There was a lot to pay attention to during yesterday’s Maryland-Virginia Tech game, and it’s easy to miss things from time to time.
But if you were paying attention to guard Cliff Tucker, he turned in a rather remarkable batch of plays for the Terrapins.
* He set a perfect screen on an inbound pass to free up Greivis Vasquez to make an open 3-pointer and give Maryland a 14-8 lead.
* He snuck up from behind A.D. Vassallo to swat a 3-point attempt with 10:19 remaining in the first half.
* He hit a jumper with 9:45 left in the game to make it 56-47, flustering Virginia Tech a bit as it cycled through difference defenses.
* He made a perfect pass to Landon Milbourne to set up a one-handed slam to bump Maryland’s lead to 64-54.
On their own, they’re nice plays. Put them together, and it’s hard to overlook how valuable Tucker’s been while averaging 17.3 minutes over the last three games.
“He gives you another athlete, a guy that’s very quick in terms of getting to the ball and can make a play,” coach Gary Williams said. “If your offense breaks down and things aren’t going well, all the sudden there’s Cliff coming out of the pack with the ball and he’s going to make something happen at the other end of the court. And defensively, I can see him starting to take a challenge. He wanted to guard Vassallo a couple times out there down the stretch.”
There’s only so many guys who can make such a significant difference while scoring two points. Tucker just happens to be one of them.
“Cliff has really made some great steps, and he’s just a sophomore,” Williams said. “He’s really going to be an important part of our program for the next couple years.”
—- Patrick Stevens