The Terps sure do like to make things interesting. They were coming off two nail-biting road losses: one with Miami (62-60) and the other with Florida State (76-73 OT). After getting off to smashing start while hosting Virginia Tuesday and building the lead up by 17 in the first half, they nearly gave it away in the second. However, they managed to regroup and prevail 84-78, landing their 400th Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) win. This puts the Terps flush at 2-2 in conference play and 13-5 overall.
Is this becoming a theme? Blowing 17-point leads like they did in Miami… This is what happens when you only drop one basket in the seven minutes starting the second half. The Cavaliers capitalized and were able to bring the score to 52-47 with 12 minutes left. With more than 4 minutes left, the lead dwindled to 65-63. Then enters senior forward David Neil. Neil who was injured (cut and bleeding-face) earlier in the game, insisted on getting back on the court.
Head coach Gary Williams noted in the press conference following the game that Neil’s persistence and getting back into the game seemed to be a jolt for his teammates. In fact, it helped pump Williams up too.
From there the Terps did their thing, they connected on eight free-throws within the final minute of the game to hold on. Sophomore guard Adrian Bowie and junior forward Landon Milbourne each knocked in 17 points apiece to lead the Terrapins.
Greives Vasquez had 16-points saying, “I still need to find myself on the court, but as a team, it was a great effort. It’s a great win. We sustained a lead. We got the lead and [Virginia] never took it away, but every ACC game is wild.”
In spite of the road-losses, Maryland is on a good run.. 8-2 in its last 10 outings, including a win over nationally ranked Michigan (minus Morgan).
After the game, Williams seemed genuinely proud of how his boys held on and how they prepared with limited time since losing to Miami and Florida. There is still need for improvement and Williams knows this. “We just have to keep up our toughness and keep getting better,” he said.
Williams also remarked that he likes coaching these boys. Certainly seemed like someone was in a good mood.
Photo: Official Maryland Athletics site.
***The Terps will square off against home-dog Duke Saturday at noon (ESPN).