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Freshman Howard saves day for Terps in last-second 75-74 win over College of Charleston

Posted on 11 November 2010 by Luke Jones

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Gary Williams had to be having flashbacks for much of the second half Wednesday night.

Maryland hadn’t played the College of Charleston since 1997, a disappointing first-round upset that sent senior — and current assistant coach — Keith Booth and the Terps home early in the NCAA Tournament.

Current freshman Pe’Shon Howard was only six years old at the time, but his game-winning shot with 4.6 seconds left prevented lightning from striking twice in a thrilling 75-74 win over the Cougars. The point guard scored 14 points and handed out four assists on the night, but no shot was bigger than the falling-away jumper he took after Charleston double-teamed center Jordan Williams in the closing seconds.

“I knew I took care of the ball [on the last possession], so I know I got a good shot,” Howard said. “And I’m just glad it went in.”

Though a November loss for an inexperienced team would not have had the same crushing impact as that defeat in mid-March 13 years ago, it’s never good losing to a non-conference opponent on your home floor. Just ask the Terps, who have fallen victim several times in recent seasons, including once to William & Mary last season despite going on to win a share of the ACC regular season title.

With three seniors graduating from that championship team, including ACC Player of the Year Greivis Vasquez, the question of who would emerge with the Terrapins trailing by six with less than three minutes to go begged to be asked.

No one expected the answer received, however, as Howard didn’t blink in his second collegiate game. The freshman from Oak Hill Academy played the point for much of the second half and was entrusted with the ball after senior Adrian Bowie left with an undisclosed injury at the 3:27 mark. With Maryland trailing 74-68 with 2:42 remaining, Howard hit two field goals to lead a 7-0 run to close the game.

“He never flinched, and that is hard to do as a freshman,” the coach said. “He is a great point guard. I really trust him, and he has confidence in himself. He worked, he scored, and that is great for his confidence. He wanted to come to Maryland for a long time, and he has high goals for himself and the team.”

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Before Howard’s heroic moment, Williams was the star of the night in the paint for Maryland, scoring 26 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. For much of the evening, Williams and Charleston guard Andrew Goudelock (27 points) put on an impressive show at opposite ends of the floor. Cougars coach Bobby Cremins’ team led from the 10:30 mark in the second half until Howard’s shot, looking more like one of the teams Cremins coached as the head man at Georgia Tech against the Terps over a decade ago.

Much will be said about Maryland’s struggles against a Southern Conference team that hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since 1999, but most expected an uneven season for a transitioning Maryland squad that includes six newcomers. The Terps will undoubtedly need to work on their foul-shooting (5-for-18 on the night), a major factor why the Cougars led for much of the second half.

We learned Wednesday the Terps may have found a gem in the 19-year-old from Los Angeles. Perhaps more impressive than his game-winning shot is his work ethic and tenacity. Instead of basking in the glow of being the big man on campus, Howard was practicing his free-throw shooting (1-for-5 from the line Wednesday night) for over 30 minutes after the victory on the Comcast Center floor — at the same end where he hit the game-winner.

He was certainly smiling — as were the rest of the Terps — but you get the sense the freshman believes he’s only scratching the surface.

“It was a great game to get early in the season, but we have a long way to go.”

Howard raised eyebrows in fall practice when he took Vasquez’s No. 21 jersey only months after the senior graduated. His strength and passion has drawn comparisons to a young Vasquez by some, and his heroic shot was an early, convincing statement trying to justify his jersey number choice.

“Right when I made [that shot], I knew that was going to be a big deal, a lot of people talking about [Vasquez’s number],” Howard said. “It’s just fun; I’m going along with it and just taking it all in stride.”

Time will tell whether Howard’s shot will prove more an anomaly than an opening chapter to greatness in College Park, but it was the exact kind of moment Maryland fans are looking forward to this season — a hint for a bright future.

The win over Charleston easily could have been another shocking loss to Morgan State, Ohio, or American like we’ve seen the last few seasons, but the Terps made sure it didn’t happen despite their deficiencies throughout the night.

“Our players fought through a lot of adversity like throwing the ball away a couple of times and poor free-throw shooting,” Williams said. “These were reasons we should not have won the game, and I am very proud of this team.”

