It has been no secret that the Terrapins have been kept afloat by the stellar play of sophomore center Jordan Williams this year, as he has been the focus of almost every opposing teams game plan. Many of these efforts have been thwarted by the big man, who recently broke Len Elmore's long time school record of 12 consecutive games with a double-double by posting 13 straight.
To the surprise of many however, this incredible streak is no more as Williams only was able to muster 4 points and 6 rebounds in 32 minutes of play. Posting such impressive numbers against the likes of Duke and Villanova, it was mind boggling to watch Williams be shut down by a weaker conference foe.
Virginia's answer to the Maryland phenom was 7'0 junior center Assane Sene. Every time Williams got the ball Sene refused to let him turn his back to the basket for his classic backdown, which troubled the Terps center long enough to allow for the double team help to arrive. It was a night of kickouts and frustration for Williams who only managed 5 shot attempts and never got to the charity strike. The Cavs center, while only managing 5 points, hit the boards hard; posting 15 rebounds (5 offensive).
But on a night where seemingly everything was going wrong for the Terps star player, the rest of the team rallied to play one of its most impressive and cohesive games of the season. The star of the show was senior guard Adrian Bowie, who had a season-high 22 points to go with his 3 rebounds and 4 steals. Bowie, who struggled a bit earlier in the season, came up huge nailing 3-5 from behind the arc and 8-13 overall.
Bowie, as well as many of his teammates, did most of his damage in the second half in which Maryland outscored Virginia 40-21. Bowie had 17 of his team high 22 in the second half; a half in which everything seemed to click for the Terrapins. After going 10-25 in the first half, Maryland shot the lights out in the second, going 17-25 from the field.
Bowie's tremendous night was silently complimented by steady guard play from the two freshmen: Terrell Stoglin (7 points, 3 assists, 1 turnover) and Pe'Shon Howard (9 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists). Senior guard Cliff Tucker came off the bench with a solid 13 point / 3 rebound showing.
Coming out of halftime with only a 5 point lead, Maryland wasted little time blowing open the game. Less than 3 minutes into the second half, Bowie tallied 8 of his 22 points in just one minute; hitting on a drive to the hoop, knocking down a three pointer and then converting on a break away, and-one lay-in. The Terps poured it on from there on out, hitting over 65% from the field and dominating every facet of the game.
Another story of the game was the Terrapins suffocating defense. Not one Virginia player reached double figures in scoring in the game, with senior guard Mustapha Farrakhan netting a team high 8 points. The Cavaliers mustered only 8 team assists to Maryland's 14 and Sene grabbed 15 of their 26 rebounds. During Maryland's run to end the game, Virginia only managed 8 points in the final 9 minutes of play. Maryland ended the game 27-50 from the field (54%) while Virginia went 16-48 (33%).
After struggling against the marquee ranked teams on their schedule, the Terps have picked up two good wins in a key stretch during conference play in which they must continue winning to have a shot at a tournament birth. Again, when talking about the tournament, it's not how you start but how you finish the season that matters.
On Sunday the Terps will face an inconsistent but dangerous team in Georgia Tech (10-9, 3-3), who has hung with the likes of Syracuse and beaten UNC but then has lost to teams such as Virginia and Kennesaw State. Looming after the Tech matchup is the February 2nd meeting with archrival Duke (19-1, 6-1 ACC). For right now however, the Terps need to take it one game at a time.