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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Notes from the Bucknell Blowout


In case you missed it, the Maryland men found success in their first game of the season. They shot down the Bucknell Bison convincingly, winning 81-52.

It highlighted some of the ideas I talked about in the preview, but solidified some other issues I wondered about before everyone was healthy and on the floor. I'm going to approach this with the mindset that there is no "bad" stuff, just "not-so-good" stuff.

THE GOOD STUFF

- Landon Milbourne and Cliff Tucker had great games. Milbourne led the team with 16 points on 5 of 9 shooting. He made all of his free throws and didn't turn the ball over once. Tucker had 14 points and 5 rebounds, plus he dazzled with 2 picked pockets that just created a whole lot of excitement. Adrian Bowie deserves at least an honorable mention for a 12 point game with 3 dishes and 2 steals when Eric Hayes got in some foul trouble.

- Only 11 turnovers in this game. That's the kind of basketball the Terps will need to play to win the nailbiters.

- Bucknell was held to 31.7 percent shooting and only 18.8 percent from long range. They shot less than 50 percent on free throws, which might happily be attributable to the crowd. Overall, they put up brick after brick. Maryland had good defensive rebounding, particularly from some unexpected characters: Braxton Dupree, Dino Gregory and Dave Neal each had 6 boards.

- You had to be there because it doesn't show up in the stats: Sean Mosley looked very solid. He only made one of his 5 shots, but he dished out 4 assists, grabbed 4 rebounds and only had one turnover. Furthermore, he looked pretty passable on defense for a debut game, and he seemed to have the maturity of an older player. Mosley carries himself diffently than other rookies, and he moves and passes with confidence. Definitely look for him to earn some minutes in conference play.

THE NOT-SO GOOD STUFF

- Overall, Greivis Vasquez had a great game. I want to make that clear: 13 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists to go with a single turnover is friggin' great for any point guard. However, he's a leader, so he's held to a higher standard. His shooting was absolutely abysmal - 5 for 16 is just not good. It's frustrating to watch a talented player try to do it all. Greivis will drive into the lane, but instead of passing out, he'll try a hook shot 5 feet away from the hoop against two bigger guys. Those shots NEVER drop. I think his biggest problem is he goes for the big play rather than the easy play, and that's not a quality you want a point guard to have. He's the best player, but one thing he needs to learn how to do is simplify. If you don't have a good shot, don't frickin' shoot.

- The fact that our rebounding came from bench players is a little alarming, because that won't be the case in more competitive games when opponents are more physically imposing and will dominate Neal and Gregory. Neal really was the surprise of the night, but he's not going to go up against 6'8 non-athletic centers in the ACC who don't have post moves. The ACC frontcourt will be far more physically dominant than Bucknell, and the rebounding margin in this game was only three total. Where's Jerome Burney? Asleep? He managed only two rebounds and one block with no points in 10 minutes. He's sinking on the depth chart even though he could be the most athletic big we have. Gregory could be on the rise with some of his gutsy play the other night.

- People who weren't bad but didn't do all that much or not enough to leave an impression: Hayes, Jin Soo Kim, and Steve Goins (who hardly played at all).

We'll see what happens tonight to further test these observations.

Go Terps!

EXTRA: Forward James Padgett has officially signed with the Terps for next year. Welcome to the family!