By Eric Prisbell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Maryland unleashed an impressive dose of defensive energy against an inferior opponent last night, but Coach Gary Williams left Comcast Center pondering the many ways his Terrapins struggled in their final preseason tuneup.
The final score, a 75-42 rout of Concordia, did little to please Williams, who watched his young team lose the rebounding battle (42-39) against an undersize opponent and fail to look fluid offensively, particularly in the first half.
"You don't want to walk away happy," Williams said. "It is a false sense of security."
Maryland has plenty to work on before it opens the season Sunday against North Florida in the CBE Classic without James Gist and Landon Milbourne, starters who will serve a one-game suspension because they played in an unsanctioned basketball game in April. Gist and Milbourne played sparingly in the second half last night so Williams could get a better look at combinations he might use against North Florida.
Concordia, located in Montreal, had defeated Illinois, 86-82, in early September, but the Stingers could not handle Maryland's athleticism early in last night's game. Maryland held Concordia to four field goals in the first half and did not allow a point until nearly nine minutes had elapsed. During that nine-minute stretch, the Terrapins forced seven turnovers and blocked four shots. Performing his best impersonation of the departed D.J. Strawberry, sophomore Eric Hayes jumped into the passing lane to intercept the ball and raced the other way for a layup that gave the Terrapins a 12-0 lead.
"I think we did pretty well on defense," Maryland guard Greivis Vasquez said. "But we didn't play good on offense at all. I'm blaming myself. I'm a little mad at myself."
Hayes and Vasquez each scored a team-high 12 points, but no Maryland player shined offensively. Maryland made only 30.8 percent of its shots in the first half. The Terrapins missed several open shots, which disappointed Williams. "There are guys missing shots who made big-time shots for us last year," he said.
Williams said the development of the six freshmen is an ongoing process, but he liked the play of guard Adrian Bowie, who made 2 of 5 shots from the field and finished with nine points.