He’s been criticized by many, and loved by many others. He’s had highs and lows during his time in College Park; and some fans will likely want to have nothing to do with after today’s game. He’s been one of the most polarizing figures that this Athletic Department has ever seen; and this might officially be a point of no return for him.
I’m not talking about Gary Williams. He will survive Maryland’s 85-44 loss to Duke today; and will have the chance to try to turn things around and still salvage something from Maryland’s season. It will be a difficult task for him; but he won’t be fired tomorrow just because the Terps suffered their worst defeat during his time at his alma mater; in a game where they also scored the fewest points of any team during Gary’s time as Head Coach. He’s going to be back; no matter what.
And Greivis Vasquez will be back on the floor Tuesday night; despite playing a particularly small 28 minutes in today’s game. But he’s officially reached might well be the point of no return as of today.
Greivis has struggled mightily in recent games; and today’s output was no different. He was 2-10 from the field, 0-2 from beyond the arc; didn’t reach the free throw line; had just one rebound, 1 assist, and 4 points. He also committed 4 turnovers in the loss.
But Greivis’ performance is particularly disappointing considering the way he boasted “that’s my house” about Cameron Indoor Stadium this week. Greivis is coming off some difficult weeks as a Terp; during which he mouthed off to the fans at Comcast Center during a win over Georgia Tech. Gary has been forced to pull him aside and discuss his antics; and Gary publically lashed out at him again today after I asked about Vasquez’s emotions.
But Greivis can turn everything around starting TODAY with one simple concept.
Today is the day that Greivis Vasquez can re-write his own personal history as a Maryland Terrapin. Today is the day that Greivis Vasquez can go from “polarizing figure whose potential was greater than his ability” to “gritty leader who learned determinition through adversity.”
It’s his choice.
Little can be more humbling than a 41 point defeat at the hands of a team you relish playing against. Little can be more humbling than having thousands of opposing fans mock and laugh at you while you struggle to try to add ANYTHING positive to a miserable, blowout defeat.
But no one is going to force Greivis to be humbled by the occassion. He’s going to have to choose to do that on his own.
In 2001, Maryland lost a Valentine’s Day home game to a lowly Florida State Seminoles team at Cole Field House. It was a humbling experience for the Terps; coming on the Heels of a hubling defeat to Duke in the final :54 seconds of a home game the night before Super Bowl XXV. But from that humility, a team bonded; recognized their need to do things differently, and went on to the first Final Four appearance in school history.
This team isn’t going to the Final Four; but a little humility could go a long way in giving them a chance to make a run at the NCAA Tournament.
Muhammad Ali was so good that he could make boastful statements no matter the situation. Greivis Vasquez is not.
This isn’t the time for Greivis to lose his intensity or edge on the floor; but it is certainly time for him to recognize that running his mouth has not made this team any better thus far.
The word of the day is humility.
That’s it for me tonight. Talk to you tomorrow with a 15-7-0.
2:36-Gary opened his post-game press conference by saying “I hope the rest of your day is better than my last 2 hours.” That is probably an understatement.
Gary seemed to think there was a possibility that something like this might happen today. He said the team “didn’t come in with the intensity” necessary to win at Duke; and the Terps “didn’t do a good job…..of matching (Duke’s) intensity.” He added that a blowout loss “can happen (at Cameron Indoor Stadium) probably quicker than any other place in the country.” He added that “Duke looked more athletic in terms of 1 on 1 situations”; which he thought had a lot to do with emotion. He added that Maryland “paid for” not bringing enough emotion “to the table.”
As with many of the bad losses during his tenure at Maryland; Gary said he wouldn’t dwell on this one. “Part of being a coach is getting embarrassed and being able to come back” according to the coach. Gary says it “doesn’t bother (him) that (the team) lost by 40″ as “it still counts as one loss.” He went on to say that the Terps were 2-3 in the ACC with two home games coming up, and they needed to be ready to play Tuesday night. He went on to add that the loss was only “one game.”
