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Maryland Survives Late Rally, Defeat Clemson 79-77

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College Park, Md. – The Maryland Terrapins were facing a must-win situation today.  They needed a win against Clemson to right what had become a sinking ship with losses in 3 of their last 4.

In a surprising announcement before the game, Gary Williams tabbed Haukur Palsson for his first career start over Sean Mosley.Mosley had started 40 straight games for the Terrapins, before this evening.  Williams made sure to reiterate after the game that Terrell Stoglin’s benching was a one game decision based on him being late to a team function.

Maryland suffered through another slow start, as the Terps opened the game shooting 1-for-8 before the first media timeout.  Maryland then went on a 27-11 run, and went up by as many as 12 points.

Unfortunately, the Terps could not maintain the lead and the Tigers cut it to 4 by halftime, 40-36.  This would be the theme for the game, Maryland could never put the Tigers away.

Jordan Williams recorded his 13th straight double-double this evening, a school record.  Williams finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds.  After the game, Jordan said how amazing it was to be in the same company as Len Elmore and mentioned how he never thought he’d set a school record, let alone as a Sophomore.

One of the big bright spots of today’s game was the play of the seniors.  Adrian Bowie, Dino Gregory and Cliff Tucker combined for 39 points today.  The seniors made countless plays at key moments down the stretch.  Dino Gregory attempted his best Cliff Tucker impression and had an amazing 90 seconds of basketball.  Gregory scored four points, grabbed two rebounds and drew an important charge as Clemson was clawing back in to the game.

Maryland had to sweat out the last few minutes as the game came down to free throws.  Maryland made some key free throws down the stretch, but at times were trading 3 for 2 – or 1.  The game was decided when Cliff Tucker’s free throw rolled out-of-bounds with 1.6 seconds left allowing Clemson to get the ball at half court.  Clemson narrowly missed a 3 at the buzzer to win the game.

Asked about the free throw after the game Gary Williams said “I’ve never seen anything like that in my life, and I’ve coached 1200 games”.  When Tucker missed the free throw it rolled out-of-bounds, but not without the players attempting to get it.  Williams praised Clemson’s players for realizing the ball would be going out and to not touch it.

With a few days of rest before heading to play Virginia on Thursday, the Terps can take a lot of positives out of this game.  Gary Williams said “The way we run our offense, we can shoot 50% every game if we run it like that”.

Maryland will need to build off this win as they have two road games this week in conference.  Virginia and Georgia Tech are both having down years, but neither can be taken lightly.
Game Notes:

  • The Terps shot 50% from the floor and 57% from 3.  Gary said he’d take that every game.  Of course he would.
  • Hawk Palsson got his first career start and gave some quality minutes to open the game, but two early fouls took him out after just two minutes.
  • Sean Mosley came off the bench today, but came out fired up and had a nice stat line. 9 points on 2-of-4 shooting, 4-for-4 from the line, 3 rebounds and 3 assists.
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