On Senior Night, things are supposed to go in favor of the home team. Tell that to Dave Neal and he may have some choice words for you. Maryland looking to pad their resume to make a case for the NCAA tourney took a blow last night losing to Wake Forest in a thriller, 65 – 63. The Terps played a great game, but couldn’t hold off the Deacs in the end and may have shot themselves out of any chance of making the NCAA tourney. All wasn’t lost as Neal had a career night with 19 points, 6 boards and shooting 5 – 6 from beyond the arc. Greivis followed up with 16 points and 7 assists.
Maryland needed to win out the regular season to be on the safe side of making the tournament, another wards, inside the bubble looking out. In the first half, they displayed the tenacity to get a win. They played good defense seemingly confusing the Demon Deacons at times with their zone and man-to-man defense. The Terps pressured well with their full-court press. They also drove to the basket and were able to get easy points in the paint. Wake didn’t foul as much therefore the Terps didn’t get to the line at all during the first half. Their rebounding wasn’t that bad as well considering Wake plays a larger line-up, although Wake did have 9 offensive rebounds to Maryland 6. Overall, the Terps did hold a 24 – 12 point advantage in the paint.
The second half came in with a thud. Maryland fouled early and turned the ball over on a couple of their first possessions quickly erasing their 7 point half-time lead. The Terps couldn’t rebound at all allowing Wake to end with a 50 – 32 rebound advantage, 19 – 11 offensively. That’s correct, the Deacons had 19 total offensive rebounds! They were virtually all over the glass and it paid off in the second half as the Deacons picked up 12 second chance points, 24 points in the paint. Maryland looked tentative in the second half and it was personified when Teague dunked on Dave Neal with a little over 4 minutes to play. Senior night and you are the victim of an ESPN highlight dunk is not the memory you want of your last home game of your collegiate career. The Terps didn’t drive the lane as much and did only get to the line once.
All year long, Maryland has been consistently inconsistent. They always seem to play well for one half and lack the energy in the other half. If they could just save all their energy for the second half and finish games, they may have fared better against their opponents and be inside the bubble looking out. There are a lot of questions the Terps must ask themselves, but at this point it may be too late. Where was Landon Milbourne – 2 points and 2 rebounds in 30 minutes of play? What happened to Jerome Burney? I wish Gary would stop playing favorites with his players and put some bodies in even if it’s just to take up space for 5 minutes a game. Why did the Terps only go to the line once the whole game? They basically left the inside game in the locker room when they came out for the second half. Since when are the Terps a 3 point shooting team? The Terps play better as a team when they drive the lane, draw fouls and go to the line and to only go to the line once is not playing to one of their strengths. I could go on and on, but one thing is for certain, they cannot afford to make any mistakes from here on out if they want to make the NCAA tourney. This Saturday they travel to John Paul Jones Arena and that’s not an easy place to pick up a win, especially Senior Night. If the Terps lose, they are definitely out so time to man up.