Beyond the lousy defense, and beyond the great days from Sean Mosley and Cliff Tucker, there was a tertiary story in Tuesday’s loss at North Carolina for Maryland.
Namely, Braxton Dupree actually played fairly well in his nine-minute stint.
Dupree hasn’t had the breakout season a lot of folks thought he might. I certainly thought a better physique was going to make him a more dangerous commodity this season, but it hasn’t exactly worked out that way.
But he looked different at the Dean Dome, scoring six points and grabbing three rebounds. He had a block and a steal, and was effective around the basket.
If Maryland could bottle up that outing and uncork it every game from here on out, it probably would.
“I thought he gave us some good minutes,” coach Gary Williams said. “He was more active. If you’re 6-9 and 250 and active, you really help the team, because you take up a lot of room. It sounds funny, but it’s true. You do in college basketball. You compete for every rebound. You make it tougher for them to get second shots. That’s a big thing. That’s without scoring any points. You don’t have to score any points to do that. I think that’s whta Braxton can give us right now, and it really helps us when he does give us that.”
Dupree is in much the same situation as Tucker. Neither played against Miami. Both played well in a loss at North Carolina. Both will probably get a shot tonight in Atlanta – and their performances tonight could be quite telling for the rest of the season.