Thursday, November 11, 2010

Terrapins Slip Past Charleston, 75-74; Jordan Williams a Brute Force

College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, November 10, 2010

To get their teams in shape and work on various aspects of the game, in the early days of any new college hoops season major conference teams usually play a number of games against lesser foes, teams from smaller conferences who are just supposed to hang in and eventually roll over.

Sometimes, however, like last season when the Syracuse Orange were topped by their smaller cousin, LeMoyne College, just a few miles North of the SU campus, the little guys come with some bite and a fired up attitude. Thus was the case Wednesday night, when the Maryland Terrapins had their hands full with little College of Charleston, a team with enough history that they should never be overlooked.

The Terps and Cougars battled to a 37-all half time tie, but the gritty Cougars would not die and actually led by eight points with under nine minutes to play. Maryland avoided an embarrassing early-season loss when freshman Pe’Shon Howard hit a short jumper with three seconds left to seal the 75-74 win for the Terps.

It was a little too close for comfort, but coach Gary Williams can take heart in the knowledge that his youthful troops are learning how to deal with adversity and win close games, two skills which will no doubt be useful during the heady ACC season.

Another bright spot for Maryland was sophomore Jordan Williams, who connected on 12 of 21 shots for a team-high 26 points (Charleston's Andrew Goudelock led all scorers with 27) and snatched 15 boards to open the season with his second straight double-double.

Williams averaged 9.6 points and 8.6 boards as a freshman, and appears to have improved his game over the off-season, though his foul shooting still remains an area of concern. After nailing 5 of 6 from the line in Monday's win over Seattle, Williams retreated on Wednesday, making only two of eight from the line. Problems at the line - a condition shared by many big men (Williams is 6' 10") - is something that coaches will grudgingly live with as players like Williams are such huge forces in the paint.

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