Just two days after winning the ACC home opener over then-No. 18 Florida State, the Maryland Terrapins dropped their road opener to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
The 85-83 overtime loss to Wake Forest exposed many of the Terrapins’ weaknesses. When it came down to the clutch, Maryland missed their free throws, couldn’t get a rebound and Greivis Vasquez took entirely too many wild shots. Amongst his wild shots, Vasquez did play brilliantly at times, which has always driven me crazy about him. He’s so talented, but plays too frenetic.
Vasquez wound up with 30 points, but missed crucial free throws and took a few bad shots in overtime that would have had Maryland either tie, or go ahead of, Wake Forest. Obviously, in a game like this, one player can’t be blamed. The rest of the Terps had problems getting any sort of offense going.
Eric Hayes, who wasn’t much of a help to Vasquez, didn’t shoot enough and only scored eight points. In an ACC road game, seniors like Hayes need to score and not let the responsibility fall on one player or freshmen. Freshman Jordan Williams stepped up to give Vasquez help with 12 points, but he shouldn’t have had to.
Although this loss is no big deal because it’s a conference road loss, it would have helped the Terps immensely later in the season. Eventually, Maryland will need to steal a few wins on the road to improve their NCAA chances. Maryland’s next shot on the road is next with a trip to Boston College. A win at BC would erase the memory of this loss and put them at 2-1 in conference play.
Thoughts from Falco
For the Terps, two big questions arise. The first is the playmakers. Maryland has only a few players that can make their own shot consistently from many areas on the court. Vasquez is the main one Maryland has and was the only one who took chances shooting the ball. Even if a few of his shots were not smart, he is at least shooting the ball and trying to make plays. The other two are Landon Milbourne and Sean Mosley. Milbourne has normally been a consistent threat including 11 points tonight but had trouble getting around the Wake Forest bigs, and Mosley despite his 13 rebounds has put up single digits the last three games, getting eight against the Deacs. Maryland’s other offensive contributors, mainly Eric Hayes and Jordan Williams, need to be led in order to be effective, which is all right especially if they hit their shots, because that can open up the lanes for the playmakers. But only Vasquez was big tonight, and subsequently all others had trouble.
Which leads to the second point. Jordan Williams is continuing to be an impressive center, especially as a freshman. He showed great blocking ability and also completing shots near the rim. But Maryland does not have a replacement for him when Williams is off the court. During the first half when Williams was not on the floor, the Deacs were getting better play in the paint as Dino Gregory could not block out Aminu or Chas McFarland. Wake’s strategy was to constantly attack the boards, and Maryland normally defended well with their zone, but they had enough chances to succeed down low. Maryland will need to figure out ways to shield themselves against big men if Williams is the only one who can block down low.