Gary didn’t seem to appreciate Greivis Vasquez’s comments to the media earlier this week, saying he could “think of something better to say than ‘That’s my house’ when” coming into Cameron Indoor Stadium. Williams believes his star player is contrite regarding the comments, having added “he knows that he shouldn’t have said what he said” and “I don’t think that would happen again.” Gary thinks that the timing of the comments had to do with the excitement of Maryland’s win over Virginia. He said he didn’t “think Duke needed Greivis’ comments to get ready to play” though. Gary went on to say that Vasquez has “really gotta concentrate on his game.”
2:30-Landon Milbourne lead the Terps with 19 points, no other Maryland player scored more than 5. Bowie, Milbourne, and Mosley all had 5 rebounds apiece in the loss to lead the team. The Terps finished the game with a 10:17 assist to turnover ratio; came up with 6 blocks, and added 5 steals. They shot 18-64 from the field (28.1%); 2-12 from beyond the arc (16.7%), and 6-12 from the free throw line (50%).
The Blue Devils were lead by Gerald Henderson with 17; Jon Scheyer added 12, Kyle Singler 11, Brian Zoubek and Elliot Williams 9 each, Nolan Smith 8, Greg Paulus and Lance Thomas both 7. Remember when you asked me what the definition of balance was? Zoubek had a game0high 9 rebounds; Henderson had 8, Singler 7. The team had an assist to turnover ratio of 23:10; adding 12 blocks and 11 steals. They shot 31-73 from the field (42.5%), 12-25 from beyond the arc (48%); and 11-19 from the free throw line (57.9%). Duke’s bench outscored Maryland’s 28-11. The Devils out-rebounded the Terps 56-38.
1:53-Confirm that. Elliot Williams with a 3. The final will be 85-44. Worst loss in the Gary Williams era; fewest points scored in the Gary Williams era. “Devil With A Blue Dress On” plays to celebrate. I’ll be back shortly.
1:51-Goins called for the offensive foul with 1 and a half to play. Terps need to shave 3 points off the lead to avoid matching the worst defeat in the Gary era; they need to score 4 to avoid matching the fewest total points in the Gary era. I doubt they do either.
1:49-Goins with one of two from the line and a layup from Tucker; and Duke’s lead is 82-44. Duke fans chant “Nuestra Casa” towards Vasquez; which of course means “Our house” in Spanish. The fact that they write their chants on a white board certainly takes away from the creativity.
1:47-Dupree with one of two at the free throw line; Steve Goins is going to check into this one. Haven’t seen Greivis since the intentional foul; and I doubt we will. Steve Johnson is going to enter the game for Duke; to the delight of the Duke crowd that has chanted the humorous “Insert Johnson” line for the last few minutes. Gary puts David Pearman in since someone has to play……
1:44-Mercifully we reach the final official timeout of the game with 3:50 to play. We reached it of course because we HAD to; not because anyone actually wanted to see time stop again in this one.
1:42-Elliot Williams fouled HARD by Bowie attacking the basket. He rattles home the first free throw and misses the 2nd. Milbourne with 2 more on the other end; he has 19. How is that possible? 80-40 Duke.
1:38-Mosley 1-2 at the line; 74-34 Duke. Williams adds a jam for Duke to make the lead 42. Chants from the student section include “Inspiration” (while pointing at Coach K) “Perspiration” (While pointing at Gary).
Landon Milbourne with another hoop; he has 17. Players not named Landon Milbourne have a total 19 for the Terps. Martynas Pocius into the game for Duke; he misses a 3.
Braxton Dupree gets the ball inside; but again throws the ball wildly in the air instead of actually toward the basket.
Pocious adds a 3; Dupree gets a hoop but misses the PLUS ONE attempt. 79-38 Duke.
1:33-Milbourne hits another jumper; he has 15. Terps trail 71-31. Milbourne would be a complement to a team that was already well put together.
