Maryland, coming off a first round loss in the ACC tournament, needed to win and they picked a good time to do it. Playing for the last chance to make a statement in the NCAA tournament, Greivis and company didn’t want to disappoint and they didn’t. The Terps played good defense and scored easily in beating the Cougars, 89 – 77.
The first half of this match-up was all about understanding the team they were playing. The Terps weren’t struggling but they also weren’t putting the game out of reach from the Cougars. Maryland exchanged baskets with the Cougars through most of the first half and thanks to the nations leading scorer, Aubrey Coleman 26 points and 8 rebounds, the Cougars were able to keep up. Jordan Williams kept Maryland in the game, coming up with his best game of the season scoring 21 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. Williams definitely benefited from Houston’s lack of size and looked like a man among boys.
In the second half, the Terps turned it up with a 16 – 5 run the first 4 minutes. They played better defense on Coleman, Kelvin Lewis (24 points) and ran their half court more efficiently. Maryland started to flow very well offensively and shots fell more easily. Vasquez and Mosley came into foul trouble, but with the help of Milbourne and Bowie (9 points) the Terps kept things going. Maryland held a rebound advantage as well, 47 – 26, which helped them to numerous second chance points.
There were a few keys to the game. First, the reemergence of Landon Mibourne (19 points and 7 boards) was a good sign. His effort was huge and contributions offensively were well needed. Second, Jordan Williams has become more than Gary had ever imagined. Having Williams inside to compliment Vasquez and Hayes on the outside has made this team a little more complete. Lastly, the Terps have become a solid team defensively. They alter shots, they block shots and just make it tough for teams to score. Gary always has had that in his teams, but this years team does it without much effort. Next on to Michigan State.