The immortal words of Steve Spurrier were in my mind as I watched UNC put the finishing touches on last night’s whooping. This is one of those beatings where you tip your cap and get the F out of dodge.
If it’s possible to be encouraged after a 17-point loss to a tough conference rival, then I am. After all, the Terps scored 91 points. It’s just that UNC would have beaten the Bobcats last night.
The Terps did some good things. Cliff Tucker played his way out of the doghouse with a career-high 18 (a lot of it came after the game was already over, but we’ll just ignore that). Sean Mosely and Eric Hayes again played well in their respective new starter and bench roles. I liked Gary’s hit-em-in-the-mouth game plan, which included pointedly physical play, imposing black unis, and best of all, pushing the ball upcourt as quickly as possible, especially after a Carolina score, when the Heels prefer to saunter back on D. It happened so fast a few times that even the Raycom cameras couldn’t keep up.
But when the other team hits 16 threes and gets 79 points from three guys (Ellington, Hansbrough, Lawson), it’s not your night. Although the rebounding battle was admirably close in the end (37-35 for UNC), this was the biggest size difference I’ve seen between the Terps and their opponents all year.
Despite this, the Terps fought hard and didn’t allow the revenge-minded Tar Heels to break their spirits. I think the Terps can finish strong if they come out with this same mindset against Georgia Tech. And Virginia Tech. And Clemson. And North Carolina again. And Duke. And NC State. And Wake Forest. And Virginia. And the ACC tournament. Goterps.
(Photo credit: Charlotte Observer)