This is ACC basketball at its finest. Yes, Maryland lost, which sucks, but it's ACC basketball. They'll get a win on a game like this, too. This game wasn't supposed to be this close - Wake needed 45 minutes to get the win, and that was better than expected. In the end, it was a number of things that did Maryland in, but it's better to be there than not.
This game was a display of Gary Williams' teams' traditional persistence. Wake Forest, for most of the game, outplayed Maryland and held a lead since mid-way through the first quarter. Never, never did Maryland get out of the game, through nothing but their own will for most of it. In the end, against the odds, they had a shot to win it. They didn't convert, the game went on for another five minutes, and they didn't have the time to make it happen.
Greivis Vasquez was, for the most part, good again and extended his streak of 20+ point games - now up to 7 - but he wasn't quite as impressive as he was against FSU. A little more inconsistent, a few more turnovers, and his free throw shooting was surprisingly off. Toward the end of the first half and early second, he was really forcing some plays and it hurt. On Maryland's final three possessions, he took three bad threes, and that really sunk their hopes at the end. He needs to make more out of those situations than chucking up bad threes, because it takes Maryland - and his teammates - out of the game. He's at his best driving and occasionally kicking - no reason for him not to do that there.
One of the biggest problems, on the other hand, was the lack of any player other than Vasquez as a consistent offensive threat. Eric Hayes was ignored for much of the game. Landon Milbourne was as quiet as can be; matching up with Al-Farouq Aminu proved difficult for him on both ends of the floor. Both showed up late, but having them take pressure of Vasquez earlier might've kept this from an extra period.
Vasquez is good, but not that good. Maryland won't win a lot of games when Vasquez is as alone as he was today.
On a happier note, Eric Hayes got his 1000th career point today, and I couldn't have thought of a better way for it to happen. He scraped past the century mark for his career with a clutch 3 that gave Maryland a 2 point lead with less than two minutes to go. Hayes has always been understated, but the way he reached 1000 was not. Congrats to him on a great career.
Jordan Williams was moderately effective offensively and defensively, sometimes great and sometimes average. And, oh yeah, he dunked. Twice. That was the dunk barrier for JWill; hopefully he keeps it up. Unfortunately, he was average at best on the boards, and the lankier, higher jumping Deacs grabbed boards at will. Dino Gregory, for the first time against a big opponent, outperformed Jordan. That will need to improve. Everything else is already in place.
There were too many problems to touch on here, but two of the ones that really stuck out were defensive rebounding and defending the fast break. Wake torched MD in both of the categories: it wasn't a rare sight for Wake to get multiple opportunities to shoot (generally caused by a weak zone) or get easy points on the break. Both need to be worked on. (Oh, and free throw shooting. That was baaaad.)
Sean Mosley was quiet offensively in a game when Maryland really needed him, but he ended up with an absurd amount of rebounds and loose balls. He has the offensive ability, though the quiet performance hurt. Few players in the ACC hustle the way he does, and that's a positive. The question is whether or not he can take the big shot to win a game; he was very timid today with the ball despite being unbelievably effective in grabbing rebounds.
I would like to extend a welcome-back to Anthony...er, Adrian Bowie, who burst on the scene with 10 points and 3 steals. He doesn't need 10 every game, but performances like this off the bench are a necessity in ACC play.
Can't win 'em all. Given the circumstances - (somewhat) hostile crowd, on the road, quick restart, against a good team, refs far from hospitable - it's not an unacceptable performance nor an unacceptable result. It sucks, but it's better than laying an egg. Feel free to discuss.