Looking ahead to Maryland

After scratching and clawing against top-rated foes this season, the Terrapins picked a horrid time to produce a clunker of a game.

The 74-57 home loss to Virginia Tech on Jan. 20 dropped Maryland to 11-7 overall and 1-3 in the ACC, including 0-2 at home in conference games. And with the ACC's well-documented woes this season, how many more chances does Maryland have to polish up its postseason resume?

"We can't let games like this get away," senior point guard Adrian Bowie said. "We have to come out harder and make things happen."

The good news is that Maryland doesn't have long to wait to make things happen again. Maryland hosts Clemson on Jan. 22, less than two days after the late Virginia Tech game was concluded.

Ironically, Maryland coach Gary Williams was complaining about that circumstance Jan. 19. He had changed his tune by the end of the Jan. 20 contest, the worst loss ever for his team in Comcast Center, and one in which Williams though his team came out cheap-pancake flat.

"It's a good thing that we play Saturday," he said. "I'm looking forward to it."

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
Maryland's perimeter shooting again was a culprit in a loss. The Terps shot 35.7 percent from the field against Virginia Tech, just 28.6 percent (8-for-28) in the second half.

Senior Cliff Tucker got hot from long distance to slice the 17-point lead to eight at one point with his three 3-pointers, but generally, Maryland was impotent against Tech's hustling 2-3 zone. The Terrapins were just 6-for-20 from 3-point range overall, continuing a disturbing trend.


Sophomore F Jordan Williams' 12.1 rebounds per game through Jan. 16 (the leading figure in the ACC) were the most for a Terrapin since Will Hetzel hauled down 12.2 during the 1968-69 season. (Getty Images)
Coming into the game, Maryland was 11th in the ACC and 234th nationally, connecting on just 32.6 percent of its shots behind the arc. Maryland's 4.2 3-pointers made per game were last in the league and 318th in the country.

Tucker, who was back in the starting lineup Jan. 20 for defensive reasons, helped that cause with his 13-point effort on 3-of-8 long-range shooting.

FRIDAY NOTES
* Virginia Tech harassed the Terrapins' tentative guards early and then settled back into a zone, pressure mounting on Maryland shooters as the Hokies surrounded big man Jordan Williams in the paint. The Terps couldn't respond, though Cliff Tucker got hot for a span in the second half. Tucker was 4-for-10 from the field and Adrian Bowie was 4-for-8, but Sean Mosley and freshmen Terrell Stoglin and Pe'Shon Howard combined to hit just three of 16 shots.

* The 17-point loss to Virginia Tech (74-57) was the largest setback ever for Maryland at home in Comcast Center since the building opened in 2002.

* While the Terrapins were having trouble garnering that signature win, the defense had rounded into shaped, holding four of the last six opponents through Jan. 16 to less than 63 points. Maryland had moved up the national rankings to fourth in field-goal percentage defense (.366) and ninth in blocked shots (6.3 per game), led by Dino Gregory's 1.9 rejections per game.

* Sophomore F Jordan Williams' 12.1 rebounds per game through Jan. 16 (the leading figure in the ACC) were the most for a Terrapin since Will Hetzel hauled down 12.2 during the 1968-69 season. The last Maryland player to average double-figure boards for a season was Joe Smith (10.7) in 1994-95.

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