Maryland’s polished backcourt carved up the Colonials.
The Terrapins‘ perimeter trio of Greivis Vasquez, Eric Hayes and Adrian Bowie combined to put on a slash-and-splash clinic in the nightcap of the BB&T; Classic, pacing Maryland to an 76-53 victory against George Washington on Sunday night at Verizon Center.
After suffering consecutive blowout losses to Gonzaga and Georgetown in the Old Spice Classic, the Terps (6-2) have responded with solid wins against Michigan and GW. They head into Friday’s home date with Delaware State enjoying an optimistic vein of fine form. Heading in the opposite direction after dropping two of three, the Colonials (3-2) hope to rebound Saturday against Harvard at Smith Center.
The final sequence of the first half typified Sunday night’s rout: One Maryland player after another curled around screens in the team’s flex offense before forward Landon Milbourne whipped a pass to a wide open Bowie (17 points) on the left wing for a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that put the Terps up 45-26 at the break.
“We’ve got shooters,” Maryland coach Gary Williams said. “We’re tough to cover if we move the ball.”
Each of Maryland’s starting guards exited the first half having reached double digits in points, and the threesome actually outscored the Colonials 33-23 in the first half thanks in large part to superb marksmanship from behind the arc. As a team, Maryland finished the half 7-for-12 from behind the 3-point arc, jump-started by three consecutive 3s by Hayes (13 points, four assists) that staked Maryland to a 13-4 lead with 15:40 remaining.
The second stanza offered more of the same, and Williams essentially began experimenting with his bench rotations after a 3-pointer from Vasquez (17 points, 11 rebounds, five assists) with 13:53 remaining extended Maryland’s edge to 63-35.
While the backcourt provided the scoring punch, the Terps got a major defensive lift inside from Milbourne (20 points, eight rebounds) and sophomore forward Dino Gregory (nine rebounds). When Gregory came off the bench to replace starting big man Dave Neal, the Terps were being outrebounded 16-3 by the longer Colonials, whose best offensive play all night was the offensive putback. But behind some inspired play from Gregory, the Terps finished the night with a 45-42 edge on the boards.
“GW came out flying,” Williams said. “We’re not the biggest team, and they thought they could beat us on the glass. They did until Dino went in there. Sometimes all it takes is one guy. He created an atmosphere where other guys felt they should get out there and give him some help.”
For the second consecutive game, center Braxton Dupree did not play after starting the team’s first six games of the season.
“It’s not Little League - everybody doesn’t get an inning,” Williams said. “You’ve got to earn your minutes in practice.”
While Maryland personified patience and efficiency in the first 30 minutes, GW lacked any offensive identity or rhythm. Undoubtedly, some of the Colonials’ fragmented offense was a result of Maryland’s signature defensive pressure. But the Colonials never made a concerted effort to exploit their considerable length advantage inside.
And once the Colonials fell behind by double digits, their offense devolved into a series of long-range shots and uncontrolled slashing drives that resulted in an abysmal 30.8 shooting percentage.