Posts Tagged ‘Georgia Tech

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)

12
Jan
09

the other side: we don’t need them anyway

If they don’t believe in us, they can get the hell out. We don’t need them anyway. We need the people who will support us, who are with us. I know they are all happy now, but they didn’t believe in us when we were down.

-Greivis Vasquez as quoted in the Washington Post

Greivis Vasquez was wrong to tell the student section to “Shut the fuck up” during the game this Saturday against Georgia Tech. He’s going to apologize. Gary Williams will apologize.  Deborah Yow will apologize. The Terps will get out of Dodge and head down to Miami.  Vasquez will inevitably get taunted by Hurricanes fans shushing him every time he gets the ball.  He’ll pay the price for what he said.  It will all come to an end the next time he puts the team on his shoulders and wins a game, which will come sometime in the next week or so.

My recollection of the “booing” at the game this Saturday differs a bit from my colleague MASH’s recollection.  I remember that it persisted through most of the game, and was at times loud enough to get our attention.  We discussed it during the second half, and I said, “It’s a shame that our fans are booing their own team at home.  We used to boo the visitors, but never the Terps.”  I also remember that most of the boos were directed at Vasquez.

In the D.C. Sports Blog, Dan Steinberg reminds us that the D.C. area is notorious for its fair-weather fans.  I couldn’t agree with him more.  The Comcast Center was 2/3 full for the ACC opener!  Where was everyone?!  One bad loss to Morgan State and everybody jumped ship on the Terps. It’s hard enough to have a winning season in the ACC, but its impossible to do it if you don’t have a home court advantage.

I’m not making excuses for what Vasquez said to the fans during the game, but his post-game comments were well placed. The Terps don’t need fans that cheer when the team is ahead and boo when it’s down.  The oddest aspect of the D.C. fair-weather fan phenomenon is that the fans tend to have the greatest amount of disdain for the best players.

If you want to point out that Vasquez’s greatest flaws are that he turns the ball over too often and at times exhibits poor shot selection, then you must acknowledge that these flaws are a result of the fact that he has the ball in his hands more than anyone else on the team, and this is because he is the best player on the floor.  He receives more defensive pressure than anyone else, and is expected to create his own shots.  Yet, Vasquez still leads the team in points, rebounds, and assists, and has a two-to-one Ast/TO ratio!  What more do you want from the guy?

If you’re a Maryland fan and you’re watching the game at home, feel free to boo Vasquez all you want. If you go to Comcast Center for a game and you want the Terps to win, then please don’t boo their best player for missing a few shots. The Comcast Center should be a place where the home team is loose and the visitors feel pressure from a hostile crowd.  Somehow, some of the fans forgot who they were rooting for.

I’m with Greivis Vasquez, the Terps don’t need fair-weather fans at Comcast Center.

11
Jan
09

the lights came on in college park

I would like to forget that I was at the Comcast Center for the first half of this Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech.  The first half of that game was one of the worst displays of the fundamentals of basketball that I have ever seen at the college level.  I felt as though the Yellow Jackets were intentionally trying to give Maryland as many possessions as possible by committing egregious traveling violations and throwing-up terrible shots.  To return the favor, the Terrapins seemed to refuse to run a single offensive set.  Many trips down the floor ended before they began, with Dave Neal tossing errant three pointers at the backboard, Greivis Vasquez flying through the air with elbows and feet flailing about, and Adrian Bowie hiding somewhere in the corner.  The game continued in this pathetic fashion clear through half time and most of the second half.  Georgia Tech gradually extended their lead to 10 points, and the game looked like it was getting away from the Terps.

Then, at about the nine minute mark in the second half, a switch flipped inside Eric Hayes.  Just a couple mintues beforehand, Sean Mosely curled around a high screen to recieve a pass that sailed past him and into the first row.  Gary Williams responded by calling a time out and doing “a Gary Williams”.

I’m sure somebody out there in the blogosphere has coined that phrase already, but if not, “a Gary Williams” means, of course, calling a time out for the purpose of having a conniption fit on the sideline.  Now, I’ve noticed a trend in the team’s response to a Gary Williams.  During the glory days of Joe Smith, Keith Booth, and Juan Dixon, Gary would call time out whenever momentum shifted to the other team.  He’d pull a Gary Williams and suddenly the Terps would step on the floor with a collective purpose and sense of determination.  But somewhere around John Gilchrist’s junior season, pulling a Gary Williams seemed to be losing its affect.  Then Greivis Vasquez took over as floor general, and for some reason he seemed to be exempted from the rants, shuffling side-to-side and looking up at the scoreboard as the other players were subjected to Gary’s verbal assaults.  Now, the players would respond to a Gary Williams with smirks and sideways glances.  They were on to his game and didn’t want to play it.