Coach K continues to empty his bench with 8 and a half to play; as Oleg Czyz checks in. I believe he was recruited to Duke because Coach K wanted someone else whose last name had a “Z-y-z” combination in it.
Bowie with a hoop; Paulus with a 3. 74-33 Duke as we hit the 3rd official timeout of the 2nd half; an ungodly long 7:15 to play.
Patrick Stevens from the Washington Times confirms that the fewest points ever scored by a Maryland team in the Gary Williams era was 47; in a 1995 loss to UMass in the event now known as the BB&T Classic. The Terps have 7:15 to score 15 points if they don’t want to make more bad history….
1:30-Elliot Williams made 1 of 2 free throws; then an entering Jin Soo Kim airballed a 3 point attempt from the corner. 9:34 to play; Devils lead 71-29.
1:27-Touching moment before the game; as the teams held a moment of silence to honor NC State women’s coach Kay Yow; who lost her courageous fight with breast cancer this morning. Yow is the sister of Maryland Athletic Director Debbie Yow.
1:25-Paulus adds the floater; then Vasquez picks up an intentional foul as Duke tried to make things worse. Can it get worse? This is historic. Official timeout. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could just keep the clock running; like in soccer?
1:24-Two more from Henderson matched by two from Milbourne. Mosley knocks down his first three and the lead is under 40! Small victories, people.
1:22-Dino Gregory hits one of two at the free throw line; and the lead is cut to 42. Without “Stat”rick Stevens nearby I’m struggling to be absolutely certain of this; but nearby researchers believe Gary’s worst ever defeat as Maryland Head Coach is 36 points at the hands of North Carolina in 1993. This could be much worse.
1:19-David McClure with the long 2; the lead is 43. This is starting to resemble that 100-0 Texas High School game a week or two ago. Maybe Duke will forfeit later? Coach K will have his Devils slow things down; and he might as well. No need to see anyone get hurt…..
Miles Plumlee into the game for the Devils. I haven’t heard of him either…….
1:17-Milbourne with the reverse layup and adds the PLUS ONE attempt. Duke fans begin an “N-I-T” chant before getting another 3. Henderson adds the steal; he hits one of two to give Duke their biggest lead of the game at 41. Why not? Cliff Tucker into the game.
1:15-The “not our rivals” chant begins a bit early this time. Henderson was fouled on the layup; he will attempt a free throw after the official timeout. He misses the free throw; but the Terps can’t corral the rebound and the ball goes out of bounds. Wow.
1:12-Vasquez frustrated after thinking he was fouled; Duke throws an alley-oop to Singler; then runs a Harlem Globetrotters-like offense in getting a layup that has this crowd going absolutely INSANE. Duke’s lead is an UNREAL 40 points; and this is a VERY low moment in Maryland basketball history.
1:10-Nolan Smith adds another 3; and Maryland trails 53-20. I’m looking for something positive to say; but instead I’ll add that Henderson just drilled another 3 to make Duke’s lead 36. They’re outscored Maryland 16-5 in the first 3:51 of the 2nd half. Gary calls another timeout. I don’t think we have to worry about him wishing he had them in the final minute of the game……
1:07-Terps work it inside to Milbourne for 2; but Zoubek cleans up his own miss on the other end. Bowie attempted to penetrate again; but was met by Zoubek. Hayes wildly threw something up on the other end; I THINK it was meant to be a shot. Henderson with the jumper, and the Terps trail by 30.
1:04-It took nearly 21 minutes; but the Terps will FINALLY attempt a free throw. Bowie does what he wanted to do at the start of the game; driving to the basket. He was blocked once; but managed to draw a foul. He hit just one of two free throws however. Scheyer knocks down a 3 at the other end; and Hayes responds with a layup. Zoubek with an almost effortless offensive rebound; and Nolan Smith nails another 3. Duke opens the lead up to 28 with 18L55 to play; and Gary calls another timeout.
