The Maryland Terrapins spent the last two days playing quality opponents in the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament. The Terps lost both of their games, but to ranked opponents. The Terps lost to #4 Pitt 79-70 on Thursday, and lost to #16 Illinois 80-76 on Friday. Although the Terps went 0-2 in the tournament, there were definitely some bright spots to take away from it.
This team has potential. Both of these games could have and arguably should have been won by the Terps. Had it not been for an awful 14-30 from the free throw line against Pitt, the Terps could have knocked off one of the best teams in the nation. What made the loss to Pitt so promising is that Pitt returned its entire starting lineup from last year, where as Maryland lost its top three scorers from a year ago. Even with this lack of experience handling the ball for the Terps they limited their turnovers to eight, while Pitt turned it over 16 times.
Another bright spot has got to be Sean Mosley. Bob Knight was loving him on the broadcast and for good reason. Prior to the games at MSG Mosley had a combined three points in the Terps last two games. Against Pitt Mosley had 7, and against Illinois he seemed to find his groove and scored 14. His confidence seemed to be way up, and he was knocking down the mid-range jumper with ease.
If Jordan Williams can stay out of foul trouble he is primed for a very successful season. Multiple times through the two games Williams would snatch rebounds with such tenacity that you could hear the slap of the ball on TV. Williams was charged with two quick fouls causing him to sit out much of the first half in both games, but seemed to play smarter in the second half of both. Williams only had 6 of his 14 against Pitt in the first half. and scored all 15 of his points in the second half of the Illinois game.
The two freshman guards played a solid amount and maybe threw up a few too many shots but could be solid players if they listen to Gary Williams. Stoglin had 17 against Illinois and nine against Pitt and looks like he could be a real scorer.
Dino Gregory looks solid on defense and is heating up from mid-range. Gregory had four blocks against Pitt and another two against Illinois. Gregory had 10 and 10 against Illinois, and is filling the power forward roll well for the Terps right now. Padgett may take over at some point, but at MSG Gregory looked like the much better player, and the senior that he is.
What all of this means is that the Terps are going to be better than most predictions had them, as Gary Williams will work his magic once again. They looked a lot better this year in New York than they did last year in Maui, and look how close they got to the Final Four last year.
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