NOTES: The sophomore Williams earned several career highs, including points (26), field goals (12), and tied his career high with two steals. … Maryland outscored the Cougars in the paint, 56-26. … There were 13 ties and four lead changes in the game. … When Goudelock made a 3-pointer to give Charleston its largest lead at 37-28 with 2:32 left, the Terps went on a 9-0 run to close the first half and tie the game. … Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from Howard, Gary Williams, Jordan Williams, and Cliff Tucker following the 75-74 win at Comcast Center.

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New-look Terps have room to grow after season-opening win over Seattle

Posted on 09 November 2010 by Luke Jones

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — If a season-opening 105-76 win Monday night is any indication, the Maryland Terrapins will be an exciting and, at times, frustrating team to watch in the early stages of the 2010-2011 season.

In a sloppy game featuring 56 turnovers and 51 fouls between the teams, Maryland showed superior athleticism to an outmatched Seattle team, yet struggled against the Redhawks’ press, committing 29 turnovers.

A 14-2 run put the game out of reach midway through the second half after Seattle had shaved the lead to 66-56 with 11:56 remaining. The Terps shot 80.5 percent from the foul line (33 for 41) in response to 31 fouls by the Redhawks.

“We saw some things that we need to work on,” said coach Gary Williams. “We can be a very good defensive team. We are very quick and have the size; we just have to keep working. It’s not one of those things that will change tomorrow. We just have to get a little better every time we go out there.”

The Terps were led by their only returning starters Sean Mosley (21 points) and Jordan Williams (17 points and 15 rebounds), who will be relied upon most heavily to increase their scoring averages. Senior Cliff Tucker chipped in 16 points as he now steps into a starting role after being a complementary player in his first three seasons in College Park.

The sloppy — but convincing — win also revealed an intriguing battle at the point guard position that might bring change earlier than anyone anticipated. Plagued by early foul trouble, senior Adrian Bowie played just three minutes in the first half, as freshmen Terrell Stoglin and Pe’Shon Howard received the lion’s share of the minutes and didn’t disappoint. Stoglin finished with 15 points — including a 9-for-9 performance from the foul line — and Howard handed out a game-high eight assists.

Despite Bowie starting 28 games as a sophomore, it’s apparent Gary Williams won’t hesitate to play the two freshmen, who both bring dynamic traits to the floor. Stoglin is the quicker of the two, showing a flare for the dramatic already with several behind-the-back passes and the confidence to take the ball to the basket despite his stature (6-foot-1, 185 pounds).

Howard appears to be the steadier, stronger player of the two, committing just three turnovers in 24 minutes and showing an ability to slide to the shooting guard position when both are on the floor.

“They came out with a lot of confidence and they are going to try some passes that they probably got away with in the past and you won’t at this level, but they will learn,” Williams said. “That’s where you see if they are making progress if they don’t go back and do the same mistakes again.”

With a team featuring six newcomers and previous role players trying to fill bigger shoes, it’s difficult to gauge whether the early-season appearance in the 2K Sports Classic Benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer is a benefit or disadvantage to the team’s development. It is the earliest start to the season a Williams-coached team has ever had, at least in terms of the amount of practice time leading into the opener.

“It’s just a learning process,” said Bowie, who rebounded from his first-half stay on the bench to score nine points despite seven turnovers. “We need to work harder together as a team, and we need to work on getting our presses set right and not turn the ball over as much.”

A learning process indeed for a team in transition, but one that figures to be very interesting to watch, as the Terps search for an identity while blending together a plethora of new talent.

NOTES: Maryland scored over 100 points for the first time since Feb. 27, 2010 against Virginia Tech, the 104-100 double-overtime victory in Blacksburg. … The Terps have now won 23 consecutive games when leading at halftime. … Maryland outscored Seattle in the paint 56-44 and 22-14 in fast-break points. … Hosting the College Park Regional of the tournament, the Terps will now host the College of Charleston on Wednesday night. The Cougars eliminated Maryland from the first round of the NCAA Tournament, back in 1997, which happened to be current assistant coach Keith Booth’s senior season. … Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from Gary Williams, Adrian Bowie, Jordan Williams, and Sean Mosley following the 105-76 win.

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Maryland tips off season against Seattle: Turtle Power chat at 8

Posted on 08 November 2010 by Luke Jones

**Join us in the Turtle Power chat at 8:00 for live coverage from College Park!**

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Good evening from Comcast Center as the Terps are set to tip off the 2010-2011 season by hosting independent Seattle University in the College Park Regional of the 2K Sports Classic Benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer. Maryland will also host the College of Charleston on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m.

