What a difference two days make. Saturday, Maryland comes out and plays good ball on both ends of the court against a solid ACC team. Last night, they looked like they just came off of Christmas break. Maryland, winners 3 of their past 4 coming into the game, came out playing hard but couldn’t execute. Of any of their remaining games, this was one Maryland needed to sneak out a win against.
Maryland came out showing signs of their weaknesses early. They got dunked on early and often. They were over matched in size, they couldn’t defend the three at all and missed almost a dozen lay-ups. The Terps again allowed a decent shooting team to get off more than 20 threes during the game and the Tigers burned them ending 12 -26 from three range. Mosely did clamp down on their best shooter, Oglesby, allowing him to go 2 – 10 from the arc. This is a tale of teams though. Maryland only allowed Clemson to shoot 3 – 9 from the arc in the first half, but allowed the Tigers to shoot everything, 9 – 17, in the second half. Were they just tired or did they lose focus? Too many times this year, the Terps have come out strong in the first half only to play poorly in the second. Losses to Miami, Florida State, Boston College and Morgan state are prime examples.
As for the positives, here they are. They did get to the line 15 times in the first half shooting 11 – 15, but seemed to forget about driving the lane in the second half. I know, stick with positives. They did assist on 18 of 23 made shots, which does show they are sharing the ball. The Terps may have had more assists/made shots if they didn’t miss as many lay-ups. Although Maryland looked hesitant, they were able to break the press often against the Tigers. Their first half play wasn’t brilliant, but it kept them in the game. They played tough defense and forced Clemson into ill-advised shots. They need to put that together for forty minutes.
Maryland has put themselves in a tight spot for the remainder of the season. They face North Carolina this saturday and then Duke next wednesday before getting a slight reprieve at NC State on march 1st. After that Wake comes to town and a finale at Virginia. The schedule only favors them in that they play the remainder of their ranked teams at home, Carolina, Duke and Wake. If they could go 3 – 2, wins at NC State, Virginia and Wake, the last five games would have them even at 500 in the ACC. Add in a decent showing in the ACC tourney (2 wins) and they may sneak into the NCAA tourney. Anything at 500 in the ACC gets a good look from the tournament committee, but one of their remaining wins needs to be a ranked team. They have only one win against a ranked team this year, Michigan State, and that was without their star center Goran Suton. One game at a time, next up, Carolina.