Thursday, December 13, 2007

Terps Nation Running Diary - 12.12.07 vs. Ohio

OK, gonna try a running diary edition of Terps Nation tonight. I have tried it a few times, never felt it was even worth sending out, but here goes nothing. It’s tip off time at md’s Comcast Center, 8 p.m. Md. is in the home “shirt is too tight, pants are too loose” white unis that look, in person, ridiculous, but maybe that’s just me.

Playing the Ohio Bobcats, decked out in green, just “Ohio.” Not exactly a basketball factory; Gary Trent went there if you remember him, decent power forward who stuck around the nba a few years. The Bobcats are pretty good this year, only 2 losses, both by 2 points, on the road at Temple and at Holy Cross.

Looks like that’s Steve Buckhantz doing play by play tonight.

I’m up in the media section behind the bucket; deep left corner. I am to the media section what Jerome Burney is to the Md team right now; just an unknown guy trying to mix in. Md. controls the tip to Braxton Dupree, who is doing a poor imitation of Lonny Baxter. Second pass of the game is a turnover. That’s nice.

That place is about half full, this team isn’t inspiring sellouts just yet; Leon Williams first bucket for Ohio, he is going to be a problem. The big fella is from Baltimore, and he looks 30 years old, big, ripped, strong.

I’m sitting next to the student radio team by the way, bless his heart, the play by play man is wearing a suit, He’s got a snazzy red shirt with a blue tie, practicing for his future first job in Allentown, or maybe Harrisonburg. I think Harrisonburg is the smallest market that actually has a TV station.

What’s going on in the game? Oh, 1741 left to play, 4-4, Braxton Dupree on the jam after a nice feed from Hayes.

I like sitting next to the college play by play guy, feel like I have my own little personal radio announcer just two seats away. Lord knows no one else is listening to him.

But that’s not what it’s about anyway, I shouldn’t make fun, this kid is into it, he’s pretty good, and getting great experience. Maybe he’ll start in Des Moines.

OK, back to back 3s from Ohio and real quick it’s 10-4 bobcats. I think Md. is going to lose tonight, they are just not that good. Another pull up jumper and it’s 12-4 ohio. The coach who replaced Michael Adams for Maryland is upset, he’s staring down the players as they walk to the huddle and they are thinking, ‘who is that guy staring at us?’

Let’s take a reset peoeple, 1612 left in the half, Ohio hasn’t missed a shot according to student radio guy, and it’s 12-4.

Gary inserts Cliff Tucker for Osbourne and Osby for Dupree, that was quick.

We’ve got our first tv timeout, 12-6 in eventual winner Ohio’s favor.

OK, here comes the stats girl, kind of a pudgy number, last year’s stats hander-outer was, shall we say, more talented?

Hayes just missed a wide open 3 from the top of the key. I like him and all, but JJ Redick he is not. That’s all I’m sayin.

Ohio just put in either a light skinned black guy or a white guy with a really weird looking curly afro.

OOOH, Tucker with a great drive into the lane to draw the D and a dish to Gist for a big jam, I like this Tucker.

Alright, we got 1320 in the first half, its 12-8 Ohio, Md. is playing good D now, of course as I say that, some guy named Jerome throws in an off balance left handed hook shot.

The Turtle is wearing a Santa hat.

Hayes just missed another wide open 3. Mark Price he is not.

Did I mention I hosted the radio pre-game show tonight? My first gig since the Butler loss in the tournament last year. The sports director decided he wanted the job and the station manager liked me but said it was in the guy’s contract if he wanted the gig so there wasn’t much I could do other than pay moderate attention to the team and back him up, which is what I’m doing tonight. He is on vacation.

Horrible pass by Vasquez right to an ohio guy, they come down and miss, then md converts on the other end quickly, its’ 14-10 and ohio calls a TO. OK, md might win, but this team ain’t blowing anyone out.

I’ve been typing non stop for a while, I’m taking a break, it’s 8:22 p.m.

My man Jerome Tillman, gotta give him his full name props, just dunked really hard on Osby, a tomahawk over his fro, “tomafro?”

We’ve got a TV timout and it’s 16-10 ohio.

