt in. I guess he wasn't expecting to log any minutes.

Pe'Shon seeming completely baffled by the zone. I haven't watched a lot of Wake this year (the NCSU game was the only game I've seen with them this season), so I don't know if that 3-2 zone is something that Gary prepped them for, but Howard looked far more confused by the zone than anyone else on the court. His passes were not crisp, and he did not move to the sweet spots on the floor against that zone. I do think that the extended time he got in the second half is an indication that he might get the starting nod very soon. At least he wasn't jacking up shots like Stoglin.

Padgett had a pretty good game aside from the free throws at the end (the airball wasn't within 3 feet of the front of the rim).Dino also had a good game, especially defensively, and probably wouldn't have yielded as many minutes to Padgett had he not gotting into foul trouble in the second half.

JW just was not getting the ball in good spots on the floor. The perimeter players were not moving to create angles to get JW the ball. They were just setting up shop and trying to get JW to move, which is not what you do against a zone. I would expect Gary to spend at least 2 periods today on their zone offense, and to add some more high-low plays into the rotation.

Posted by: Russtinator | January 13, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I agree about the Terps vulnerability against the zone. It's because of our poor shooting. This is a major problem vs. Nova. I don't see this as a trap game for Nova. Jay Wright is just too smart for this and they are at home where they rarely lose. FSU should send Gary a dozen ProV1's for setting up Duke.

Posted by: petecard | January 13, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Bowie always seems hesitant. Always. There was one possession where he had a wide up 3 in the corner after a nice feed from Pe'Shon, and he looked like he had no idea what to do. He looked up like he was going to shoot, then thought about it and just dribbled once even though no one was covering him, and then tried to pass it inside.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 13, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Glad we won (as we should've) but you know what'd I'd really like to start seeing on a regular basis?

I'd like to see the full-court press become more effective. I'd love to see more focus on inbounds passings.

It's little things like that, which seperate above average teams and great teams.

Oh, and so glad Duke lost.

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | January 13, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Glad we won (as we should've) but you know what'd I'd really like to start seeing on a regular basis?

I'd like to see the full-court press become more effective. I'd love to see more focus on inbounds passings.

It's little things like that, which seperate above average teams and great teams.

Oh, and so glad Duke lost.

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | January 13, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I thought the press was pretty effective last night. When they're in "55," they pressure the inbounder and double whoever gets the ball. Once the next pass is made, they back off so they don't get caught in a fast break. The press has been pretty solid this year holding to those principles, and they have only given up a few fast break baskets when they press. They also run a 3/4-court press "33" that is not as effective right now, but has thrown some teams off (Illinois). The ballhandler is pressured to make a pass just before the timeline, and whoever receives the pass is doubled. The problem the Terps have been having with this press is that the Terps often telegraph it, and most experienced teams will avoid passing the ball into trapping areas. Gary's also thown a zone press in here and there, but the team doesn't seem to understand how to bait opponents into throwing the ball to the wrong spot on the court where they can get a steal.

The Terps will never run a true 40-minute full-court press ala Kentucky and Arkansas from the mid-late 90's. That's mostly because it's too easy to scout, and requires a special kind of talent to pull off for an entire game (long-armed quick defenders with stamina). Most teams have plays to rip through a full-court press now because there's so much tape on the different presses that are employed, so you're probably never going to see a college team play that style anymore.

It is a little annoying to see the way Maryland's press works in that they pressure the first two passes but then back off even before the ball gets across half court. However, the press is not always employed to create turnovers, but to force the other team to work a little harder to initiate their offense, and to make them think they have to rush through their set to beat the shot clock. I do think this team could be a little more aggressive, but the press has been pretty solid this year.

Posted by: Russtinator | January 13, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

On the one hand, I'm of course glad Duke lost. On the other, I can't help but be annoyed they lost right after we played them. A win IN cameron, ending their 25 game win streak, would have been huge. Also, it's better when Duke is number 1 when we play them...and though I can't root for them to win, in some ways I'd like them to re-gain their number 1 ranking by the time they visit College Park for their next loss.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 13, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I'd much more prefer that Duke lose every game from here on out.

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | January 13, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Bowie always seems hesitant. Always. There was one possession where he had a wide up 3 in the corner after a nice feed from Pe'Shon, and he looked like he had no idea what to do. He looked up like he was going to shoot, then thought about it and just dribbled once even though no one was covering him, and then tried to pass it inside.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 13, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it's that he doesn't want to lose minutes by making a mistake, so he makes the same play. Last season, there were games where he was more aggressive than GV. There hasn't been a single game this year where he's been the most aggressive guard on the floor. I thought he would just start carving that zone up, but he just seemed scared to drive inside the collapsing zone. I really think Wake completely surprised them with that zone, and they had not done any preparation for it. Wake played pretty straight man-man against NCSU who has an similar go-to guy in the post (Tracy Smith), and I never saw Wake drop into a zone against him. Maybe the fact that Smith and Leslie killed them in the paint caused them to install the zone to combat JW. Now that the team has played significant minutes against the 2-3 (Cremins threw a 3-2 and a box and 1 at the Terps), they will recognize it, and quickly figure out how to beat it (throw over the top).

Posted by: Russtinator | January 13, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I'd much more prefer that Duke lose every game from here on out.

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | January 13, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Except of course against St. Johns and Temple. The ACC cannot afford to lose any more interconference games.

Posted by: Russtinator | January 13, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Bowie has lost his confidence completely. He used to do a great job using his quickness to slash to the basket, now everytime he touches the ball he treats it like a hot potato.

He should be behind stoglin, Howard, tucker and mosley at this point until he regains his confidence. I don't see what he brings to the team at this point.

He's been a tremendous underacheiver after showing promise after a solid stint at Montrose. I hope he can turn it around and prove me wrong

Posted by: DMoney28 | January 13, 2011 7:19 PM | Report abuse

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