As some of you know, I cover some of the Maryland games as a reporter for DC Sports Box. When I do so, it allows me to not only attend the game and write a recap, but to also attend Gary's post game press conference, ask him questions and also talk to some of the players following the game. Since that is coverage that we don't normally have access to here at Testuo Times and since you can often learn a lot about a game by talking to the coaches and players after it happens, often times finding out details that you wouldn't otherwise know about by watching or just attending the game. Thus, to help provide more analysis to these games when I cover them, I'm going to try to do a new feature that I'm calling "Beyond the Box Score." In these posts, I'll try to provide a few additional details from the game that I think several fans might be interested in and try to ask questions that people would like answered. For example, in this inaugural post, I'll tell you why Howard and Tucker started; Jordan's thoughts on the double-double streak; Gary's take on the game; and discuss an NBA team that was scouting Jordan Williams among others. Check out the details after the jump.
- Gary started Howard over Stoglin because Stoglin was late to a team "thing" (Gary's words, not mine), so that's why you saw that change. Tucker started over Bowie because Gary thought Tucker's size matched up better against Delaney, which I think makes sense.
- Gary attributed the loss last night to a lack of effort by his team. He noted in the post game press conference that there are different types of losses and the one last night was inexcusable and very different from the other games they lost earlier in the season.
- Maryland needs to find a way to solve the 2-3 zone defense. Villanova used the 2-3 zone in the second half of the game on Saturday to shut down Jordan Williams and Tech used it last night to achieve the same result. When the offense doesn't flow through Jordan, it seems this team is going to struggle. Maryland had plenty of open looks last night, but simply couldn't convert, especially Dino, Mosley and Howard, who combined to go just 3-19 from the field. Yikes. The Terps only converted 8 of their 28 shots in the 2nd half. Several times Padgett and Dino got the ball in the pain within five feet of the basket and opted to dish the ball back outside, which I just couldn't understand.
- Jordan Williams didn't score until fifteen minutes into the 1st half, which ended up being his only bucket in the first twenty minutes.
- Maryland started off the game by missing their first five shots and turning the ball over two times, where as Virginia Tech converted their first four shots and built a quick 12 point lead in the first 4 minutes of the game. It seemed Maryland just couldn't get out and run and received very few fast break opportunities, which allowed Tech to consistently set up their defense. On the flip side, Maryland seemed unable to stop Tech while they were on defense, repeatedly allowing Tech to score seemingly easy baskets, often times as the shot clock was winding down. Every time Maryland went on a run, it seemed Virginia Tech instantly answered, even if the Terps gave a great defensive effort.
- I sat next to two NBA scouts from the New Jersey Nets last night, one of which was Bob Ferry, the former center for the Baltimore Bullets in the mid to late 60s. He was scouting Delaney and Jordan, primarily, so while I believe Jordan will be here at least one and hopefully two more years, don't think that he's not getting noticed by NBA teams already. They really liked Jordan's free throw form and, like the rest of us, are baffled as to why he's struggled this year. I think they were also looking at Tucker and Dino, since they're both seniors, but they couldn't understand why Dino kept passing the ball out when he got it inside the paint and could take a shot. I think they were also impressed with Tucker's 11 point outburst in 1.5 minutes. Maybe they see him as a guy who could come off the bench and give a team some quick offense? Not sure, but I thought it was interesting nonetheless.
- Last night's loss was the 2nd ACC game Maryland has dropped at home this season after going undefeated in ACC play at home last year. If Maryland is able to rebound from last night's loss, that game against Boston College is going to haunt them, especially on selection Sunday.
- Nick Faust was at the game and I was happy to see the student section recognize him and give him a nice ovation. Everyone who say Nick in the building really wished he could suit up and play last night. It looked like he was with some other recruits, but they could have just been friends of his for all I know.
- Lost in this miserable game was the performance of James Padgett. While Dino struggled, Padgett stepped up his game and played maybe one of his best games as a Terp, going 3-5 from the field, 2-3 at the line and grabbing a board in just 15 minutes of play. If James could put up those type of numbers on a nightly basis, with Dino also performing up to the level he had been coming into last night's game, that would be big for Maryland going down the stretch.
- When asked about tying Len Elmore's double-double streak after the game, Jordan Williams gave an answer that I think will make Terps fans happy to hear - he doesn't care about individual statistics, especially after a loss."I'm not worried about my individual stats. If I tied the record, that's good to know, but we lost the game, you know?" Not only is Jordan a great player, he also has a good head on his shoulders. Further proof can be found in this quote after the game - "It's a tough loss. Any loss is tough in the ACC. But we're not going to let it effect our whole season. It's just one game. We have to learn from it and move on. We have a game on Saturday."
- Another thing that many people might quickly forget about this game was the performance of Cliff Tucker. This game pretty much summed up Tucker's career. He scored just 2 points in the first thirty minutes of the game and then exploded for 11 points in 1.5 minutes, and then went scoreless again for the remainder of the game. He seems to catch fire sometimes but as fast as the hot streak appears, it vanishes. If you're a fan of the Orioles, I'd compare Tucker to Luke Scott, who seems to go on ridiculous streaks where he bats .500 for a stretch but then stumbles into a slump where it appears as if he couldn't hit a baseball off of a tee. If Tucker could just find consistency for 20+ minutes a game, he'd help this team immensely.
- Finally, I want to touch on Jeff Allen. I couldn't believe that he didn't get a technical after what he did to Jordan when he dove in after Jordan had gone to the floor to grab a loose ball and seemingly dove onto of him and knocked his head onto the court. Everyone said he's matured after he flipped off the Comcast Center crowd last time he played there, but what he did towards the end of the game was moronic, immature, and didn't go unnoticed by the scouts at the game.
Overall, a tough, tough loss. Maryland was some how able to get back into this game after Tucker's point explosion, but they just couldn't get over the hump, which has been the achilles' heal of this team all season. Maryland has a short turnaround (36 hours) before their next game, which is Saturday at home against Clemson. The Tigers last played on Tuesday, where they suffered a 10 point loss on the road against UNC. Hopefully Maryland can bounce back against the Tigers. If they drop that game, which would be their 3rd ACC home loss of the season, things could take an ugly turn for this team. As it stands, I think Maryland needs to win 10 of their 12 remaining ACC games if they want to have a shot at going to the big dance. If they can win 10 ACC games, I think they'll also need to do some serious work in the ACC Tournament if they want to be considered for an at large bid. They also need a marque win, with only a handful of opportunities remaining.