OK there’s 10 minutes left in the first half, it’s half past 8 and the joint is still only about half full. The locals aren’t exactly coming out in droves to see the 6-4 Terps. Cont me among the people who are into this team, however. They aren’t great of course, but there’s some freshman who might develop and ultimately get more minutes, and at the very least, at least we don’t have to watch Ikene Ebekwe shoot free throws anymore.

That said, he could play some D.

How am I doing so far? I am no Bill Simmons but I’ll gut it out. I’ve tried this a bunch of times in the past and always punted about 10 minutes in. I’m hanging in there til the end baby.

Speaking of Bill Simmons, who is great, and reinvented modern sports writing in my opinion, everyone thinks he also invented the whole real-time running diary thing, but I have to give proper credit to Norman Chad, who was doing it when Bill was dating cheerleaders (get the reference? Here’s a hint, “You don’t buy me out, I buy YOU out.”)

Hey, I have to give credits to the refs this year too for finally calling some walks. Not sure if anyone else has noticed, but they are definitely calling the shuffle the feet before you dribble move more this year than ever.

Nice alley-oop from osby to gist, it’s 16-12 Ohio, 8:55 left.

An “emphatic dunk” says our student broadcaster. Just took a quick peek into the rafters and here are the jerseys I see, Blake, Baxter, Dixon,

Wait, quick aside, Osby just traveled in the lane for the second time in the last 2 minutes, Keith Booth probably showed him that move.

OK, back to the rafters, then Francis, Booth, Smith., Williams…

And I just wanna say, “FRANCIS?” Steve francis played one season at Maryland, yeah, he was great, but you just don’t hnag the jersey of a guy who stuck around for one season, then refused to take millions of dollars from Vancouver and demanded a trade to Houston, then has proceeded to have a very mediocre nba career. I think the school says they hang the jersey of any all American and that’s why it’s up there, not retired, honored, but I’m saying there should be a caveat for a one and done guy. You think Coach K. has a William Avery jersey hanging in their place? I don’t.

We have a Fridge sighting. He is sitting in front of the press section and I’m certain he is going to walk out during halftime to encourage our great Maryland fans to travel to the Emerald Bowl to see the 6-6 Terps take on Oregon State.

If I was single and 10 years younger, I think I would go to SF to see that game on Dec. 28. But I’m 37 with 2 kids and if I tell Jennifer I’m leaving town for a few days to go to the Emerald Bowl, she would rightfully tell me I’m a loser. That said, it would be fun. Anyone want to go to San Francisco? We could pull this thing off in 36 hours.

What’s going on in the game anyway. Oh, it’s 21-14 Ohio, Leon Williams just completed a 3-point play for our eventual winner, Ohio University.

“Good court vision by Vasquez” according to radio guy leads to a quick Milbourne basket, Terps are within 5.

Did I mention Fridge is fat? In real life he looks like two people, neither of them skinny. He’s fat. How fat is he? His metal folding chair just screamed for a sub. He’s fat I tell you.

Md is in a dog fight here, Osby just did a whirling spin move and missed.

Nice running floater by Hayes cuts it to 23-18. He’s no Matt Kovarik either.

We’ve got 3:30 left in the half and it’s 25-18 Ohio.

Official timeout.

Crowd just got as loud as it’s been all night. Osby block? Gist jam? No, an 8 year-old just won a $50 gift certificate to the beltway plaza mall for showing off some nifty dance moves.

Terps dance team is on the court, doing their thing to the pep band’s version “get this groove, sompn’ sompn sopm; I, it’s allright, oughta sight…” What is that song?

Back to live action.

One of Maryland’s new freshman is in; Dino Gregory, he looks OK, just like the rest of the freshman class. He is no Joe Smith a la 1995.

Hayes just missed a pull-up J, he is no Juan Dixon. Gary told him to be more assertive and he is doing it, now he just needs to be more accurate.

It’s 27-18 Ohio and Gary calls a quick TO, 2:38 left in the half.

Osby throws it away after the TO, that couldn’t have been the play Gary called.

Gist tries a 3 and hits all backboard. He is no Rodney Elliott.

Ouch, a 3 from Ohio on the next possession and our third winner from a non-conference opponent in the history Comcast center is up, 30-18.

