While this was never a must-win game for Maryland, it's obviously a big win. Now, the Terps have a little room for error; not a lot, mind you, but enough that if there's a close loss, they can still get into the tourney.
Gary and Greivis both talked about the "grittiness" and "toughness" of the team last night, and I think it was a big deal last night. NCSt never went away, and the entire second half I was expecting Maryland to deconstruct at some point. The teams the past few years would've done that. But they didn't. In fact, when I was sure it was going to happen, right after NCSt took the lead, Maryland went on a 9-0 run to take an 8 point lead.
Greivis had a huge game last night, again. If he plays like this the final two games, an All-ACC spot just may be in order. He had 33 points, including 21 in the second half, and completely carried the team through a few rough patches. He did get some help from Dave Neal and Cliff Tucker, but he was simply outstanding. Not only was his play great, but he played 38 of 40 minutes, quite an achievement in and of itself.
On a more negative note, Maryland lost the rebounding battle, and that was a big reason NCSt stayed in it as long as they did. It's evident how bad this needs a big man. Sure, the rebounding was better than it could've been, but it needs to improve.
I also found out that you can learn a lot about the team when you look at the minutes played. It's true, I suppose, that Gary sees the lineup not as who starts, but more of who finishes. Eric Hayes played 31 minutes off the bench. Dino Gregory played 22. Cliff Tucker played 20. Meanwhile, Adrian Bowie only played 19, Landon only played 19 (that was surprising, actually), and Sean Mosley played a measly 11. It's a bit shocking to see most of these numbers, and I'm left wondering why he doesn't just change the starting lineup to reflect these minutes (except for Landon; he's earned his spot). Also, Dave Neal played 37 minutes. I'm not sure he deserves 37, but if Maryland wins when does that, I'm okay with it.
Oh, one more thing: Greivis' final second three. It's sure to raise a lot of controversy, but Gary really didn't seem to mind too much. Greivis, for all his flamboyance and flair, isn't the kind of guy who would do something like that just to do it. He does respect his opponents, though at times you may forget that amid the jersey pops and chest bumps. He doesn't do that to show anyone up, though - he's simply showing his own passion. I'm going to assume the fans were giving him crap, and that was how he got back at them. I don't really have a problem with it, but I'll just pray we don't play NCSt in the first round of the tournament.