Huge Victory, But We Need Another

2/5/2010 12:30:49 PM Sorry for the delay in a write-up. I figured Jeremy would be chomping at the bit to praise the boys for last night's gutsy win, but his work schedule is too much, and I have Friday's off, so there you go. You all get another post game write up from me. I know, contain your excitement.

So here we go. From reading the posts as the game was going on, I know most of you were with me sweating, living, and dying with every possession in the 2nd half. I have loved reading the breakdowns of the game and the performances of certain players and all made great points. Here is how I saw the game.

This was truly a gut check game. The Terps of the past few years did not win games like this, especially on the road. We had our moments in the past 2 years, like beating UNC a couple of times, but in most close games, we were not able to pull out a win. That is what concerned me after Sunday's loss to Clemson. However, that is what made last night such a big win. Yes, it was a road victory and yes, we got a sweep of FSU and it helps our RPI, but this senior-laden team had to experience a close win like this to take that next step.

Like I have in previous game write-ups, let's go down the line and talk about each player.

Vasquez - I still don't like when he drives into the lane and tries to make a tough pass amongst the trees when he is only 5 feet from the basket. However, if a couple of plays like that are my only problem, then GV played very well. He took some bad shots, but that's him. He will do that, but for the most part, he did what your best player had to do and that's run the offense and hit big shots when you needed them. He is almost impossible to stop when he drives and hits those runners off the glass. Those final 2 buckets in the last couple of minutes were huge. He ended up with 23, 7 reb, and 7 assists. Very good performance with a bunch of morons yelling offensive things all night. He kept his cool and led the team.

Eric Hayes - The broadcasters had it right when they said the 'old' Eric Hayes would not have driven to the basket after missing 2 wide open 3's early in the game. He has built confidence in himself and that allowed him to get hot in the 2nd half and hit 2 big time 3's, plus calmly drilling 2 free throws in the final minutes.

Sean Mosley - You didn't see much from Mosley in this one on the offensive end and we'll need him to help out in that department come Sunday, but he grabbed 4 rebounds, had 3 assists and 2 steals and played pretty good defense as Singleton shot 1-7 and was in foul trouble most of the 2nd half. He is more valuable than stats say.

Landon Milbourne - He was back after a no-show on Sunday. Milbourne may not be able to hit a layup, but he is drilling those mid-range jumpers with so much confidence. His offensive rebound with the game tied late was perhaps the biggest play of the year. FSU had all the momentum, and no doubt would have probably taken the lead, but Milbourne flew in there and kept us alive. He was pretty damn good in this one and hopefully that carries over till Sunday.

Jordan Williams - Wow. This guy is a freshman. Let nobody give Gary any crap for recruiting after bringing this guy in. He has truly been the reason we are 5-2 in the conference right now. His ability to defend bigger men has allowed our defense to play like one of the best in the country. Like with our team in general, his offense may still be a little inconsistent, but when you play defense (and rebound) like that you will always have a chance to win. JW dunking the ball with confidence shows another step for a guy who will be a superstar very soon.

Dino Gregory - Who knew this guy was shooting so well from the line!! It would be nice for him to be more aggressive and get to the line instead of settling for those short jumpers, but this game will always be remembered for 'The Charge'. You usually do not get calls like that on the road, but give those officials credit. They made the gutsy call and it was correct. Dino could have gone for a block or something, but he took one for the team. Look, Dino plays because of his defense. He is not your starter and that's perfect. I have no problem with Dino getting good minutes because he will rarely make a bad play on the defensive end.

Bench - Padgett got in there and looked a bit lost during his one minute, but any time in there helps his development. I don't have a problem in how Gary is giving out the minutes right now. Tucker did not play in the 2nd half (if memory serves). He has not shown the confidence in the past 2 games and Gary can probably get a feel on how he's going to play pretty quickly. Tucker has a mental issue that has plagued him for years now. When he gets going, he is great, but when he struggles, then tries to make up for hit with some ridiculous attempt at a steal that not only lets his man get a free drive to the basket, but also gets JW to commit a foul that could have been really costly, it's not right to have him out there. As for Bowie, he is really lost right now. He threw up 2 air balls and didn't pay attention to the defender with a wide open layup that also could have cost us the game. I do have a fear for next year, but if JW can come in and play well as a freshman, then perhaps one of next year's freshman can do it as well if Bowie and Tucker can not get the job done. The seniors will get the chance, I'm sure, but they will have to fend off the young guys.

Coaching - Last night was another example of Gary Williams out coaching his opponent. After another sloppy first half, he made the necessary adjustments and his players followed the plan. To slow the game down and use patience was a perfect foil for what FSU wanted to do. You aren't always going to get patience with college players, but for the most part they did what they were told and it worked.

So now we have a very dangerous opponent to look forward to. Carolina has been pretty bad in the past few weeks and they are ripe to get beat again. But they are a desperate team and we need to match that desperation or yesterday's win means nothing. To get through the first half of the league schedule at 6-2 would be so huge considering the tough games that are coming in the 2nd half. To beat UNC is essential and we will have the home crowd. Well, at least the students will be there. I know the weather will be an issue for the rest of the crowd, but it's really important that they don't take Carolina lightly and come out and jump all over those guys. The Tar Heels will have had a rough travel schedule and if we get an early lead, they just might quit. Keeping them in the game just gives them life and a hope they can pull one out in the end.

I am proud of last night and very much enjoyed reading about it and talking about it, but now that's in the past and UNC is waiting. Gotta get those guys too.
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