Maryland, needing all the wins they can get right now, went into Raleigh and scored a good win Sunday night. The Terps played decent basketball and toughed out the win on the road to strengthen their chances for the NCAA tournament. Greivis Vasquez led the way with 33 points and 5 assists in which he practically scored half of the Terrapin points (71). Dave Neal was the only other Maryland player in double figures with 11 points and 8 boards.
Photo from the Baltimore Sun
Maryland didn’t look spectacular in their win, but they handled the ball efficiently and scored when they needed to. They ended with only 8 turnovers, 1 off their season best, and shot 48% from the field. They did have some erratic shots in the first half, didn’t set their offense right away and seemed as if they wanted to go into the locker room tied at the half. There were moments where the Terps looked as if they were going to pull away, but the Wolfpack would storm right back. NC State made it almost impossible to lose against in the first half turning the ball over close to ten times. I did like the way Maryland defended, but it appeared as if they were tired from the past two weeks after emotional games against Duke and North Carolina.
The second half started off a bit differently as NC State was aggressive and fouled frequently. The game seemed to slow almost to a halt as both Maryland and NC State traded baskets every time down the floor. Maryland did control the tempo and managed the ball a lot better than the first half, but they still couldn’t pull away as NC State kept making runs and tying the game. Greivis did most of the work in the second half as he scored 21 of his 33 points. It’s been a while since Maryland has had a scorer like this, maybe since Steve Francis, but Maryland is not the team that can support one scorer. They all need to contribute to get this team over the top and get wins from Wake and Virginia.
Key points from the game. This wasn’t a typical Maryland team except in their defense. Their press was good and did slow the Wolfpack. There were a few times they had just missed a few back-court violations because of the press. Although they did press well and collected 9 steals, the Wolfpack still shot about 50% from the field. Something they’ll need to change soon. Maryland shot 10 – 21 (47%) from three-point range. That’s really a pipe dream if they think they can keep it up. Don’t get me wrong, I do like the fact that the Terps have five guys shooting 35% or better from three-point range, but their strength lies within getting to foul line. Drive to the basket, get the free points at the line and play tough pressing defense. In the past I may have mentioned they should shoot more threes, but I’d rather see them defend the three and drive to the basket. This game, they didn’t seem to get to the free-throw line (7 of 8 ) and that’s not going to help them later when they aren’t shooting well from beyond the arc.
Coming next for the Terps is a tough Wake Forest team that is big and fast. A team that somehow seems to lose as of late and still stays within the top ten – who’s palms are they greasing. They play about ten guys a game to stay fresh and are always ready on defense. There are going to be a lot of match-up problems for Gary this week and he’s going to have to get all he can out of his team. The Terps need this win to help their resume and if they lose, they’ll probably need to win ACC tourney to have any shot at the NCAA tourney.