If you saw Maryland coach Gary Williams's face just after his Terrapins pulled out a 75-74 win against College of Charleston on Wednesday night, then you know: this was not Maryland's finest game.
The Terps committed 18 turnovers, showed neither a willingness or ability to make outside shots (2-for-7 from beyond the arc), and shot 27.8 percent from the free throw line. These are all ugly stats, and they're the sort of things that will get you into trouble against solid mid-major foes like Charleston. Maryland fans have spent most of the offseason (and especially the past few weeks, if the Hoopsbag is any indication) claiming their team is underrated, that they should be in the top 25, that they're better than North Carolina; barely getting past College of Charleston doesn't exactly support that theory.
Having said that, last night contained more positive than negative for Maryland, even if Gary's sweaty complexion didn't show it:
Jordan Williams might be a beast. The sophomore forward -- who Terps fans are hoping can develop into a frontcourt star this season -- had 26 points, 15 rebounds, two steals and a block.
Late resilience: Maryland trailed 68-60 at the 8:36 mark, but held Charleston without a single field goal for nearly nine minutes.
Maryland shot the ball efficiently: The Terps were 51.5 percent from the field last night, and no one had a particularly poor shooting game. Williams missed nine of his 21 attempts, but he was frequently under pressure in the post, and even Cliff Tucker, who missed all three of his three-pointers, went 7-for-15 from the field.
Pe'Shon Howard might be ready right now. Maryland is relying on youth this season -- Williams especially. But the star of the show last night was Howard, who came off the bench to score 14 points on 6-for-7 shooting, in the process making what is already the biggest shot of his collegiate career. With eight seconds left, Howard got the ball at the top of the key, spun into his defender, got just past the right elbow, stopped, stepped back, and hit a pretty little fadeaway jumper to give his team a one-point lead with three seconds remaining. It was a brilliant shot and a really impressive performance, made all the more so by Howard's youth and Maryland's desperate need for a capable point guard in the post-Greivis era.
Sure, Gary Williams might have preferred a more convincing effort. He'd probably also like it if his team hadn't turned the ball over 44 times in two games. But at the end of the day, the Charleston squeaker had plenty of encouraging signs for Maryland fans, even if Gary couldn't see them right away.