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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Terps take Virginia to school

Maryland showed up tonight and held Virginia down, beating them 85-75. Very fascinating game. I think at this point, Maryland has proven they can compete.

Virginia isn't very good, but it was important for the Terps to prove they wouldn't let down against a lesser team after running with Duke on Sunday. Now they sit at respectable 3-3 in the ACC, which is OK, but not quite good enough. The team will have to treat every game as a must-win from here on out.

I saw some really "interesting" things in this game:

- TURNOVERS: I had to rub my eyes, pinch myself and check my pulse when I took a look at the box score. Only 9 turnovers tonight for UMD. Incredible. Overall, the ball movement, especially in the first half, looked pretty crisp. It was apparent to me that Eric Hayes and Greivis Vasquez had been practicing together on a few plays: One of the more successful setups was when one of them passed the ball to the other, and when the double team came to block the shot, a quick pass back would create an open shot.

- SHOOTING: On a related note, the long-range shooting was better. Hayes hit 3, Vasquez hit 4. The percentage should go up though (only 33%). Both Adrian Bowie and Cliff Tucker hesitate in taking open shots from downtown. Landon Milbourne was inconsistent.

- LEADERSHIP: There was a specific possession when the guards stalled and kind of passed back and forth for a bit while the shot clock was winding down. It was a bit nerve-wracking because Sean Singletary was threatening to make a one-man comeback. Greivis threw up a hasty shot, Gist rebounded and got fouled. In the huddle before the shots, Gist entered the circle. All I can say was he wasn't giving them a pat on the back. Boom joined in on the yelling, and both of them looked dead serious. The guards looked pretty bashful. I've seen both of them play with emotion, but I've never seen them hold their teammates responsible like that - ever. It was actually a very welcome sign for me that the seniors were actually serious that they were not going to lose that game. Gist and Osby are now the undeniable leaders of the squad. Discipline from within is a beautiful thing.

The biggest problem I saw was really a matter of not seeing much ... from the bench, that is. The best player? DAVE NEAL. The People's Champ did a fair backup job with 4 points and 3 boards in 12 minutes, which isn't too bad. But really, Tucker, Bowie and Dupree can't put up more stats COMBINED than Dave Neal? Well, anyway, congrats to Neal for hustling like hell and showing the fans why he's earned the right to be called The People's Champ.

Good win. Next up, Georgia Tech.

RECRUITING NEWS: Maryland football earned the commitment of defensive tackle Zack Kerr from Quince Orchard HS. He's a big'un, and a 3-star recruit. That totals 4 DTs that Maryland's picked up this year with a 3-star (or higher) rating. Think they might switch to a 4-3 defense pretty soon? Kenny Tate's verdict comes tomorrow at 5 p.m. Hopefully, he'll make this one of Maryland's best recruiting classes in recent years.

Go Terps!

Photo Credits: Baltimore Sun


Brien said...

I love seeing Gist take charge of the team. He never looked like much of a leader in past years, but now he's definitely the man on the team.

How great is it that the Terps finally won a recruiting battle with Illinois? It seems like every guy we go after ends up in Champaign.

Russell said...

The People's Champ has really made a big difference, allowing Osby and sometime Gist to rest without a huge defensive drop-off. He can't block many shots, but good positioning allows him to prevent easy shots and gather some rebounds. I think we will continue to see him get 10+ minutes the rest of the year.