Posts Tagged ‘Eric Hayes

19
Mar
09

NCAA first round: Vasquez and Maryland upset Cal, 84-71

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YEAH TERPS! What a game! This reminded me of the Michigan State win from earlier this year. Diving after loose balls, everything going in the basket. Everything was clicking.

This was a pretty evenly contest game until a HUGE swing at around the 10:30 mark of the second half. With the Terps nursing a two-point lead, Vasquez finds a wide-open Eric Hayes in the corner for a three. Cal didn’t convert on its possession, Hayes tracked down a rebound, and Dino Gregory (who played a great game) sent a touch pass to Landon Milbourne for another three. In the span of about 25 seconds, the lead went from two to eight. In total, it was a 9-0 run over 1:54.

In the last 10 minutes, Cal just couldn’t get anything consistent going. Interesting that they didn’t foul in the closing minutes. They just knew it was Maryland’s day. The Terps were unquestionably the better team today.

Play of the game came at the seven minute mark after Bowie missed a free throw and a scrum ensued. Bowie picked it up and, using the eyes in the back of his head, found Vasquez alone under the basket for an And-1. That was when everyone — both teams, both coaches, everyone — seemed to realize that it was all coming up Maryland. Vasquez was clearly the MVP, with a 27-6-2. Jesus. He has grown a ton over the last month or so.

The whole Terps team is peaking. Right now. What can they do against Memphis? Memphis looks to be tough right now as well, although they struggled a little against Cal Northridge in the first round.

First half recap of Terps win is below and here, if you’re interested.

Memphis up next on Saturday. We’ll be out of town, though, and won’t be blogging right after. Sorry, Mom.

GO TERPS!

(photo credit: Reinhold Matay — Associated Press)

13
Mar
09

Yeeee-haaaaaa!!!!!!!!

With no regular player over 6′ 7″, the Maryland Terrapins beat Wake Forest 75-64 tonight to all but assure themselves a spot in the NCAA tournament.

That was a fun sentence to type.  THEY DID IT!  MARYLAND’S GOING TO THE DANCE BABYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had my doubts, but they got it done.  It was a solid 40-minute effort and they didn’t fold under pressure.  Vasquez that crazy guy I love to hate, he came through.  As did Sean freaking Mosely (his block to force that Wake shot clock violation in the early second half was my play of the game), Big Dave Neal, Dino Gregory, Eric Hayes, everybody.  And how about that zone?  They shut down Teague and frustrated the bigs.  Great win.  Great win.  THEY’RE GOING DANCING!!!!!!

I think I’ll let the pictures take over now.  I’M GOING STREAKIIINNNNG!!!!!!!!!!!

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26
Feb
09

Duke beats Maryland, celebrates with ski trip, uses indigent children instead of skis

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So college basketball’s evil empire wins again. Bravo. The team of twerps and 80s movie villains prevails.  Singler is the biggest twerp of them all. There’s just something about him that makes me want to put my fist through the TV. It’s like he lives in some kind of magic bubble. I could picture him walking down the sidewalk one day, eating an ice cream cone, but up ahead a crane has lost control of its wrecking ball, and the ball is headed straight for him, but at the last second a construction worker jumps in the way to save him but dies in the process, and then Singler, who didn’t see the wrecking ball because he was too busy enjoying his delicious ice cream, steps over the worker’s body, tosses 50 cents on the corpse, and walks away thinking about what a nice guy he is, and why couldn’t people be more like him.  I really despise Kyle Singler. F you, you Boo Radley lookin stickbag!

How’s that for some hardcore roundball analysis.  But really, what else is there to say? The Terps lost a hard-fought game. Milbourne continues to be our most consistently good player. The missed free throws were troubling. I hate Gerald Henderson. Best screen ever. I hate Kyle Singler. Vasquez fouled out before the game actually started. Hayes was surprisingly good. I hate Mike Kzhrewyeskzzskis. There’s your summary.

But you know what? A win last night would have been like found money. Now we have NC State, Wake, and UVA. This is the real season-within-a-season. If — IF — we can man up and win those three, I think we may be in. If — IF — we win two of those and IF we win a game in the ACC tourney, I think we may be in. The Terps’ RPI is 58. I’m no RPIologist, but I would describe that as fair to middlin. Looks like another late season run of Maryland being featured in every single national bubble discussion. They should change their name to the Bubbles. The Maryland Bubbles. Go Bubs.

25
Feb
09

the sixth man, overconfidence, and the bubble

Red Auerbach won sixteen titles.  He was arguably the best coach in the history of sport.  Auerbach was the beneficiary of having incredible talent, and his greatest gift was knowing how to manage that talent.  I read his biography “Let Me Tell You a Story: A Lifetime in the Game” by John Feinsten a couple years ago.  It’s a great, quick book to go through, and I highly recommend you pick it up for some beach reading.

Of all the innovations Auerbach brought to basketball, the one thing he felt made the biggest difference in his teams was that he invented and employed the use of the sixth man.  The sixth man is an often misunderstood concept.  Many people think that a sixth man is the sixth best player on the team, and sometimes that guy just happens to do well and gets dubbed “sixth man”. For Auerbach, the role of the sixth man was much more purposeful. Red would take one of his best players and intentionally reserve him.  He used Hall of Famer John Havlicek in this capacity.  When the other team would tire they would have to go to their scrubs, and in would come Havlicek to abuse them.

