Although its leading scorer from last season continues to struggle, Maryland has plenty of other contributors willing to step up.
The No. 21 Terrapins take on Cincinnati in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational on Tuesday.
Maryland (4-0) won 21 games in 2008-09, led by then-junior Greivis Vasquez, who averaged a career-high 17.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists.
Vasquez has gotten off to a slow start this season. After scoring a total of 24 points on 30.3 percent shooting in Maryland’s first three games, he was unable to break out against Division II opponent Chaminade on Monday as the Terps went on to win 79-51. Vasquez finished with six points on 2 of 7 from the field and five assists.
The lack of contribution from Vasquez has yet to hurt Maryland, which has three players averaging 12.8 points per game or better. Sophomore Sean Mosley, who is averaging 15.0 points, matched a career high with 19 Monday.
Mosley helped the Terps put Chaminade away after a tenuous start, scoring seven points during a 22-12 first-half run that gave Maryland a 36-24 halftime lead.
The Terps have won their first four games by an average of 30.5 points.
“I was worried. I’m always worried. Any game I’ve ever coached since JV high school,” coach Gary Williams said. “We’re trying to get better at this time of year. Whoever the best team in November is doesn’t really matter come March. You want to win in November, obviously, but you also want to continue to get better. I’m going to coach for 40 minutes and try to make us better.”
Williams and the Terps will face what figures to be a much tougher game against Cincinnati (3-0), which is looking to beat its second ranked opponent during this tournament after a 67-58 win over No. 24 Vanderbilt on Monday. Yancy Gates scored 12 points during an 18-2 run in the first half when the Bearcats took control, leading 22-6 midway through the first half.
“I think this is a statement game for us,” Gates said. “We saw they were No. 24 and that kind of gave me some incentive.”
Gates finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds. A 6-foot-9, 260-pound forward, Gates has two double-doubles this season and is a big reason why his team has outrebounded each of its three opponents, including Vanderbilt by a 53-32 margin.
The Bearcats have needed big defensive games since they’ve shot below 40 percent in two of their first three games. They held the Commodores to 27.5 percent shooting.
“I thought our players came out with tremendous effort today,” coach Mick Cronin said. “That was the best defensive effort of the year. We finally played defense like we have in practice. Our rebounding was the best I have had as head coach here and our defensive rebounding carried us.”
This is the fourth meeting between Maryland and Cincinnati and the first since the Terps won 74-72 in 1995.
“They’re as good athletically as we’ll play all year,” Williams said of the Bearcats. “They work hard. They play with a good deal of intensity.”