Maryland hadn't played in 10 days, but you couldn't tell from the final score. After a first half filled with up and down runs and hot shooting, Maryland pulled away in the second half on the strength of 27 points, 11 assists, and 8 reounds from Greivis Vasquez to beat Winston-Salem State, 98-55. Vasquez, for those not great at math, was just two rebounds away from Maryland's 4th triple double ever.
WSS - who was given a 0% chance of victory by KenPom - was more resilient than I expected them to be, at least in the first half. With just a few minutes to go in the first, it was a three point game. Somewhat shockingly, WSS was actually winning the rebounding battle after the first, too. But Maryland went on an 8-0 run with a torrent of Cliff Tucker threes to close the half and quickly ironed out the minor issues during the break. When they came back in the second half, the blowout was on.
I mentioned the scary negative - rebounding - and it does need to be addressed, heavily. That said, this was a very one-sided game once the lead got up to double-digits. No single player looked bad, either. Everyone, from Greivis Vasquez to Jordan Williams, was pretty good. Once Gary got in their ear about rebounding, they fixed up the rebounding, too. I don't think you can complain about this performance at all.
The two players that most stood out to me were the aforementioned Tucker and Adrian Bowie, who combined for 22 points. Bowie showed off a jumper that was literally nonexistent a week and a half ago, and his court vision and point guard skills looked better than ever. If he can play like this the rest of the year, I won't be freaking out about the PG spot next year. Tucker looked like he did against North Carolina last year: awesome on offense with a great stroke.
Greivis Vasquez had his best performance of the year, by far. I'm not sure how much we can take away from it - WSS is legitimately awful - but the hope is that it got his swagger back. If it did, he'll be back to his old self again, meaning his form should be on its way back.
As most people feared going into the game, there's not much to take away from this game other than Maryland could use a little bit of shoring up on the rebounding end. They were rusty, so we don't know how much of the slow start can be attributed to that, and Winston-Salem State is awful, so we don't know how much of the good can be attributed to that. It's a tough spot to be in.
Jordan Williams didn't see much PT until the second half, but he looked pretty good in his time. He ended up with 12 points and 8 boards in just 18 minutes. Maryland definitely looked a better team when he was on the floor. Hopefully this will lead to him getting some meaningful playing time again. James Padgett, on the other hand, was quiet and saw little playing time, even though Maryland was blowing them out with 10+ minutes. Dino Gregory had to get 4 fouls for Padge to even get on the floor in the second half.
Notable absence: Jin Soo Choi. No word on why he only played about 2 minutes at the very end of the game. Probably a Cliff Tucker "missed practice" deal. I would've expected him to get a lot more PT with the lead that big.
In the end, I'm not sure how much Gary and the crew can take out of it, but it was a good, easy win. Nothing like a little low-major fodder for a confidence booster.