The Terps dominated Div. II Florida Southern in a 106-58 exhibition win last Monday. Seven players scored at least eight points for the Terps, and eight grabbed at least five rebounds in the lone preseason game of the season.

Of course, the Terps will try to replace the massive scoring hole left behind by the departing senior trio of Greivis Vasquez, Eric Hayes, and Landon Milbourne. Seniors Adrian Bowie, Cliff Tucker, and Dino Gregory will now join returning starters Sean Mosley and Jordan Williams in the starting lineup, but don’t sleep on a talented freshmen class that includes guards Pe’Shon Howard and Terrell Stoglin who are both expected to be a part of the rotation — at least early in the season.

While Seattle (17-14 last season) doesn’t pose much of a threat on paper, you might recognize the head coach from NCAA Tournament lore. Cameron Dollar was a key member of the 1995 champion UCLA Bruins and begins his second season as coach of the Redhawks.

Tonight’s game will be televised on Comcast SportsNet with Michael Reghi and Ron Thompson calling the action. Be sure to join us in the Turtle Power chat, starting at 8:00, as Glenn Clark and I will bring coverage from College Park. As always, follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the latest updates and analysis.

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Terps run Moccasins out of building in 106-58 win

Posted on 01 November 2010 by Luke Jones

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — An exhibition blowout victory over a Div. II school won’t exactly tell you how Maryland will fare this season, but it can’t be ignored completely.

The 106-58 victory against little Florida Southern wasn’t even as close as the final score indicated, as the athletic Terps ran them out of the building (26 fast-break points to 0) and pushed the ball inside (66 points in the paint) from the opening tip and never looked back. Surprisingly, Florida Southern played competively with national runner-up Butler in a 90-70 loss on Saturday, but that’s probably more an indictment of the Bulldogs than a compliment to the Div. II power.

After losing 55 percent of their point production from a season ago — and their top three scorers — the Terps figure to be an interesting team with returning role players needing to do more and six newcomers hoping to break into the rotation.

If Monday night told us anything, what the Terps lack in established senior leadership and perimeter shooting might be made up for with the most athletic team coach Gary Williams has enjoyed in years. This bodes well for the press-style defense Williams likes to employ, leading to the turnovers and transition points needed for a team without a strong perimeter game. It remains to be seen whether that athleticism translates to success on the hardwood, but the early return Monday was positive, with 28 points created off turnovers.

“It was good to see the bench play with that activity,” Williams said, “because you really want that from your bench when your starters are getting tired. They come in and they’re aggressive because they’re a lot fresher, and they can really keep us there until we get our starters back in the game.”

As for emerging senior leadership, Cliff Tucker played one of his finest all-around games — at least against a school not named North Carolina — scoring 15 points while handing out 10 assists and six rebounds. Tucker’s career at Maryland has been a frustrating one, with moments of greatness overshadowed by mental lapses and an admitted lack of dedication during practice. With the likes of Greivis Vasquez and Eric Hayes no longer ahead of him, perhaps Tucker takes a step forward to help make up for their lost scoring.

“I’ve always been a pass-first person, always trying to do whatever it takes to help this team win,” Tucker said. “Coach [Williams] told me at the beginning of this year that I have to help lead this team, so tonight I wanted to do whatever it took to lead the team.”

As for the freshmen, point guard Terrell Stoglin’s quickness and court vision were impressive, making you believe the starting point guard job won’t be automatically ceded to senior Adrian Bowie the entire season. Stoglin finished with nine points, looking comfortable running the half-court offense despite turning it over five times.

“I thought when [Stoglin] went in the game, he really played well in the first half,” Williams said. “He was really alive, active; he showed no fear. He got a little sloppy in the second half. He was probably a little excited with the way he played in the first half.”

Sophomore big man Jordan Williams and junior guard Sean Mosley, the only returning starters from last year’s team, scored 18 and 16 respectively to lead the Terps in scoring.

It was an impressive start, albeit against an inferior opponent. We’ll see if the puzzle pieces begin fitting together even better when the Terps open the season against Seattle next Monday.

NOTES: Senior Dino Gregory and Mosley were voted captains for the 2010-2011 season. … Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from Cliff Tucker, Jordan Williams, and Sean Mosley following the exhibition win.

