If you are a Maryland fan you have to be thrilled about this win. Maryland was picked by many prognosticators to take this game with the way they played in the ACC tournament. Four players (Vasquez, Bowie, Hayes, and Neal) had at least 14 points, and the Terps were lights out in the second half, raising their field goal percentage from 37-49% from halftime to the final buzzer. Greivis Vasquez was a man possessed, racking up 27 points and 7 rebounds along with countless pressure-induced steals late in the game.
However, California did little to help themselves. They shot an abysmal 29% from three point land, 14% below their season average of 43%, highest in the nation. Many Terps fans will chalk this up to Maryland’s stout zone defense, but throughout the game the Bears had some great looks at the basket but they just went completely cold. Additionally, this is not a team that has had to rely on their inside game and as such, they didn’t make nearly as big of an impact in the paint as they could have against this undersized Maryland lineup. Despite all of this, Maryland took the Cal game plan and completely turned it on its head. Once Cal lost its composure and confidence in its outside shot, the Terps were able to eliminate the only other offensive options for the Golden Bears.
The key factor in this ballgame was Gary Williams’ coaching. He did an amazing job in planning for this game and taking the opponent out of their element entirely. For all their deficiencies in size, this team will never be out-worked or out-coached. A lot of focus will be given to Vasquez, and deservedly so, but this was one of Coach Williams’ better games this season (and that is saying something). Now Maryland will go on to face Memphis, which struggled early against Cal State- Northridge before pulling away late, likely indicative of simply overlooking their opponent and sleeping on the low seeded Matadors. They won’t be sleeping on the Terps, but we will save that for another day.
I think this game deserves an MVP/LVP:
MVP: How could it be anyone other than Greivis Vasquez? He makes this team function; without him this team gets outscored by anyone. However, I will give it to someone else just for variety. Dave Neal was a presence inside, and as I cited during the game, he was everywhere on the court. He kept Cal from taking over inside and even racked up a steal to complement his 15 points and 4 rebounds. His performance isn’t huge in the stat line, but the lone senior is playing all-out to have just one more game.
LVP: This is hard, but I have to give it to Sean Mosley. He disappeared early in the game by racking up 3 careless fouls and going 1-4 in his field goal attempts. He had 2 assists to 1 turnover, but he just wasn’t a factor when the rest of his compatriots were stepping up their games.