COLLEGE PARK MD - FEBRUARY 20: Dino Gregory left of the Maryland Terrapins strips the ball from C.J. Leslie right of the NC State Wolfpack at the Comcast Center on February 20 2011 in College Park Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
|Off Reb Rate||33.3||39.1|
As usual, State's defense was the cure for what ails. Terrell Stoglin, Jordan Williams, and Dino Gregory (?!) hit a combined 26-of-40 from the field as the Terps put together their most efficient performance in conference play. (And they've played Wake Forest twice.) The true testament to the Pack's lackluster interior defense was the fact that Maryland attempted one three-pointer. One. It's been over two years since a team took just one three in a game. Jordan Williams had no trouble getting into easy scoring position most of the time, which made for a relatively simple 10-12 effort. Stoglin got into the lane at will and took full advantage. Dino Gregory...well, I have no idea where that came from. But good for him.
A lot of it was out of State's control--it was a tip-your-cap sort of night for the Terps, who seemed incapable of missing a mid-range jump shot. They came into the game shooting 66 percent from the line and hit 23 of 25 free throws. That's the way it goes sometimes. But outside of the last five minutes of the first half, State did nothing but compound that problem. It's a shame since it overshadowed a fine effort at the offensive end. CJ Leslie played very well for the second consecutive game, and Scott Wood caught fire.
A big reason why Maryland was able to control the boards was Richard Howell's absence. Howell took an elbow to the face in the first half and had to leave the game because he was bleeding. Unfortunately, he would not return, possibly because of concussion-like symptoms. That left Sidney Lowe with two front court players; DeShawn Painter and Jordan Vandenberg logged four minutes between them. It left the team with one good defensive rebounder for most of the game.
While State's matador D allowed Maryland to keep scoring with regularity, the offense disappeared down the stretch again. They were very good in the game's middle 20 minutes but faltered when it mattered, took over four minutes to get from 71 points to 72. By that point it was over. And now to reality:
"We have to win the ACC tournament to get to where we want to go," said Smith, who scored a team-best 19 points on Sunday.
"It came down to it and we faced a little bit of adversity and we kind of folded," Wood said.