Milbourne answers with a 3, it’s 30-21. Quick steal and layin and terps draw to 30-23.

Under a minute left. I gotta get the wireless internet password from the md tech guy. There’s like 30 people along press row with laptops watching and I guess reporting on this game. How many people does it take to report on the MarylandOhio game?

Hayes just missed a wide open 3 from the right wing. He’s no Johnny Rhodes.Wait, maybe he is.

Last 15 seconds, ohio ball, up by 9. Terps get a steal but Gist gives it right back, and Mr. whitefro chucks in a little jumper. YOUR bobcats are winning 34-23 at the half; this one might not even be close.

Ah, the builid-up for the fridge appearance begins. It’s 8:49 p.m. and on the video board begins the md. football highlight reel. YOUR 6-6 Terps baby, bowl BOUND. I will try to transcribe the whole speech:

“Thank you everyone, I’d like to thank everyone for their support this year. Our fans, especially our student body, you were great. I am also going to ask for your support at the Emerald Bowl out in San Francisco on Dec. 28th, we need your hep. Go Terps.”

I may have missed a little but that was the gist it.

He’s walking back to his seat now. Someone should tell Fridge that pleats aren’t a great look on his build.

I’m going to take a break, hit the media room and eat some cookies, back in a few minutes. 8:50 p.m.

OK, back. It’s 9:02 p.m. Went with a sugar cookie and a cup of coffee for the halftime snack. Thought about double dipping and grabbing a chocolate chip also but I am carrying a few extra lbs right now and exerted an ounce of self control. Really wanted that second cookie though. You should see the media guys pile in for the cookies at halftime by the way. They put out two really big plates of chocolate chip, chocolate fudge chip, sugar and oatmeal raisin. Oatmeal raisin and sugar are always the last to go but believe me, they go.

Got the halftime stats sitting here for me when I got back. James gist is our leading Terps with 8; Hayes is 1-5 with 2 points, oh for 3 from 3. Milbourne has 5 and Osby has 4.

Md had 10 TO’s to Ohio’s 9. Glaring stat of the half is that Ohio just shot it really well, 14-24 from the field and 3-8 from 3.

We’re back to live action and Terps start with a dunk by Milbourne and cut it to 9. I wonder if Gary yelled during the halftime talk.

Vasquez comes out clapping and screaming like a wild man, he is fired up. (quick note – I wrote this whole thing in real time and only went back this morning to clean up typos. When I got home from the game last night around 12:30, turned on Comcast and saw the lowlights and saw Vasquez with the crazy facial hair. Couldn’t see that from my seat. Wow.)

OOOH, 3 by Milbourne after a 2 by Ohio and the crowd is trying to get into it.

Osby starts the second half for Dupree, that whole Dupree starting thing needs to stop, Osby is better.

Terrapin sports radio girl is trying to find my producer, Steve, and he is AWOL, she is trying to tell him that fridge wants to do a radio show to promote the Emerald Bowl. Steve eventually shows up and they work it out.

Back to the game, it’s 38-28 Ohio with Milbourne at the line, he just missed 2 straight free throws, but Ohio is called for a lane violation so he gets a chance to miss 3 in a row but gets this one… which reminds of the old 3 to make 2 rule in the nba, anyone remember that? Best players in the world get 3 to make 2? Whose idea was that?

Steal by the Terps on the inbounds, it’s 38-29, can they make a run?

Just got a call from Herbst.

Him: “are we losing?”

Me “It’s 40-29”

Call drops. Cell coverage at Comcast isn’t just bad, it’s almost non-existent. That said, it was poetic drop call.

Back to the action, we’ve got 1718 left in this game, an eventual loss.

Terps call timeout, losing 42-29. I’m watching Gary in the huddle and he seems calm enough. I think he really likes this team’s effort, they just aren’t that great.

This just in, the men’s game vs. Delaware has been moved to 6 p.m. to avoid a conflict with the Emerald Bowl on ESPN, which begins at 8:30.

It’s now time for our Tenacity Shell Shuffle.

Here comes stat girl. She told me during the half that she has finals tomorrow. College.

The shell is in Terrapin #2 by the way, the crowd roars. I have gas. I hope college student radio guy isn’t distracted, that was bad.