Back to the actual game.  Gary Williams calls a timeout to lose his cool about the Mosely turnover.  I was watching the huddle, and I noticed that Eric Hayes was outside the circle.  He wasn’t just ignoring the rant, but was actively distancing himself from the coach.  This is a tell that Gary Williams has lost Eric Hayes.  I imagine that Hayes has had enough of these rants, and thinks to himself, “I know how to run this offense don’t need to hear this crap.”  Earlier in the game my co-blogger, M.A.S.H., and I had been discussing the fact that Hayes seemed to have totally lost his ability to run the offense.  We agreed that he was not the point guard we thought he was two years ago.  He was not nearly Steve Blake II, and may not be talented enough to keep-up with Williams’s up full court system. Terps fans are quick to pin the fate of the team on the highs and lows of Vasquez, but I’ve always felt that the Williams system is only as good as its point guard play.  If Hayes was lost, the team was lost, and we might as well call it a season.

Where was this guy?

Where was this guy?

But just when I thought Hayes might walk off the court and down to the Cornerstone for a beer, a curious thing happened.  The lights went on, and Eric Hayes awoke.

In a two minute span, Hayes led the Terps to in a flurry of fast breaks, threes, and layups that enabled the Terps to erase the 10 point deficit and grab a 53-52 lead.  For the rest of the game, Hayes steadied the team as they continually traded the lead with the Jackets.  He suddenly looked like a different player.  He looked like the point guard we thought he was in 2006 when he came in as a freshman with smooth ball handling and a sweet stroke.  He looked like the point guard that the Terps have been missing since Blake went to the NBA.

I know Georgia Tech is arguably the worst team in the ACC, and I know it’s sad that we needed a big run to beat them at home.  Forget the first half.  Forget the first 11  minutes of the second half.  Just remember that, with nine minutes left in this game, a the lights went on inside Eric Hayes.  If he can move, shoot, and defend with the confidence he displayed at the end of this game, Maryland might just make a season out of it.  The Williams system requires a high level of play out of its point guard in order to capitalize in transition and hit the back doors and slashes.  If Hayes can step-up his game, then this system will succeed.

2009 might be a good year afterall.

P.S. The Washington Post reported that Vasquez was telling critical Maryland students to “shut up” during the course of the game. From where I was sitting I could not hear Vasquez, but he did confirm the Post’s report and offered an explanation after the game.  Reactions to his comments have been swift and largely damning.  This is the kind of incident that can snowball out of control, and I fear that it will derail any progress the Terps made during this game.  Let’s hope that is not the case.

05
Jan
09

men’s basketball readies itself for georgia tech *er* morgan state

Maryland has succeeded in winning enough games in its pre-conference play schedule to be in a position to make the tournament at the end of the year.  Their 11-2 record puts them in sixth in the ACC.  They have done well enough to get into the “Others Receiving Votes” category in the national polls.  Despite their tendency to start slow, the team is playing more consistently now than they were at the start of the year.  By most accounts, the team’s pre-ACC run has been a success, and they should be well prepared to start the conference schedule against Georgia Tech this Saturday.

Wait, what did you say?  There is still one more game left before the GT game?  Who are we playing?  Ah yes, I see it right here on the schedule – Morgan State is coming to town on Wednesday.  We wouldn’t want to overlook the Bears, now would we?  What would Gary Williams say?

In Morgan State, we’re playing a local team from Baltimore that has already beaten a Big East team in DePaul, and it’s a game that can be a little tough for us because we do go into the ACC play with Georgia Tech right after the game, so we’re really trying to focus on Morgan State because they’re a pretty talented basketball team.

Morgan State is led by junior guard Reggie Holmes.  Holmes dropped 29 in a win over DePaul a few weeks ago.  The key to stopping the Bears is to contain Holmes.  What I’d like to see in this game is for Maryland to jump all over them in the first half, especially on the boards, and never let their foot off the gas.  The Morgan State game will be a bellwether for how we play Saturday against GT.  If the team is sharp, the press is tight, and the jumpers are falling, then the Terps will be in game shape for the ACC.  If they look like a team that spent the holidays eating and partying, then we’re going to have problems against GT.  I hope the Terps are hungry.




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