Final Stats
G Adrian Bowie – 15 points, 6 assists, 3 turnovers
G Cliff Tucker – 15 points, 10 assists, 6 rebounds
G Sean Mosley – 16 points, 4 assists, 6 rebounds
F Dino Gregory – 9 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks
F Jordan Williams – 18 points, 7 rebounds, 2 blocks
Terrell Stoglin – 9 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 5 turnovers
Haukur Palsson – 8 points, 5 rebounds, 2-2 3-pointers
James Padgett – 5 points, 5 rebounds
Ashton Pankey – 5 points, 5 rebounds
Mychal Parker – 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist
Berend Weijs – 2 points, 5 rebounds, 4 blocks
Pe’Shon Howard – 0 points, 5 assists, 2 rebounds
Ersin Levent – 2 points, 1 rebound

FG: 42-75 56.0%
3FG: 4-12 33.3%
FT: 18-30 60.0%

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Questions abundant as Terps tip off practice at Maryland Madness

Posted on 15 October 2010 by Luke Jones

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The lavish, smoky spectacle of Maryland Madness tipping off is always full of surprises, from the over-the-top dancing to the unpredictable entrance of coach Gary Williams, this year as a fighter pilot right out of “Top Gun.”

The event always provides conflicting feelings of optimism and uncertainty. The distinct absence of departing seniors and the premiere of freshman faces is an annual ritual in mid-October, but through all the smoke and pyro, Williams faces a much thicker cloud of questions this season.

The graduation of ACC Player of the Year Greivis Vasquez, Eric Hayes, and Landon Milbourne leaves behind a 43.6-point hole in the offense and an even bigger void in leadership after guiding the Terps to a share of the ACC regular season championship. You just don’t replace one of the more decorated senior classes in the Gary Williams era without significant doubt and tempered expectations.

“What we lose [in the three seniors] is guys who know how to play,” said Williams, beginning his 22nd season at Maryland.

Of course, Williams is not starting from scratch, returning five players who averaged more than 14 minutes per game a year ago. Junior guard Sean Mosley (10.1 points per game) and sophomore big man Jordan Williams (9.6) — the only returning starters — will feel the most pressure to help replace the 55 percent of the scoring pie vacated by the graduated trio.

Mosley has shown the ability to score at times, like in his 26-point effort in a loss to Villanova last December, but the Baltimore native must show more consistency from the perimeter and better ability to finish near the hoop to take his game to the next level where the Terps need it to be.

Williams, on the other hand, appears destined for stardom after a wildly successful freshman campaign in which he averaged nearly a double-double and often looked like one of the most dominant big men in the ACC. The 6-foot-10 center looks leaner and more muscular after providing a powerful presence in the paint as a frosh.

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In terms of leadership, Maryland will look to three seniors who have spent their entire careers as role players. Adrian Bowie, Cliff Tucker, and Dino Gregory have all had their moments in College Park, but none have provided enough consistency to instill confidence that they can fill the shoes left behind by Vasquez, Hayes, and Milbourne.

Among the three seniors, the wildcard who could potentially see the biggest scoring increase is Tucker (5.7 per game as a junior), an enigmatic player who admittedly has spent more time in Williams’ doghouse than in the spotlight of the hardwood. Of course, Tucker has had his moments of brilliance, with his 22-point performance in an overtime win over North Carolina two years ago and his electrifying game-winning three-pointer to top Georgia Tech last season, one of the most exciting moments in the history of the Comcast Center.

“That’s helped me out a lot,” said Tucker about his heroic shot in the 76-74 win on Feb. 20. “It gives coach [Williams] more confidence in me.”

While Maryland will initially lean on its experienced players to start the season, Maryland Madness and the start of fall practice is largely about the newcomers, which include five freshmen and a junior-college transfer.

Guard Pe’Shon Howard has made the bold decision to wear Vasquez’s No. 21 jersey and has already earned praise for the heart with which he plays. Early signs point to him being an emotional player and potential fan-favorite, but will that translate to freshman success?

Mychal Parker’s athleticism and Terrell Stoglin’s quickness appear promising, but how will they translate to the college game?

Can 6-foot-9 forward Ashton Pankey provide help in the frontcourt despite spending the spring and summer recovering from a stress fracture in his left leg?

