Terrapins Collapse in Second Half, Fall to Boston College
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Sitting on his haunches, Gary Williams straddled the line between the court and bench area last night at Comcast Center. After a tumultuous day off the court, he kept his focus on the court, where precise passes and defensive intensity help separate success from failure. He stood, hands on his hips at times, running through his gray hair at others. He paced back and forth.
Had he glanced up with less than a minute remaining, he would have seen a mass exodus out of the arena that his program's success helped build. Many fans opted not to wait until the end of Boston College's 76-67 victory, the Terrapins' fourth loss in their past five games.
"By now it's become a trend: In front of our bench we play pretty good defense," Williams said. "When the team goes the other way, when our defense is away from us in the second half, we don't play as good of defense. We've got to put a stop to that. We have to figure out why that takes place and go from there."
The problems last night were painfully apparent for a Terrapins squad whose season is unraveling quickly, mainly because they are the same problems that have been present all along. Once again, Williams noted lack of aggressiveness as the key culprit responsible for his team's demise.
That the Terrapins were outscored by 20 points in the second half made Williams's point clear. Solutions, though, were more evasive.
"I really don't know," Williams said. "If I knew, it wouldn't happen. If I could find a way to fix it . . . "
Then he paused. This scene had played out many times before. And still, he was at a loss for suitable explanations, so he changed course ever so slightly.
"We just, you know, the one thing defense always gives you is a way to stop the other team, if you're a good defensive team, and we are for 20 minutes usually," he said. "I really wish I knew the answer to that. I don't, but we're going to work on it. It's one of those things that we have to find a way to make that happen."
Many of Williams's players shared his distress. A distant, distraught look appeared on nearly all of their faces. How do you force aggressiveness? How do you fix a problem when you don't know its origin?
"You know what, man? I really don't know anything," said junior guard Greivis Vasquez, who scored 18 points on 7-of-20 shooting. "I'm trying to forget about that game just now because I don't want that to affect me anymore."
Sophomore guard Adrian Bowie, the team's most consistent performer of late, offered a less vague response, though it took some prodding.
"We just got to stay aggressive for all 40 minutes," Bowie said.