Maryland - Charlotte Game Thread

1/5/2008 12:38:20 PM 7:00 left in the first half:

It's a wonderful Saturday morning in Chicago as the dulcet tones of Johnny Holliday emanate throughout the Turtle Soup Palace. I'm listening to Mr. Holliday of course because Comcast steadfastly refuses to add ESPNU to its compliment of services. I can't rationally discuss this without wanting to injure someone. Can we all agree to stop referring to the Terps home court as the Comcast Center? From now on, I say we call the place the "Worst Cable Service Provider Ever Arena".

There are about seven minutes left in the first half and Maryland is up five points with a Vasquez FT coming up on the back side of the break. The starters have, for the most part, played extremely well. Gist is getting his share of looks and the guards are doing a good job of finding the open man. Vasquez is asserting himself in the half court and has hit some big shots.

The bench has been shaky, particularly Walker and Bowie. Fouls, missed FTs, and turnovers. Our bench is almost exclusively freshman, so this is to be expected on the road.

The Charlotte crowd has been loud, creating a good road test for Maryland. The early results have been positive. I am cautiously optimistic.

Halftime:

Maryland leads 40-25. What a wonderful performance! Vasquez sparked a 12-0 run and Marylandstretched its lead to 15 points at its apex. Grevis has been masterful. He hit threes, scored in the lane, and found the open man. But the key to the lead has been the defense. Charlotte is shooting 32% in the first half. Maryland is going to win games on the road with its defense. That is the only way it will happen. The first half today is the blueprint.

Gary has to be absolutely thrilled with what he has seen in the first 20 minutes. The Terps have played unselfishly and have clearly figured out how to play together. There are still 20 minutes to go, but maybe, just maybe, the Terps will prove my last post prophetic. Team chemistry is hard to define, but it is easy to see (or hear for the matter). Maryland's last two and half games have revealed a team that has good chemistry. Perhaps the corner has been turned. We are on the road to relevance!

11:30 left in the second half

Thus far, our boys are holding serve. They surged to a 20 point lead but have given back a little over the last two minutes. The Terps are shooting over 50% from the field and with the way they play defense; that is a recipe that will almost always result in a win. At this point, I am satisfied with keeping the lead over 10 points. Gary will make sure the boys don't let up.

7:52 left

Disaster! Charlotte has cut the lead to 7. Maryland has taken bad shots, missed FTs, and turned the ball over, and as result Charlotte is right back in it. The Terps can't let this slip away. They need to hold on.

3;53 left

After the lead got cut to three, Gist and Vasquez scored to give us a 6 point cushion. This is too close. Giving up a big lead like this takes away from what we did in the first 30 minutes.

Final - Maryland 76, Charlotte 72

They held on. Barely. It is a huge win. Certainly, it's hard to feel comfortable about this team after listening to the last 10 minutes; but they won on the road and that it is all that matters. Hopefully, Gary can use the failures of the last 10 minutes to prepare for the tough ACC games ahead. Holy Cross is up next followed by the first road test at Virginia Tech. If the Terps can pick up those games, the season can be salvaged.

Gist and Vasquez carried the Terps today. That's the winning formula. If those guys can provide the offense, then the rest of the team can fill in the gaps and play the roles that suit them. The bottom line: I'm excited about Maryland basketball again. Yeah, baby!
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