Is Haukur Palsson — a forward from Iceland — an ACC-caliber player?

All remain question marks with answers we won’t begin to uncover for several more weeks. However,  Williams is eager to unwrap his new presents when practice officially begins on Saturday.

Within the group, perhaps there is a Joe Smith, Juan Dixon, or Vasquez who will shine from Day 1 and pacify concerns over the loss of so much scoring and leadership.

“That’s what’s fun about [starting practice Saturday],” Williams said. “You’ll get some surprises. … You want to stay open to everybody — no preconceived notions.”

Notes: Juan Dixon, Johnny Rhodes, Byron Mouton, Rodney Elliott, and Dave Neal were among the notables present for the annual alumni game. Dixon hit a myriad of three-pointers in his return to College Park. … The basketball team sported their new black uniforms while performing the annual team dance for Maryland Madness. However, it is unknown whether the Terps plan to wear the uniforms due to their lack of success wearing black uniforms in recent seasons. The basketball team’s uniforms have been tweaked this season and are still supplied by Under Armour.

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Maryland topples Duke 79-72, grabs share of 1st place in ACC

Posted on 03 March 2010 by Luke Jones

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Gary Williams and his players have heard it loud and clear over the last couple years.

Undersized.

Not enough talent.

Unable to hang with the ACC’s elite.

So on senior night, Greivis Vasquez, Eric Hayes, and Landon Milbourne had a final opportunity to silence the critics on their home floor at Comcast Center. They and the rest of their teammates did not disappoint.

In a back-and-forth battle that saw nine ties and six lead-changes in the second half, the Terps imposed their will and used a suffocating defense to outscore No. 4 Duke 10-3 in the final two minutes to secure a 79-72 victory, pulling into a first-place tie with the Blue Devils in the ACC standings with one regular season game remaining.

Despite losing a 14-point first-half lead and falling behind by four early in the second half, Maryland’s defense was relentless, holding the Blue Devils to 33 percent shooting after the intermission.

“Defensively, we won the game,” Williams said. “No one scores a lot of points against Duke, but what we did early, we were really hot and made some great plays. At halftime, we had to come out and fight, and for the first eight minutes [of the second half], no one was scoring and it was two really good teams fighting each other.”

As he has all season, Greivis Vasquez led the effort, scoring 13 of his 20 points in the second half including an acrobatic one-handed runner to put Maryland ahead 73-69 with 37 seconds to go. In addition to Vasquez’s customary heroics, the Terps (22-7, 12-3 ACC) again received contributions from different sources at pivotal moments in the game.

Reserve guard Adrian Bowie scored nine points in the second half, including two field goals that gave the Terps a lead and another that tied the game at 65-65 with 4:18 remaining. It was just another example of a role player stepping up at a critical time, a familiar pattern during Maryland’s current six-game winning streak.

“[Bowie] really saved us in the second half,” said Hayes, who finished with 13 points. “We were struggling to score and he came in there when Greivis and I were on the bench, and he provided us a nice spark of scoring, playing good defense, getting out on the break.”

Rebounding from what could politely be called a learning experience in his first meeting against Duke, Jordan Williams continued to show his maturation, standing his ground—and then some—against the tough Duke frontcourt, scoring 15 points and grabbing 11 rebounds to display just how much he learned from his first trip to Durham. It was just another example of the freshman’s dynamic impact this season.

“When you coach a freshman with the potential that Jordan has, that is really an encouraging sign,” Gary Williams said. “You want players to learn. You don’t mind that they get beat early in their careers; you want them to learn.”

And as we look ahead to Saturday’s regular season finale at Virginia and postseason play, it’s time to reflect on what we’ve learned from this team over the last three weeks:

It rebounded from a brutal first half in Raleigh and earned an ugly road win at NC State.

It won on a buzzer-beater against Georgia Tech to preserve a perfect home record in conference play.

The Terps endured a three-hour delay because of a water main break and won in double overtime against a Virginia Tech team that hadn’t lost a game in Blacksburg all season.

And now, the Terps have finally gained the signature win for which the critics have waited all season.

This is the type of victory that not only gives this team more confidence entering the postseason, but it causes us to reconsider our own expectations of how far it can advance into March.

Despite its perceived shortcomings, the Terps have answered every challenge thrown their way over the last three weeks and have done so in impressive—not to mention exciting—fashion.

