Commentary

Instant Analysis: Clemson-Maryland

Originally Published: March 2, 2008
By Heather Dinich | ESPN.com

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- ESPN.com's Heather Dinich provides instant analysis from Clemson's 73-70 win over Maryland on Sunday.

GAME ANALYSIS: Maryland did what it has done all season -- gone up and down game by game and half by half. The same team that lost to American at home, then knocked off North Carolina on the road squandered a 20-point lead and lost a chance to further boost its NCAA Tournament résumé with just one regular-season game remaining on the schedule.

With 11:21 left in the game, a basket by Greivis Vasquez put the Terps up 59-39. The sold-out crowd in Comcast Center was on its feet, and a strong senior send-off appeared imminent. Instead, Clemson's Trevor Booker scored 18 points, and James Mays, who battled injuries all season, finished with a game-high 20 and nine rebounds. It was Clemson's biggest second-half comeback ever.

HOW THE GAME WAS WON: Clemson trailed by two when Mays did what Clemson did best -- stole the ball. It was his fourth of the game and arguably the most important, as he followed it up with a layup that tied the score at 70 with 45.4 left to play. Then Tigers freshman Terrence Oglesby made a 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds left and a half-court desperation attempt to answer it by Vasquez went wild.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Mays put the Tigers in position for the win and compensated for K.C. Rivers' quiet night. Mays had 16 of his 20 points in the second half.

STAT OF THE GAME: Clemson had only three turnovers in the second half. Also, leading scorer Rivers was held to four points on just 2-for-10 shooting. Rivers was averaging 15.5 points.

BEST OFF THE BENCH: Maryland freshman guard Adrian Bowie, who was averaging three points in 11.6 minutes off the bench this season, matched his season-high 12 points in 12 minutes. He was 6-for-6 from the field and didn't make any turnovers.

WHAT IT MEANS: The Tigers solidified a spot in the NCAA Tournament with 21 overall wins and nine league wins. The Terps still have to compensate for that early home loss to American. Maryland has a chance to earn its 20th win in its March 9 season finale against conference cellar dweller Virginia, which has been playing better in recent weeks.

First-half analysis


TURNING POINT: Because it was Senior Day in Comcast Center, the Terps had the momentum from the start, and they used the emotion to jump to a 7-0 lead. Maryland was propelled by its only two seniors on scholarship: forwards Bambale Osby and James Gist, who scored five of the first seven. Osby picked up his second foul near the 13-minute mark, though, and played just seven minutes after he was replaced by Jerome Burney.

TURNING POINT II: Clemson battled back, but Maryland used a 13-0 run that started at the 9:38 mark and put the Terps ahead 28-18 with 5:08 left in the half. Maryland was able to hang on to the lead for the duration, and extended it to as many as 14 points with 1:12 left to play. Clemson didn't make a field goal in the final 3:08.

PLAYER OF THE HALF: Gist, who has had an inconsistent season but was coming off a 31-point performance against Wake Forest, led the Terps with 11 points and three blocks in the first half, including a highlight-worthy block early in the game that helped set the tone. As goes Gist, so go the Terps.

STAT OF THE HALF: Maryland and Clemson combined for 27 turnovers -- more than the number of field goals the two teams made (26). Clemson made just 10 baskets and shot 33.3 percent.

STAT OF THE HALF II: Maryland's bench scoring. The Terps finally found some. After producing zero points against Virginia Tech and just four against Miami, Maryland's reserves chipped in 10 points -- including six from freshman guard Bowie, who helped key the 13-0 run. Coach Gary Williams showed a confidence in his reserves that had been lacking for most of the season, as all of them played significant minutes. Cliff Tucker led the way with nine minutes.

BYE-BYE BOOM: Some clever signs emerged to honor Osby, whose nickname at Maryland is "Boom." Among the best were "Fear the Fro," "Bambale makes my heart go BOOM BOOM," and "thanks FRO the memories." Oh, and don't forget the four students in the second row with Afro wigs.

BIGGEST BOOSTERS: NFL analyst and former Terps quarterback Boomer Esiason was in the house, along with Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, who has a season-long courtside seat. But the biggest fan showing his support was Maryland football coach Ralph Friedgen, who sang along with Zombie Nation as he pumped his fist in the air next to the student section.

Heather Dinich is a college football and basketball writer for ESPN.com. Send your questions and comments to Heather at espn.hd@hotmail.com.

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