Excitement at Maryland over visit by President Obama
COLLEGE PARK--Oregon State’s win over Maryland on Sunday evening at Comcast Center wasn’t inherently intertwined with politics, but once President Barack Obama and the First Family took their seats behind the Beavers’ bench, it became clear.
Oregon State was the underdog campaign from out in the West. The Beavers had suffered a season-opening loss to lowly Coppin State but had a high-scoring duo on the uptick, guard Roberto Nelson and forward Devon Collier.
Maryland was the mainstay out in the East, the more well-known commodity with the recognizable faces, coach Mark Turgeon, guard Dez Wells, and a well-packed 18,000-seat Comcast Center behind them.
It was by no means of Reagan vs. Mondale proportions, but a slow start to the second half for Maryland and the ensuing 8-0 by the Beavers created a hole which the Terrapins could not find their way out of in a 90-83 loss on Sunday.
“I thought Oregon State was terrific,” Turgeon said after the game. “The way we started the game and the second half, I think we gave Oregon State a lot of confidence. I’m just disappointed.”
Maryland allowed the lesser-known West Coast candidate to get an early bump in the polls away from home and it cost them in the end.
Nelson and Collier were the star running mates for the Beavers, Nelson dropping a game-high 31 points on 9-of-17 shooting and Collier adding 29 points on 11-of-17 from the floor while grabbing 11 rebounds.
“That’s all we talked about in the scouting report--those two kids and trying to guard those two kids,” Turgeon said. “ Nelson kept getting to the rim and then Collier was just a beast. We had no answer for him.”
If we want to stick with the political theme, a shot by Wells at the buzzer to end the first half had a Gore vs.Bush 2000 feel to it. Initially ruled a basket, further replay review waved it off and the score was tied at 38-38 heading into the break.
There was a certain amount of deflation after the intermission, the energy drained after the Beavers came out on their 8-0 run. Part of that was exploiting Maryland’s foul trouble inside, as Evan Smotrycz, Charles Mitchell, and Shaquille Cleare had each racked up three fouls mid-way through the second half.
“I just can’t get our guys to box out,” Turgeon said. “A lot of it was that [Collier] was just a beast. Shaq was trying to lean on him some, but he’s just pretty strong out there.”
The puzzling part was that it seemed Maryland overwhelming won the popular vote against Oregon State’s front line, but lost the electoral vote.
Consider this: Maryland won the rebounding battle, 39-32, rebounding 56 percent of their misses en route to 23 offensive rebounds. Simply put, they bullied the Beavers on the glass but were all but ineffective in defending the paint against Devon Collier.
It was an odd combination on a disappointing night for Maryland.
“[Collier] made a lot of tough shots over hands. Our post defense needs to be better,” forward Jake Layman, who finished with 15 points, said of Collier. “We needed to come out in the second half and have more energy.”
But for Maryland this was more of the first primary, only 10 percent of the season now finished and a 1-2 mark to show for it. They’ll have campaigning left to do, seasoning to put on in practice, before the heart of the race begins later in the year and rolling into 2014.
“There are so many mistakes happening I can’t even keep up. I can’t correct them, there are so many things happening,” Turgeon said. “We’ll watch the film. We’ll try to get better. Sometimes you just have to tip your hat to them.”