It was a tale of two halves, unfortunately for the Maryland Terrapins the tale of the 1st half outweighed the 2nd in their 69-64 loss to Georgia Tech in the quarterfinal of the 2010 ACC Tournament. Georgia Tech ran out to a 16 point half-time lead as they punished the Terps both inside and out. The Terps fought back quickly in the 2nd half but could never pull even or take the lead from the Yellowjackets as it appeared they ran out of gas during the comeback. In the end it was Maryland’s poor shooting and Tech’s length and athleticism that did in the Terps in a tournament that has been full of upsets. Now Maryland can get some extended rest and await their seeding in next weeks NCAA Tournament.
It was clear early that the Yellow Jackets were motivated to save their season and avenge a brutal February loss in College Park. Many believed that Tech needed one more win to lock up a tournament berth and perhaps save coach Paul Hewitt’s job. These factors united the Jackets at the start as they got repeated open looks and there was a sense that it was not the Terps night when Tech guard Mo Miller channeled Reggie Miller and actually made some jump shots. In fact Georgia Tech rarely missed from the perimeter starting 6-8 from 3 pt. range and finishing 8-12.
Maryland, meanwhile, missed several open looks and found the sledding tough on the interior against the taller and more athletic Yellow Jackets. To their credit, the Terps did not go away quietly, showing the mettle of most Gary Williams coached teams. The Terps repeatedly turned the Jackets over in the 2nd half and cut a 16 point deficit to 2 in under seven minutes. But each time the Terps got close for the rest of the game they could not make the plays to put them over the hump. Some bad shots and good defensive plays kept the Terps at bay. Greivis Vasquez also struggled greatly and never appeared to have the energy or bounce in his step that we have seen this year. Jordan Williams was in foul trouble all night, which hurt the Terps on the boards and defending the interior. Sean Mosley, despite registering 4 steals, was 0-7 from the floor and did not score. Eric Hayes and Landon Milbourne played nice games, but it was not enough for the Terps to advance to the semifinals.
This game was pointed to the Terps weakness as a team. When they are not making jump shots they are very average. Fortunately for the Terps they have been a good shooting team for most of the season. The Terps will also need to find ways to score consistently against more athletic teams like Georgi Tech. If Maryland runs into a match-up like this they could be in trouble in the NCAA’s. The question for Terps fans is: Was tonights loss an blip on the radar or more of what is to come?