Brought down to earth

Day after big upset, Terps fall to No. 9 Gonzaga in Old Spice semis

November 29, 2008|By Tania Ganguli | Tania Ganguli,Orlando Sentinel

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - One day was all the Maryland Terrapins had to savor an upset victory over a top-10 opponent.

The next showdown came the very next day, and if the Terps wanted to replicate Thursday night's win over No. 5 Michigan State, they weren't going to get any help from No. 9 Gonzaga.

It was clear from the bumps in the paint and Gonzaga's rebounding dominance, the blocked shots and the ones Maryland just missed. The Terps were simply outmatched in the second semifinal of the Old Spice Classic at the Milk House at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex.

Smaller than the Bulldogs at nearly every position and trailing in nearly every statistical category, the Terps suffered their first loss of the season, 81-59. Maryland (4-1) will play No. 21 Georgetown in the tournament's third-place game tomorrow.

"They've got some big boys down low and on the wing," said Maryland forward Dave Neal, noting that Gonzaga's starting third guard, Micah Downs, is 6 feet 8. "They're strong; they're big. I wouldn't say they wore us down; I would just say they're a bigger team than we are, and it kind of showed throughout the game."

Gonzaga (4-0) started two 6-11 forwards in Josh Heytvelt and Austin Daye. The pair led all scorers, with Heytvelt contributing 22 points and Daye adding 17. Maryland's Greivis Vasquez scored a team-high 16 points.

"We did everything well, and it wore on them," Heytvelt said.

The Terps' tallest starter was Braxton Dupree (Calvert Hall), a 6-foot-8 sophomore, who played 17 minutes and scored four points.

"When you play a team like that that's that good, you have to execute better than we did," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "Our offense and our defense just wasn't good enough. To win that game tonight, we were just going to have to play a lot better."

The Terps were shooting for their second win over a ranked nonconference opponent since 2003. But the drop-off from Thursday's 80-62 upset victory over Michigan State was significant.

A day after shooting 49 percent and hitting nine of 19 three-pointers against the Spartans, the Terps managed 37 percent shooting against Gonzaga and was just 1-for-13 from three-point range.

"Coming off [Thursday] night, I didn't know what to expect," Williams said. "It was a great win, and I was hoping we'd have carried the momentum into this game."

Poor shot selection led to some of the misses. More often, though, Gonzaga's length and strength got in the way. The Bulldogs blocked six shots, with Daye recording three rejections. They also had a 41-30 rebounding edge.Down nine at the half, the Terps still felt as if they were in the game, and Landon Milbourne opened the second half with a reverse layup to cut Gonzaga's lead to seven. But the Bulldogs quickly overpowered them, scoring 19 of the next 28 points to build the lead to 57-40 with just over 10 minutes to play. Maryland trailed by as many as 20.

The Bulldogs advanced to face No. 12 Tennessee tomorrow for the tournament championship.

"Second-half rebounds were key," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "We did a good job keeping them off the offensive glass and a better job getting them on our end. That's what broke the game open."

Vasquez made a three-pointer early in the game to become the 47th Maryland player to reach 1,000 career points.

Sun news services contributed to this article.

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Single-digit scoring

After five Maryland players scored in double figures against Michigan State, just one accomplished the feat against Gonzaga - Greivis Vasquez with 16.

Rebounding woes

The Terps were out-rebounded by nine, but more significantly, Maryland grabbed only 14 offensive rebounds while Gonzaga pulled down 29 defensive rebounds.

No leading men

Maryland never led and tied Gonzaga only once. With 19:12 remaining in the first half, the score was 2-2.

Coming attraction

Maryland (4-1) meets Georgetown (3-1) in the third-place game of the Old Spice Classic at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow. It will be the first regular-season meeting between teams since 1993.

Tania Ganguli


Tomorrow, 5:30 p.m., Lake Buena Vista, Fla.


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