Steve Yanda did a great job of highlighting Eric Hayes’s new role as sixth man in today’s Post.  Everybody wants to start, and the role of sixth man has been greatly marginalized in basketball today.  I think this role is a perfect fit for Hayes.  Hayes is a scorer that can also create for his teammates.  He’s matured into a decent defender that can turnover weaker opponents.  He’s quick.  He’s exactly the kind of guy that can abuse the opposition’s second team.  We’re going to see big things from Hayes coming off the bench.  It started with UNC, and we should see it continue tonight against Duke when he gets matched-up against Greg Paulus.

Speaking of Duke, I was on such a high this week that I almost forgot this game was coming-up.  Vegas currently has Duke as a six point favorite.  Wait, is it just me, or didn’t Duke embarrass us a month ago?  I know we just pulled off a big upset, but Duke looked really good against Wake the other night.  The UNC win provided the Terps with a lot of confidence, and that’s what scares me.  They usually play much better when the chips are down.  It’s going to take another superhuman effort on the part of Greivis Vasquez to pull off this upset.  Tonight we’ll see how much gas he has left in the tank.

The spread might be so close because we’re officially on the bubble.  The one man Tournament Committee known as Joe Lunardi updated his Bracketology site on Monday.  Who was the last team in?  You guessed it, the Terps baby.  Win tonight and they might even move up to the first of the Last Four In. Did you know Joe Lunardi successfully picked the entire field last year?  His word is bond.

09
Feb
09

georgia tech turns over another win to maryland

Lawal made the Terps look small.

Lawal made the Terps look small.

On January 10th, the first half of the Maryland vs. Georgia Tech game was some of the ugliest basketball I’ve ever seen.  I had just about blocked that out of my memory.  Then came the game in Atlanta Sunday night, and I felt like I had gone through regression therapy.  Memories of bad basketball came rushing back.  As was the case with the game in January, the Terps were lucky to outlast the Yellow Jackets last night in another “battle to see who screws-up the least”.

The Terps shot 36% from the field.  That is just plain old bad.  Landon Milbourne and Dave Neal were a combined 3/15 from the floor and were clearly outmatched under the basket by Gani Lawal and Zachary Peacock.  At times they just looked small, especially on a play in the second half when Lawal came soaring through the lane for a thunderous one-handed put-back off a Tech miss.  What the Terps lacked in size they did make-up for in hustle by crashing the boards and forcing mistakes out of the Yellow Jackets.

On the bright side, Maryland’s front court did what they could to contain Georgia Tech’s bigs.  Lawal and Peacock combined for 11 turnovers.  GreivisVasquez and Eric Hayes bothseemed to have the rhythm from outside, and Vasquez was able to take over offensively late in the second half in a way that he has not done in over a month.  The two guards combined for 34 of Maryland’s 57 points.  I didn’t remember hearing about this during the game, but Adrian Bowie was limited to 1min playing time due to a 102deg fever.  He’ll have five days rest before the Virginia Tech game on Saturday and should be fine.  It was great to see Hayes step-up in Bowie’s absence.  Those are about all the positives I have for this game.

After the final buzzer sounded, the Terps jumped around and celebrated as if they had just done something meaningful.  I guess a win against the worst team in the ACC is meaningful.  To celebrate a win like this is to reveal how low the team has it’s sights set.  The truth is they could have just as easily lost this game as they won it.  Yes, the team has been under a lot of pressure lately, but the most pressure filled part of the season is yet to come.  It would be good for this team to go home, forget this game entirely, and get ready for Virginia Tech.  I’m already working on forgetting it.

(Photo courtesy of The Washington Times)

04
Feb
09

Welp, we got out butts kicked

Jin Soo Kim does not know of this "defense" of which you speak.

There goes that man again.

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.

It’s funny how much agreement there is on this point in the local media.  Only the Washington Times, who blamed the Terps’ D, departed from this “they were just the better team last night” angle.

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)

02
Feb
09

A love-in at Comcast Center

Things were feeling so right in the CP on Saturday. The Terps got some good home cookin against Miami, and it seemed to be just the right medicine.  It was chicken soup for their souls.  It was a soothing balm. Could you feel the love, mama. Could you feel the healing. I sure hope that you could.

The team played well, the crowd was engaged and ultra-supportive, Gary did him some good coaching, and a top recruit (Lance Stephenson) looked on from the stands. I gotta say it was a good day.   

The game was pretty close up to the end, but even so the Terps seemed to be in relative control throughout.   Miami’s a better team than they generally get credit for, but beating them isn’t rocket science.  You just lock up their shooters and get drives in the lane, and that’s what the Terps did.  But most importantly, when it got down to crunch time, they kept their heads and kept their undies clean.  Vasquez fell one assist shy of a triple-double in a signal that he’s getting off the schneid.  Cult legend Jin Soo Kim furthered the feel-good atmosphere by scoring his first points in ACC play. 

Perhaps the two biggest pieces of news, besides the victory itself, are that Sean Mosely started at the point (and played pretty decently) in place of the psychologically battered Eric Hayes, and Cliff Tucker was benched entirely. Tucker and his mother are upset about it. But whatever. Want more PT, Cliff?  Stop scoring three points a game and yucking it up on the bench during losses.

I don’t know if any of these moves are a long-term solution, but it was good to see Gary doing something to spark the troops. At least for one day, it worked. But the Terps still have a long, rugged, twisting, turning, hellaciously steep path back into the light. No rest for the weary, either:  Carolina’s up tomorrow night.  Get the chicken soup ready.




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