Getting Inside- 3/24

After blowing out Houston in the opening round of the NCAA tourny, the Terps lost on a buzzer beater to Michigan State.

GETTING INSIDE

What was shaping up as Maryland's best season since the 2002 national championship came to a disappointing end when the Terrapins made an early exit from the NCAA Tournament.

After winning their last seven games of the regular season to finish in a tie with Duke for the ACC regular-season title, the Terps won only one of their three postseason appearances.

They lost to Georgia Tech in the conference tournament, beat Houston in a first-round NCAA game, then lost to Michigan State in the second round when, after overcoming a huge deficit in the final minutes, they gave up a 3-pointer at the buzzer that cancelled a floater by Greivis Vasquez with six seconds left.

The result was a 24-9 final record, which is one win short of the mark posted by the 2007 team that also bowed out in the second round of the NCAA tourney.

It didn't appear the Terps would get to that level after losing two of three to Cincinnati and Wisconsin in the EA Sports Maui Invitational.

"And that was in November," coach Gary Williams said. "When we came back, we heard that the season was over.

"So I mean you have seniors that are tough and have been through some things and you have a chance -- in other words, that thought never got to our team. And I think the seniors were really responsible for that because they have experienced some other tough times and came back from that, and they did the same thing this year."

Now those seniors -- Vasquez, Eric Hayes, and Landon Milbourne -- all depart, taking with them 55 percent of the points and 66.7 percent of the assists.

They started all but one game this season, when Vasquez was sat for the opening tip against Eastern Kentucky after being late for the pregame shoot-around.

Two starters -- forward Jordan Williams, who was the team's leading rebounder in his first collegiate season, and guard Sean Mosley -- are back along with key reserves Dino Gregory, Cliff Tucker, and Adrian Bowie.

But it will be difficult for any of them to step and fill the role Vasquez played for the Terps throughout his career and the last two seasons in particular.

"Greivis plays with everything on his sleeve, which is a great way to play," Williams said. "It's a great way to play the game.

"Unfortunately, there's not enough people that do anything in life like that. Everybody's politically correct, especially where we live. And it's nice to see people that aren't afraid to put it out there. And he's one of them."

NOTES, QUOTES

FINAL RECORD: 24-9, 13-3, tie for first in the ACC.

WHAT WENT RIGHT: G Greivis Vasquez earned Player of the Year honors in the conference in his senior season after leading the Terps to a share of the league title. He averaged nearly 25 points a game in Maryland's seven-game winning streak that ended the regular season.

The Terrapins averaged nearly 78 points a game and shot 46.2 percent from the field -- both league bests -- in conference play and held league opponents to just 40.3 percent, second best. The Terps went 8-0 at home against ACC foes and won a first-round game in the NCAA tourney for the 10th time in their last 10 appearances.

Freshman F Jordan Williams emerged as a force inside, averaging 8.3 rebounds per game in conference play.

WHAT WENT WRONG: The Terps had some early struggles, losing twice (Cincinnati and Wisconsin) in the EA Sports Maui Invitational in November and at home to William & Mary in December. They also were one-and-done in the ACC Tournament, losing by five points to Georgia Tech in a quarterfinal matchup.

The Terps went into the NCAA as a No. 5 seed and seemed to have things pointed their way when Northern Iowa upset the Midwest Regional's top-seeded Kansas, but fell behind early against Michigan State and never recovered.

QUOTE TO NOTE: It's been unbelievable. Playing with Eric, Landon, and with coach Williams, it's something that I appreciate so much because they have done a great job. They made a big impact on myself, coming from another country, being roommates with Eric and hanging out with Landon every day, that definitely got me better. And then having one of the best coaches in the NCAA, being your coach, everybody doesn't have that privilege. All I can say is that I'm very, very proud of my teammates and my coaches and everybody involved with us." -- G Greivis Vasquez, referring to teammates Eric Hayes and Landon Milbourne and coach Gary Williams, on his career since his arrival from Venezuela.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

THE GOOD NEWS: F Jordan Williams emerged as one of the league's most promising newcomers with his powerful play. He had seven double-doubles, including a 21-point, 17-rebound effort in the win over Houston in the first round of the NCAA. Junior Sean Mosley struggled in the postseason but scored in double figures in 17 games in the regular season.

The Terps have a solid recruiting class coming in headed by Mychal Parker, a 6-6 forward out of Charlottesville, Va.

THE BAD NEWS: It's very simple. The personnel losses include team leader Greivis Vasquez and three-point sharpshooter Eric Hayes in the backcourt and F Landon Milbourne up front. That's a huge talent gap that is going to put a lot of early pressure on newcomers to fill in.

KEY RETURNEES: Jordan Williams became more and more of a factor as the season wore on and ended up averaging 9.6 points and 8.6 rebounds a game for the season. G Sean Mosley averaged 10.1 points and shot 50.9 percent from the field (38.9 on three-pointers) as the third backcourt member with Vasquez and Hayes. Cliff Tucker (5.7) and Adrian Bowie (4.8) also return in the backcourt, and F Dino Gregory is a veteran up front, assuming he avoids the kind of difficulties that kept him on the bench for the first semester this season. F James Padgett showed some promise early but wasn't a factor down the stretch. He played in 28 games, averaging 3.0 points and 2.8 rebounds.

ROSTER REPORT:

--G Greivis Vasquez ended Maryland's second-leading all-time scorer with 2,171 points after scoring 26 in the second-round NCAA loss to Michigan State. Juan Dixon, who played for the Terps' NCAA championship team, has the No. 1 spot with 2,271 points. Vasquez finished second in 3-point field goals for his career with 230. Dixon is the all-time leader there as well with 239.

--G Eric Hayes finished with 196 three-pointers in his career, fourth-best in school history.

--F Landon Milbourne finished one blocked shot of finishing his career with 100 rejections when he failed to block a shot in his last two games. That's good for 12th place all-time for the Terps.


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