Critics will continue to point to a lack of size as their biggest weakness and yet the Terps have knocked off Duke, Georgia Tech, and Clemson in the last three weeks, three of the biggest teams the ACC has to offer.

For a group of players that weren’t supposed to be this good, they’re doing a lot to convince us otherwise.

Maybe it’s time to start believing them. Perhaps a deep postseason run is far more likely than anyone thought.

“I’m really proud for our seniors and our team,” Gary Williams said. “They got dogged pretty good last year when they didn’t deserve it. They really picked it up this year and to do what they did, I’m happy that they stuck it to a few people who had some things to say.”

Needless to say, the doubts are falling more and more silent.

And the wins continue coming in loud and clear.

– Maryland snapped a six-game losing streak to Duke and finished the season 15-1 at Comcast Center.

“The crowds have been great,” Gary Williams said. “Hopefully that will continue as the years go on.”

– The Terps have now beaten a top-10 team at least once in 14 straight seasons.

– Vasquez has made 30 consecutive free throws with the streak dating back to the NC State game on Feb. 17.

– Maryland outscored Duke in the paint, 38-26, and held the advantage in fast-break points, 9-0.

Check out the final stats here and the live blog below.

________________________________________

11:03 p.m. — Scheyer misses the layup, and it looks like Maryland will have the opportunity to play for at least a share of the ACC regular season title.

Williams goes to the line and makes them both. Why not?

Andre Dawkins hits the 3-pointer, but it’s all over.

Maryland knocks off No. 4 Duke with a very convincing final few minutes and is now tied for first place in the Atlantic Coach Conference.

Final score: Maryland 79, Duke 72.

And the court is being absolutely mobbed.

11:02 p.m. — Vasquez with the one-handed shot! How did that go in?!

Just a tremendous shot from the best player in the history of Comcast Center.

Following the Duke miss, Mosley is fouled and the native Baltimorean drains a pair of free throws.

Maryland leads 75-69 with 26.2 seconds to play.

11:01 pm. — One minute to play and Maryland up two. Enough said.

11:00 p.m. — Just a HUGE offensive rebound and put-back by Jordan Williams.

Big-time play by the freshman.

10:59 p.m. — After Vasquez has it poked away by Scheyer, Smith’s jumper ties the game.

You get the impression that Hayes could throw the ball toward the rim blindfolded and it’d go in at this point.

10:55 p.m. — At the final media timeout, Maryland leads Duke, 67-65, with 3:26 to go.

What more could you ask for in this one?

10:54 p.m. — Vasquez scores with the running bank shot to give Maryland a 67-65 lead with 3:42 remaining. He now has a team-high 16 points and has absolutely come alive in the last few minutes.

Timeout on the floor.

10:53 p.m. — Despite a slow start, Scheyer now has 17 points after hitting the running left hand in the lane.

Bowie scores on the other end to tie the game.

The pace is just furious in the final four minutes.

10:52 p.m. — Scheyer hits a big triple to put Duke back in front.

And Vasquez answers with his own. His biggest shot of the night by far.

10:51 p.m. — Following another Maryland timeout, Singler goes to the line and makes 1-of-2 to give Duke a two-point advantage.

Mosley maintains his composure and finds a cutting Hayes for the layup. Very calm basketball play right there.

10:50 p.m. — Very quiet night from Vasquez thus far. Does he have one final act in him here at Comcast Center?

10:48 p.m. — Following the break, Vasquez goes to the line and drains a pair to tie the game at 56-56.

The Terps show the press, but Duke handles it.

Following the miss on the other end, Bowie hits the mid-range jumper off the dribble.

10:45 p.m. — We’ve reached the under-8 media timeout with Duke holding a 56-54 advantage over the Terps with 7:43 to go.

10:44 p.m. — Seven unanswered points by Nolan Smith causes Gary Williams to call timeout. He now has 18 for the game.

10:42 p.m. — Thomas just picked up his fourth foul. Bad news for the Blue Devils.

10:41 p.m. — Tough shot by Smith with Bowie right in his face.

Following a Mosley miss, Smith hits another bucket and is fouled by Mosley. He hits the freebie to complete the 3-point play and tie the game with 9:00 to go.

10:36 p.m. — Maryland and Duke go into the under-12 media timeout with the Terps in the midst of a 12-3 run.

The Terps lead 54-49 with 10:43 remaining.