1:03-Is there a rule that says we have to play the 2nd half? This is normally when goofy things start happening in blowout games…….
12:53-Want the numnbers? I’m not sure you can handle the numbers!
The Terps had only three scorers in the first half; Landon Milbourne with 6, Dave Neal with 5, and Greivis Vasquez with 4. The Devils were lead by 9 apiece from Singler and Henderson; Zoubek added 7, Scheyer 6, and Lance Thomas 5.
The Terps were out-rebounded 27-12 in the first half; and their assist to turnover margin was……well…….2:12. That’s not good. Duke has turned the ball over just 6 times in comparison.
The Terps have yet to attempt a free throw; which makes it very difficult to prove that they are amongst the best free throw shooting teams in the country. Duke is 8-10 at the stripe on their end. Maryland is 7-25 from the field (28%); 1-7 from beyond the arc (14.3%). Duke is 14-35 from the field (40%); 4-10 from 3 point range (also 40%).
Maybe Maryland should stay in the locker room……
12:50-Rich, I’d love to respond to something; but there’s nothing for me to respond to. Duke has absolutely outplayed Maryland in all aspects of the game; and this is pretty similar to the Georgetown and Gonzaga games; except worse. The Terps are proving to just not be a good team; and they have absolutely no answer when things aren’t going well. This is absolutely brutal to watch; just be glad you didn’t drive to North Carolina to watch it.
12:47-Duke can’t add anything; and Sean Mosley can’t find the handle on a 3 to end the half. Duke takes a ridiculous 40-15 lead to the half; and I imagine we might see some Jin Soo Kim in the 2nd half.
12:45-Hayes with a miss; Terps one and done again. Duke takes timeout; hopefully considering showing Maryland some mercy. 39.4 to play; there’s an 8 second differential between the shot clock and the game clock. Like it matters……
12:44-Henderson with the 3; then forces Vasquez to turn the ball over. Duke is having a lot of fun right now. Henderson has 9; Smith fouled on the other end; he connects on both attempts at the line; and Duke leads 40-15. Wow.
12:43-For what it’s worth; Duke enjoys a 24-6 rebounding advantage over the Terps. But you probably already knew that…..
12:41-Scheyer takes a fall and Milbourne makes him pay; hitting a jumper to get Maryland within 18. Thomas with the layup on the other end; then Hayes called for a travel. 35-15 Duke. Milbourne has 6.
12:39-Zoubek makes one of two at the line; and Duke extends their lead to 33-13. Vaseuez drives and is fouled by Zoubek. The beat goes on…..
12:36-Duke misses two more shots; Duke gets two more offensive rebounds. Zoubek gets fouled; we head to the final official timeout of the half with Maryland still trailing by 19. 3:48 to play in the half; and Gary doesn’t have an answer for this bloodbath.
12:35-Greivis penetrates and finds Neal open for a look outside; but it won’t fall. Terps one and done again; while Duke adds 3 more. Neal with a hoop to put a band-aid on things; but Henderson adds another outside; and the Terps turn the ball over again. 32-13 Duke; and the Terps do not appear to belong on the same floor.
12:32-Vasquez finds himself wide open for a 3 and misses badly. Adrian Bowie had the rebound in his hand but lost it. Milbourne blocks Singler the next time down; but Singler gets the ball back and draws a foul from Milbourne. Singler knocks down both free throws; he has 6. Gary takes another timeout with his team trailing by 16 and unable to get anything going on either end. 5:41 to play in the half.
12:31-Bowie gets Maryland’s first good look at a jumper in some time; but can’t connect. Singler is fouled again inside fighting for a rebound; he makes both to extend Duke’s lead to 25-11. Duke’s ability to maintain defensive focus and pressure is incredible.
12:29-Elliot Williams called for the foul trying to pressure Dave Neal. That call probably wouldn’t go against Singler or Henderson. Singler draws a foul inside; and Maryland is reeling…..