I just realized that the college radio team is 3 guys but only one seems to be talking. The middle guy just said something I think. They are all well dressed.

Wow, it’s 44-29 ohio, this is bad.

15:55 left, waiting for the tv TO.

Gary is calling play 2, and Hayes throws a bad pass in the lane looking for Gist, first hint of a few boos from the crowd and md calls a :30 TO to protect the ball after a scramble.

Redshirt freshman Jerome Burney is in the game for md, he is wearing #32 and looks a little like Joe Smith but, um, he is no Joe Smith.

Official timeout after a Vasquez turnover. 15:30 left in the game. I just let another one go. Maybe it’s the coffee.

This is tiring, great dish by Vasquez to Tucker, it’s is 44-31, then ohio walks, Md. has some life, they need to go on a run, still plenty of time, 14;49 left.

Hayes missed another 3 a few possessions ago I think he’s gunshy now but he needs to keep shooting I think, he can shoot, just not tonight so far.

Vasquez misses a wide open 3.

I think the most entertaining guy in the building is the student radio play by play man, he has energy. Osby misses a chippy. This is not going well.

Hey, have I told you about the food thing? Wow, here comes fridge walking toward his seat. He is so big that if you saw him randomly on the street, you would do a double take and think to yourself, that guy is really big. Can’t be healthy.

Ohio just got like 3 or 4 offensive rebounds culminating in a frustration foul by Gist, his fourth. Didn’t even realize he was in foul trouble. Her comes dino gregory, maybe he’s the answer.

What time is it? I bet simmons uses a program where it writes the time when he types, he can’t always look at the clock. Wait, I’ve been looking at my phone each time, much easier to just stare down at the computer, it’s 9:25 and Vasquez just missed another 3, followed by tucker missing a lay-up after, as my college radio friend said “a beautiful outlet pass by Osby.” Then he went with, “Holy cow, everything going wrong for the terps right now.”

48-31 Ohio with 11 minutes left.

There’s a 3 from Hayes. Man, did Md. need that.

Holy cow again, no one picks up Tillman and he posterizes Osby for the second time of the night. College radio guy just mouthed “Wow” to me. We’ve got a rapport of silent facial gestures going now. Tech on Tillman for too much celebration. Maybe he just realized his team is killing Maryland in Maryland.

Just had a little chit-chat with student radio guy. I introduced myself and told him he’s doing a nice job, which he is. His name is Joey. He said Ohio came into the game shooting 50 percent from the field, which I did not know. Then said, “how does Maryland let a 6-6, 240-pound guy dribble the length of the floor and dunk?” I didn’t know either. This kid is going places.

10:52 left in the game and Hayes is shooting 2 for the tech on the Ohio guy who celebrated a little too much, he misses the first and makes the second. He’s no Greg Manning. I need some Gas X at this point.

3 by Vasquez draws it to 50-38 with 10:22 to go, I ask again, can the Terps make a run?

Vasquez misses a long 3 after making one; he is trying to bring md back but we’ve got 8:10 to go and Ohio with a 10 point lead. Their guard pulls up for a little j to push it back to 13 and we’re inside 8. Have I mentioned that Ohio is going to win?

I hope I’m wrong of course. Hayes comes down after an Ohio miss and nails his second three, he’s got to keep shooting. It’s 54-44 with 7:04 left. I’m not saying it can’t happen.

Oh, forgot to complete the food-gate story. Media guys are none too happy about recent decision by Terps sports information to take away the free pre-game meal for games that start at 9 during the week or take place on weekends, with rationale that you have time to buy your own dinner for games at those times. Higher ups threw the day to day media guy under the bus by making him send an email to the regulars saying that in order to exert some “reasonable sanity” to our budget we are taking away some pre-game meals. This did not go over well with the masses, who enjoy dining hall food on occasion, it’s free and brings them back to when they had their very own dining hall food. They did feed us tonight, it was burgers and pasta salad. But by the time I got there, they had run out of burgers and the SID had to go out to the concessions and buy personal pizzas, so I had a papa john’s and it was bad, but it was free, because this game started at 8. If the game started at 9, I would not have been fed. Understand the system?

