Maryland playing in its second game in as many nights, was pushed to a 80 – 76 loss by the Illini.
Maryland looked a little tired on the court and it was evident by the early sluggishness by both MD’s big men, Gregory and Williams, each picking up 2 fouls in the first 7 minutes of the game.
Maryland at first was led by Tucker offensively. He attempted to show his senior leadership by cutting the basket and hitting key three pointers, but it wasn’t enough. Stoglin picked up the scoring in the second half with some key three pointers as well along with drives to the basket that at time, didn’t look that pretty. Stoglin is trying to establish himself as one of the top freshman on this young team. Stoglin, along with Howard, have put in solid minutes early this season as freshman, something Gary is not accustomed to. Maryland needs to find more scoring though. Williams is probably their top threat and if he’s sitting most of the game with early fouls, other guys have to step up. Mosley tried to get back on track with 14 points, but he’s been very inconsistent as an offensive threat this year and throughout his career. MD shouldn’t be looking to him for offensive numbers in attempt to fill the void left by Vasquez, Hayes and Milbourne. Free throws were better Friday, making 13 -18 and hopefully this is something they’ll be working on most of this early season. The Terps are hurting for offense and they can’t afford to miss free points.
Defensively, the Terps need to guard the perimeter. This has been an issue in recent years with Gary’s teams where they cannot seem to guard the perimeter well and they’ve been burned by teams that shoot the three well. So far this year, the Terps are allowing 33% from the perimeter and really the only other team that has gotten them was College of Charleston. When you’re giving up over 50% on threes though, trading two’s is not going to get them the wins they need. Rebounding was much better as Gregory and Williams both made it to double digits grabbing 10 and 13 respectively. Pitt took advantage of this the night before so I can imagine it was on top of Gary’s list for this game. The Terps just couldn’t get a stop in the end and as well couldn’t hit the shots they needed.
Overall, this team is young and still finding their character. They have the inside game figured out, but they need to put together the right outside tandem to compliment inside. Bowie and Mosley look like role players and not sure if they want to take the reigns of this team. I’d almost venture to say that watching Howard and Stoglin out there could be more exciting than having Mosley and Bowie out there. The season is still young and this team will fall in place in the next 5 – 10 games. They’ll need to with Duke coming up on Jan 9th , otherwise that will be a shellacking by the Blue Devils.