12:27-The Terps are REALLY paying for not having an inside option today. As Duke continues to force them outside; Maryland has no answer to pound the ball back inside. The defensive end is no better; as Brian Zoubek has absolutely had his way with Maryland’s defenders inside. Jordan Williams and James Padgett are coming; but they can’t get here quickly enough…..
12:26-Singler with the airball on a 3 point attempt; and we hit the 3rd official timeout of the half with the Terps trailing 23-11.
Duke fans begin chanting “crazy towel guy”; and a man in the stands bounces up to wave a white towel. Okay……
12:24-Kyle Singler with the strip and finish; 23-11 Duke. With Duke’s defensive pressure; the Terps are being forced farther and farther away from the hoop. Vasquez tries to drive the baseline; but steps out of bounds in the process.
12:22-Duke is absolutely SUFFOCATING Maryland defensively; allowing them NO space to run plays. Dino Gregory into the game; screaming something rather unpleasant at Gerald Henderson as he attempted to inbound the ball.
Duke comes up with another big offensive rebound; but a traveling call ends the possession. Terps are lucky to be within ten right now.
12:20-Milbourne with the curl for the baby hook; he matches Vasquez with a team high 4. Henderson with the hoop on the other end; and Duke’s lead is back to ten at 21-11. Hayes misses a wild layup; ad Scheyer is called for an offensive foul driving to the hoop.
12:19-I’ll save my thoughts on the Duke cheerleaders. Probably wouldn’t go over well right now.
12:17-Terps CONTINUE to be killed by Brian Zoubek inside; and this offensive rebound leads to a long 2 for Greg Paulus. Vasquez draws a foul the next time down; and we hit the 2nd official timeout with Duke leading 19-9 and 10:42 to play in the half.
12:16-David McClure into the game for Duke; and Landon Milbourne misses a long jumper for the Terps. Lance Thomas knocks one down on the other end; 17-9 Duke. Milbourne is going to get chances for those long jumpers; and he will have to find that range.
12:14-Terps come up with a rebound off a BAD miss of a long 3 by Vasquez, and Milbourne hits a jumper. On the other end; Zoubek LEVELS Neal before hitting a bucket. Vasquez responds by driving the baseline for 2. Zoubek has 6; Duke leads 15-9. Braxton Dupree checks in for Maryland; as Gary badly needs size underneath.
12:12-Sean Mosley heads to the scorer’s table; Greivis Vasquez takes on 4 defenders but scores to make things 12-5; ending a 10-0 run the Terps had going. Neal fouls Lance Thomas; who makes the first of two free throws. Zoubek draws a foul fighting for the rebound on the 2nd attempt.
12:10-During the timeout; a number of members of the Duke band ran onto the floor; laid down, and helped their mascot “surf” across the gym floor. These are the types of things that look stupid to opposing fans; but their own students just eat up. Again, I worry that they don’t think much about why they have particular traditions here; just caring more than the traditions carry on.
12:09-The Devils are not particularly athletic; but their size makes up for that. The Terps cannot afford to throw lazy passes; as the Devils will step in and quickly close the lanes that appear to exist. We hit the first official timeout with 15:35 to play; and the Devils lead 12-3.
12:07-Terps are REALLY finding it difficult to run sets against Duke’s disciplined defense. Hayes turns the ball over here; and fouls Scheyer before he could have an easy run to the opposing hoop.
Scheyer misses an easy layup; but Zoubek is there to clean it up. With nothing going right; the Terps absolutely NEED Greivis. 12-3 Duke.
12:05-Bowie again to the hoop; this time blocked by Zoubek. Henderson slips in on the other end for a layup; and Gary Williams needs a timeout with his team facing a 10-3 deficit just 2 and a half minutes into the game. Not the start they were hoping for……
12:04-Adrian Bowie gets back into his “attack the basket” mode; but it costs him a player controlled foul early on. He has to stick with that though for the Terps to stay in this early….
