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Sunday, January 27, 2008

You Lose Some, You Lose Some...

I have a good friend that has a saying, "You lose some, and you lose some." Yeah.

I'm not going to try and give any excuses as to why Maryland lost to Duke today, even though I personally thought Duke played dirty and they got calls at the end. We lost it by not playing well enough, by forcing our game and not giving ourselves a chance.

The final score of the contest was 93-84, but we definitely could've won. We outrebounded the Blue Devils (although it should've been by a greater margin), we shot at a higher percentage, but the two numbers that ended up mattering the most was 10 and 22.

Duke had 10 turnovers. Maryland had 22. You can't win that game.

I personally don't care that Duke was No. 4 in the country - that's an excuse. The Terps were up by 9 at the half, and they had all the momentum in the world. Duke came out after the break and made Maryland look flat.

I suppose you can't be too upset with competing with the No. 4 team in the country, but after you beat No. 1, the bar is higher. When you put yourself in position to win a game, you're expected to close it.

Here are the stats. Here's what I saw:

- I personally thought Duke played dirty at least in the first half. There was a lot of flopping around on top of Maryland players. Duke triple-teamed both Gist and Osby in the paint at times, and there was a lot of arm flailing and not a lot of called contact. There was one play when Gist turned around to face up McClure and received a shot to the face, and another when Taylor King took out Adrian Bowie's legs on a layup and the call was a player-control foul. What I saw from Duke seemed to be them trying to make a statement that they would play physically with us, but it was just dirty play - I think we're lucky no one was seriously injured.

- James Gist and Bambale Osby had dominant games until the final minutes. Gist put up 26 points and Osby set career highs with 20 points and 15 boards. Duke had no answer for our inside game in the first half, but toward the end, it seemed to swing the other way. Duke grabbed plenty of rebounds to control their lead, including two offensive boards in a row that killed at least a minute and a half. I think Gist and Osby had a great overall performance, but they got tired and couldn't close it out. And 9 turnovers are too many turnovers for a pair of power forwards.

- On a related note, the bench didn't do much at all. All the backups managed to get were 8 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Blech. And no Dino Gregory or Jerome Burney sightings either. I love seeing the guy on the floor, but is Dave Neal (The People's Champ) really the best reserve player in the post?

- Pretty good starting guard play: Hayes got a career-high 9 assists, Vasquez had 15 pts and 7 dimes, and they only gave up 6 points between them. But perimeter defense continues to be a problem (See Henderson, Gerald and Nelson, DeMarcus) and forcing fastbreak plays with unadvisable long passes down the court still happens. Why do our guards keep trying to set up half-court alley-oops? I don't think I've seen one work yet this season, but there are at least 3 attempts per game

Overall, I'm very disappointed that we lost and how the loss affects our shot at the NCAA tournament, but I can see the good things in the shadows. Gist and Osby are showing that defenses will need to take them seriously. Eric Hayes being back has given the team a tremendous boost. Competing against some of the best teams in the country has shown that we still have the means to be competitive in the ACC. I'm bummed tonight, but I'm also excited and anxious to see what happens the rest of this year. Stakes are high, and the obstacles are even higher, but we just might have a shot.

As always, Go Terps.

Photo Credit: Baltimore Sun

2 comments:

J-Red said...

Just a tale of two halves from Greivis. We had some of the prettiest entry passes I've seen in years in the first half and those same plays were turnovers in the second.

JC said...

We're starting to see that Gist and Osby are the team's best shot at success. The new chant in Comcast should be "Where is Greivis?"