Maryland saw yet another slow start against an inferior opponent, but yet again overcame it with a strong finish to defeat Chaminade in the first round of the Maui Invitational and move to 4-0 on the year, 79-51. Maryland will move on to play Cincinnati and former recruiting fling Lance Stephenson tomorrow in the second round.
Greivis Vasquez matched his team's slow start, and continued his general poor play to start the year. Vasquez, who put up 9, is yet to score 10 in a game. Sean Mosley and Landon Milbourne took advantage of his absence, scoring 19 and 10, respectively. Cliff Tucker had a solid contribution off the bench with 7 points, and Eric Hayes was his usual steady rock of a guard - he won't get as much credit as he deserves for this game.
As ESPNU's commentators never let you forget, this was Chaminade's Final Four, so Maryland was guaranteed to get their best shot. It was definitely a closer call than it should've been, and Maryland's insistence on playing half-hearted defense and gravity's insistence on making shots rim out didn't help. Chaminade had a two point lead as late as 7:44 in the first half; that's obviously not acceptable. Still, Maryland soon outclassed the Silverswords; the talent difference was obvious in the second half.
The problem was the start. Maryland can make up a terrible shooting percentage pretty quickly against Chaminade; they won't be able to against Cincinnati, and especially not against Gonzaga. They need heavier doses of Greivis Vasquez, driving the lane, and fewer lower percentage shots - most of Maryland's misses early on were jumpers. Those should come later, once players are in the flow of the game. Hopefully this gave them enough of a scare to realize that.
As for the the daily report on the freshman bigs, well, Jordan Williams looked better than James Padgett again, except for one big problem: he refuses to dunk. The dude broke a backboard, so you know he can do, but he needs to start. He's missing out on and-ones, and missing a lot of chances inside. It's time to start slamming those home.
Otherwise, he looked good - he's getting more in shape by the day, and is inching ever closer to his first double-double (was just one point away). Padgett's coming along a bit more slowly. He still has work to do, but he also flashed some signs of brilliance, like a beautiful layup from Jin Soo Choi in garbage time. In fact, the later in the game it got, the better his play became.
We'll have a writeup on Cincy sometime tomorrow - they play tomorrow at 7 on ESPN.