12:03-Henderson uses a jump step to draw defenders inside; then Scheyer knocks down a 3 off the feed. Scheyer gets another 3 the next time down after a Hayes miss; and it’s 8-3 Duke early.
12:02-Devils start out immediately going inside to Zoubek to take advantage of his size over Neal; he banks it in. Neal responds with a 3; 3-2 Terps.
12:00-Brian Zoubek, Kyle Singler Nolan Smith, Gerald Henderon, and Jon Scheyer are Mike Krzyzewski’s starters; Maryland sticks with Dave Neal, Landon Milbourne, Greivis Vasquez, Adrian Bowie, and Eric Hayes.
11:59-In a very strange development; many of the fans in the student section and elsewhere in the arena participated in the “OH” during the national anthem. When I asked them why they did it; they admitted that they didn’t know. When I informed them that it was a Baltimore tradition; one even admitted to me that he wished fans would stop doing it.
11:55-I’m not sure I will be able to stand for the National Anthem…..
11:52-One of the best things about having the student section breathing down my neck is that they are seriously looking over my shoulder to read my blog. I pointed out their mistake on the cheer sheet regarding the Dave Neal thought; and they made sure to have fun with me every time I started to type a word and then chose to go with another one. This could be an interesting day….
11:39-Thanks to my friend Patrick Stevens from the Washington Times; who brought me a copy of today’s “cheer sheet”; given out to students as they entered the game. If you think these kids take studying for school seriously; you have no idea how much they study their “cheer sheets.”
Amongst the notes given the students for how to cheer during today’s game are the following…….
“Gary Williams tends to sweat. A LOT. Make liberal use of ‘Sweat, Gary, Sweat!’ when he gets nervous. He doesn’t seem to think very highly of us Crazies either, sarcastically noting that, ‘They’re very smart down there. They figure Greivis (Vasquez) is from Venezuela, so that means he knows Spanish. It’s amazing.”
“(Dave) Neal had to take the SAT numerous times just to meet the NCAA eligibility requirement, which was less than 800 on the old scale. Given his history of academic troubles, it’s no surprise that it was Neal’s ‘lifelong dream to be a Terrapin.’ He also weighs 263 pounds. That over 1/3 of his SAT scores.”
(Read that last sentence again. For someone who is making fun of someone else’s perceived inability to read and write; you would think they would know that when you’re trying to spell the word “that’s”, there is typically an apostrophe and a letter “s” at the end.)
And here’s one more……
“Vasquez: where do we even start? This week he said of Cameron Indoor, ‘That’s my house. I love going in there. It’s going to be fun.’ He must figure that it can’t be any worse than his home arena. In a home game against Georgia Tech, a portion of the student section booed Greivis whenever he missed a shot or made a mistake; his response was to repeatedly turn toward the hecklers – even once while dribbling the ball – put his finger to his lips to silence them and shout, ‘Shut the f*** up!’ How pleasant.”
-The students have certainly studied the sheets; as they have made sure to shout things like “Hey Neal, my verbal SAT score is higher than your TOTAL SAT score!” I wonder if they know that students at most schools don’t really think much about what their SAT score was…..
-Another gem I heard was “Hey Vasquez, we like you more than your own fans do!” Of course, when Greivis wouldn’t turn around; they proved they didn’t REALLY like Greivis that much…..
11:34-Well, I’m here. Live from Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham; where the Maryland Terrapins are set to battle the #2 Duke Blue Devils; who are poised to become the country’s new #1 team with a win over Maryland today.
I am sitting along press row; and I cannot begin to explain to you what the atmosphere is like. The Duke student section is ABSOLUTELY breathing down my neck. I’m on the back left side of the court from where you’ll be watching on TV-with Mike Patrick and Len Elmore calling the game for ESPN.
The Terps bring a 13-5 record (2-2 ACC) into the game, and are looking for their first true road victory of the season. The Blue Devils are 17-1 (4-0 ACC); with their only loss coming to Michigan-a team Maryland defeated earlier this season.