Wednesday, February 4, 2009

There's Still Some Fight in the Terrapins

When the Terrapins came into the Dean Dome last night, every college basketball fan in America could have told you what was about to happen: the Tar Heels were going to run them off the court and win handily. What they probably did not see coming was the amount of resilience and depth shown by these young players.

Yes, Maryland lost by 17 points and the game was not particularly close at any point in the second half, but watching the game there was something about the way Maryland played that was impressive. North Carolina hit 11-16 from three point range in the first half (16-25 overall), and had all of their shots falling, but the Terps rarely let themselves get rattled or demoralized. Instead of letting up after Carolina made a basket, Maryland took advantage of the fast break and exploited the press quickly. Maryland did commit some turnovers, but 16 on the road in Chapel Hill is not a bad number, particularly when North Carolina committed 16 of their own in that game. The Terrapins were able to shoot at 48% for the game, which was a product of excellent shot selection throughout, which is a divergence from previous games in which the Terps would put up bad shots when the momentum swung against them.

The most important thing to take away from last night's game is the play of Sean Mosley and Cliff Tucker. For one of the few times this year, Mosley seemed confident in his shot and played aggressive to the basket, finishing the game with a career high 19 points. For Mosley, the passion has been there all season on defense and on the boards, but he has often been too hesitant offensively to contribute like he's capable. As for Cliff Tucker, all I can say is 'Welcome Back'. Tucker played decent minutes last season and started strong this year, but has been relegated almost solely to the bench for the past month or so. However, with his breakout 18 point, 4 rebound, 4 assist game, Tucker has played himself back into the rotation. Tucker played with confidence I had never seen in him. His physical tools are too great to be stuck on the bench on a team like Maryland. I expect to see big things from him down the stretch this year.

Without a doubt North Carolina was by far the better team last night. They took control of the game and never let it go. But if we're going to criticize Maryland for packing it in early against Duke in their 40-point debacle, let's give Maryland some credit for refusing to blink against the superior Tar Heels. There were a couple of young players who came up big, and the team as a whole played with poise in the heat of failure and adversity. That's worth something in my book.

Programming note: Signing Day news and notes for Maryland Terrapin football will be up later today.

1 comment:

Brian Vuolo said...

First time to this site. It's good. Nice write up on the Terps against UNC. Maybe they can get going.

I know it's a different post, but I don't understand the Franklin hire either.