College Park, MD I’m going to keep this short. Mostly because even I don’t know how much more can be said.
If the question was “What is the most fitting way Greivis Vasquez could close out his final game in College Park?”, the answer came with 37 seconds to play in the Terrapins’ 79-72 win over Duke Wednesday night.
With the Terps up 71-69 and the shot clock expiring; Vasquez drove to his left, tossed up a floater, and sent one of the most raucous crowds in campus history into a frenzy that was years in the making.
Over his 4 year career, it has never been surprising when Greivis Vasquez would take a tough shot in a big situation. For the first 3 and half years, it was never surprising to see that shot clang off the iron and leave Maryland in a tough spot at the end of the game.
Over the final 3 months of his career, there was almost no chance the shot wasn’t going to go in.
Vasquez’s shot put Maryland up by 2 possessions, icing the most significant win of the season for a Maryland team that now has a chance to clinch at least a share of the ACC regular season title when they play Virginia Saturday in Charlottesville. It was Maryland’s first win over a ranked team all season, and earned vindication from a 21 point loss in Durham on February 13th.
On top of that, it may very well have clinched the ACC Player of the Year award for the senior from Venezuela; with chief rival Jon Scheyer missing big shots in the waning moments for the Blue Devils.
Vasquez finished the night with 20 points, but none were more significant than his 17th and 18th. Moving away from the basket, he knew he was throwing up a prayer. “I’m going to be honest, it went in and I thank God for that. It was an unbelievable shot and it went in. I was going to take the shot and the credit if I made it, and the hit if I missed it. I was going to go for it. I was going to take that risk and I got it in and we won the game.”
What else could you ask for from the player who has almost single-handedly carried his team for the better part of three seasons?
Head Coach Gary Williams added “that’s part of the appeal (of Vasquez). You pull your hair out sometimes.”
Williams-and Maryland fans-have pulled out plenty of hair over the years watching the man known as “The General” lead this team. But when they remember Vasquez five years from now-they’ll remember the night he finished off Duke much more than any night he fell just short.
It was really the only way this game could have ended.