10:35 p.m. — Bowie with ANOTHER huge shot from the perimeter as we’ve seen him do a handful of times over the last few weeks. Despite his shooting struggles this season, he’s really stepped up at some very key times for the Terrapins down the stretch.

10:34 p.m. — Adrian Bowie with the steal and the layup to give Maryland a 49-47 lead. The crowd is once again becoming a MAJOR factor for the first time in the second half.

And it gets even LOUDER as Milbourne throws down a monstrous, one-handed dunk on the next possession!

10:31 p.m. — Too much flare, not enough substance on the last two possessions.

10:30 p.m. — Mason Plumlee goes to the line and makes one of two as Gregory sits down after picking up his third foul.

Williams hits a HUGE jump hook and is fouled on the play. It also sends Zoubek to the bench with his third foul.

The frosh hits the freebie to tie the game as the Comcast crowd comes alive.

10:27 p.m. — The Terps have just four points in the first five minutes of the second half. Fortunately, the Blue Devils haven’t come out on fire either.

Zoubek and the Blue Devils, however, have completely changed the complexion of the game in the paint. They’re just dominating the glass.

10:24 p.m. — At the first media timeout with 15:55 to go, Duke leads Maryland, 46-44.

10:22 p.m. — Very nice to see Williams go to the line and drain two. As I’ve said all year, his form looks too good to be such a poor free-throw shooter.

10:20 p.m. — Scheyer goes to the line and makes two out of three freebies to give Duke a four-point lead.

Really need a bucket here if you’re Maryland.

10:18 p.m. — Not a good decision by Vasquez to try to fit that baseline pass into Hayes.

However, Mosley draws the player-control foul on Smith, Duke’s second team foul of the half.

10:16 p.m. — Vasquez hits the runner in the lane to tie the game. You get the feeling Maryland will need a HUGE second half from Vasquez to pull this one out.

Maybe not “Virginia Tech” big but you get my point.

10:13 p.m. — Scheyer hits a 3-pointer to start the half, and Duke leads 41-40, its first advantage of the night.

Let’s see how the Terps answer.

10:08 p.m. — The teams are back on the court, and we’re about three minutes away from the start of the second half. You have to be impressed with Maryland’s effort on the boards, outrebounding Duke 19-13.

As disappointing as it may have been to lose the comfortable lead, it’s important to keep in mind the Terps were without Milbourne—and to a lesser extent, Gregory— for a significant portion of the half.

9:56 p.m. — We’ve reached the end of the first half with Maryland now holding a very slim 40-38 lead over the Blue Devils.

Very disappointing outcome for a half in which the Terps held a 14-point lead with 6:14 remaining. It will be very interesting to see how Maryland responds after losing a comfortable advantage going into the intermission.

9:55 p.m. — Lots of dribbling on that final possession and Mosley comes up well short on the attempt from beyond the arc.

Duke takes a 30-second timeout with 0.8 seconds remaining

9:54 p.m. — After a week attempt by Milbourne matched up against Miles Plumlee, a Scheyer 3-pointer has cut the lead to two points. It was only a matter of time before he connected.

9:52 p.m. — And just like that, it’s a five-point game after a triple by Smith. Much closer than how this one has felt for most of the half, so you have to be concerned if you’re a Maryland fan.

9:50 p.m. — Singler hits the 3-pointer to cut the lead to nine points. His versatility is very impressive.

The Terps answer with a basket inside by Williams.

Tucker picks up his second foul on the other end as Single completes the three-point play. These are two big minutes for Maryland.

9:45 p.m. — Thomas has no problem inside against Padgett and scores inside.

We’ve reached the final media timeout of the first half with Maryland leading Duke, 36-26 with 3:23 to go.

9:43 p.m. — Gregory goes up to challenge Smith’s drive and earns the foul with the body. That’s Gregory’s second, so Padgett will come in to replace him.

Will be crucial for the two freshmen bigs to play well in the final five minutes before halftime.

Hayes scores inside on another fancy shot inside. He’d be a tough opponent in a game of HORSE right now.

9:41 p.m. — Mosley drains a 3-ball to give Maryland a 14-point lead. It’s safe to say his slump is a distant memory at this point.

Miles Plumlee attempts his first 3-pointer of the year and makes it. Go figure.

