After that big win against Clemson, Maryland goes on the road and gets worked -- worked -- by the Virginia Cavaliers. They were thoroughly, thoroughly outplayed as the Cavs executed their game plan to perfection.
The Cavs wanted to use the speed of their two all-conference-level guards, Sean Singletary and J.R. Reynolds, to drive the ball past the defense and draw fouls. And it worked. For most of the first half, the Terps could not stay in front of the Cavs defensively, leading to massive foul trouble. Did we make any adjustments? Eh, not really. We kept trying to press them even though they kept tearing through it like wet Kleenex. I'm a huge Gary Williams fan, but are there chinks appearing in his once-shining armor?
Hey, J.R., I'm gonna paw at
you as you go by. Is that cool?
The Terps made a run at the end of the first half, but it was not enough. Much like last year (and, to one extent or another, several previous years), the Terps only seem able to get into a groove when the pressure is off. No one expected much from them against Clemson, so they win. Everyone expected them to keep it rolling against 9-6 Virginia, so they lose. If this trend holds, they'll probably beat Va. Tech this weekend, lose to Wake, give Carolina a serious scare but lose in the end (they just don't have the firepower), and so on and so forth.
And once again, it was the seniors leading the way, for better or worse. Ekene Ibekwe had a great hustle-type game, but still seems to think he is a shooter. Again, where is Gary Williams? If Ibekwe shoots or dribbles and is more than five feet from the basket, he should be yanked, period. He cannot be allowed to continue doing that. And just as with Miami, D.J. Strawberry was not able to step up as the team leader he seems to want to be. And Mike Jones just doesn't have the moxie. Gary should find a way to genetically meld those two players. Mike's scoring with D.J.'s defense and assertiveness. Get on that, Gary. Of course, once the game was out of reach in the second half, they couldn't be stopped. Mike Jones went on a sweet stat-padding run from three-point land and shot without a conscience. Strawberry came up with the steals he wasn't quite able to come up with when it mattered. And of course, there was Ibekwe, throwing it down and hanging on the rim as they cut the lead to 12. Same old, same old.
Hey, I still like this team a ton better than last year's, and the young guys -- Vasquez in particular -- are still showing flashes as they develop on the fly. I still hold out hope they can make the tourney, but it looks like this maddening roller coaster isn't going to end this season. Goterps.
- Terps Fall Behind, then U-Va. Holds On [Washington Post]
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(Photo credit: UVA athletic department)