Back to the action … ohio is killing md on offensive boards in the second half, not sure what the toal is … what I just heard Joey say that Ohio stud, the Baltimore native Leon Williams, has 13 boards. Wow.

We’ve got a 10-point game, 56-46 with 547 to go and Joey says md is showing signs of life.

7th foul of the half on Ohio, and Braxton Dupree goes to the line, misses the one and one but terps get the rebound. After a missed 3 by tucker, gist gets called for his 5th foul, an over the back, and he is back to the bench for the night. The James Gist era isn’t as fabulous as I’d hoped it would be. I like him a lot of course, very good player, sometimes great, but not a superstar and md. desperately needs a superstar.

It’s back up to 12. and terps are running out of time, Vasquez hits a 3 to cut it to 58-49 with 4:30 to play, Md. hasn’t been any closer all half.

Wait just a second here people… Md. forces a TO and I fart again (what did I eat? Oh yeah) and Adrian Bowie throws down a dunk. We have a 7-point game with 4:11 to play. No more coffee for me.

Walking violation and Md. will have the ball with 3:49 to go, down by 7. It ain’t over yet.

Hayes misses a wide open three that would have cut the lead to 4. He’s no (you pick).

OK, it’s crunch time, let’s take a look at who Gary has on the floor for this crucial stretch. Gist fouled out, so Dino Gregory is in for him, with Hayes and Vasquez in the backcourt, Cliff Tucker on the wing (not milbourne) and osby in the middle.

Crazy runner by Vasquez, the lead is 5, I think md might win. I’m just sayin. Ohio is starting to feel a little pressure, keeps turning the ball over, I think it’s getting to them.

Vasquez just tried to make a 10 out of 10 level difficulty 3 off the dribble and a spin … guess what? Missed. Are you shocked? I like the guy but he’s not Magic Johnson.

That said, Ohio has gone cold, Terps have the ball and 1:40 left, Vasquez misses a layuip, gets the ball back, but then Vasquez charges on the baseline and gives it back.

ANOTHER turnover by Ohio, they are trying to let md win, it’s 58-53 with 1:30 to go; Tucker is fouled on the baseline, and he’s going to the line for a 1 and 1. Joey just said Tucker was ranked something or over by Rivals coming into the season, the front end of the one and one isn’t even close, Ohio ball.

Missed J by Hayes but a tip-in by Gregory and it’s 58-55 Ohio, they are currently choking. 50.9 left. Md only has 5 fouls so far, so they are going to need to foul twice to put Ohio in the bonus.. Do you foul here? If you play out the shot clock and they miss, you are down by 3 with 15 seconds left, you gotta foul right?

Gary is just playing the D, they try to get a steal for 20 seconds, doesn’t work, then foul away from the ball, that’s the 6th. So I guess now they’ll try for a steal and then send ohio to the line, it’s the right move, wish they hadn’t waited so long but they were trying to trap for a steal.

Student section is about 1/3 full by the way.

29.2 left, Ohio calls a TO on the inbound. Just did a word count check, we are bearing down on 3700. Anyone reading this nonsense? My fingers hurt. I’ve been typing about nothing for 2 hours. Gas has subsided. I think.

Joey just thanked the listeners on WMUC sports, taking time out on their Wednesday to take in Terps basketball. I’m guessing only his suitemates and mom are listening but the kid is good. He’s no Johnny Holliday of course.

OK, 27.5 left, and Ohio’s Jerome Tillman, Mr. Osby facial, is at the line for 1/1.

First one is a swish, that was big. He misses #2, here we go. Vasquez down the court, fakes a pass, takes a 3 and front rims it, he’s 5 of 16 on the night. I know this b/c I just looked on Joey’s real-time boxscore laptop.

Ohio makes 2 free throws and they are up six . Hayes airball and there’s 7.3 seconds left. Ohio bench is pretty happy right now. Md is not going to foul, Ohio holds the ball and that’s it, 61-55 Bobcats. I thought it might work out this way. This team… they are no 2002 Terps.

Hey, best news is that it’s only 10:01 p.m., I go on the air in about 30 minutes, might get home before midnight if I’m lucky.

I hope you enjoyed my first attempt at a running diary.


Written in real-time from 8-10 p.m. on 12.12.07