9:37 p.m. — Hayes hits the triple, but perhaps the even bigger story is the apparent hand injury to Zoubek. Losing him would be devastating for the Devils.

We’ve reached the under-8 media timeout with Maryland leading 30-19 with 6:42 to go before intermission.

9:34 p.m. — That one on Vasquez was very “questionable” to say the least, but I digress.

9:33 p.m. — Two fouls on Lance Thomas does not bode well for Duke’s defensive efforts. He’s a very effective and versatile member of the frontcourt.

Both teams now have five team fouls as Jordan Williams just picked up his first. Very physical game so far.

9:31 p.m. — Singler goes right inside against Tucker. Definitely not a favorable match-up there for the Terps, but Single presents a problem for just about anyone.

9:29 p.m. — Juan Dixon is here and just received a huge ovation. Despite the recent steroid-related news surrounding the Maryland legend, was there any question this place would go nuts anyway?

Padgett turns it over again, sending him to the bench. He’s getting a lecture from Keith Booth as we speak.

9:26 p.m. — James Padgett and Adrian Bowie are into the game. Padgett will probably see a couple more minutes than he normally would have given Milbourne’s foul trouble.

Vasquez scores on the runner to give him seven points.

Following a ticky-tack foul on Gregory, we’ve reached the under-12 media timeout with Maryland leading Duke, 21-8 with 11:43 to go in the first half.

9:24 p.m. — If Tucker’s going to hit THAT shot in the lane, I’m not sure the Blue Devils have a chance in this one.

9:23 p.m. — Nice job by Cliff Tucker to clean up the glass and secure the second-chance points for the Terps.

Maryland leads, 17-7. Cannot ask for much more at this point.

The Terps are also doing a very nice job fighting on the boards.

9:21 p.m. — Gregory with the offensive rebound to keep the possession alive, and Vasquez eventually finds a cutting Hayes for the fancy reverse layup. Hayes has really done a nice job with improving his short game.

On the next possession, Jordan Williams with a MONSTROUS dunk over Scheyer.

WOW.

For good measure, the big man completes the 3-point play.

9:18 p.m. — David Pearman has as many buckets as Duke right now. Let’s see how the delay impacts this one.

And as I type that, Singler drains a triple. Perfect.

9:16 p.m. — Could this have come at a worse time for the Terps? The last thing you want is a delay when you’re playing well, and Duke cannot buy a bucket.

9:13 p.m. — Milbourne picks up his second foul, sending him to the bench. That could spell major trouble for the Terps.

Dino Gregory needs to give them some huge minutes here in the first half.

We have a delay right now as they must fix a torn net. Haven’t seen that one happen very often.

9:11 p.m. — You think the Terps are looking for the long-range looks?

Milbourne rattles in a 3-ball, and it’s 10-2. Duke is just ice-cold to start this one.

9:09 p.m. — Maryland able to get into its press early, something the Terps were unable to do in Durham last month. Let’s see how Duke handles it.

Vasquez takes another 3-point shot in transition and drains it.

Maryland needs 7-0, and this place is a complete madhouse!

9:07 p.m. — Williams absolutely stuffs Kyle Singler, but the Terps fail to convert in transition on the other end. Mosley HAS to make that layup.

Duke still looking for its first points of the night.

9:06 p.m. — After controlling the opening tip, Eric Hayes hits a runner in the lane for the first points of the game. Just an explosive reaction from the crowd.

Wow.

9:04 p.m. — We’re almost ready for the tip. The student section is decked out in a “Gold Rush” as the school passed out t-shirts for students to sport.

Very cool scene here at Comcast.

9:00 p.m. — I’m going to go out on a limb here, but I’m guessing this crowd is not enamored with the Blue Devils. The loudest “SUCKS!” chants I’ve heard all year during the announcement of their starting lineup.

And it’s not even close.

8:55 p.m. — Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

Duke
G Jon Scheyer
G Nolan Smith
F Kyle Singler
F Lance Thomas
C Brian Zoubek

Maryland
G Eric Hayes
G Greivis Vasquez
G Sean Mosley
F Landon Milbourne
F Jordan Williams

8:51 p.m. — Greivis Vasquez and Gary Williams embrace in a very emotional moment as the flashbulbs pop, and the senior from Caracas, Venezuela receives the deafening ovation from the Maryland fans.

Just a brilliant career and the greatest player in the—albeit brief—history of Comcast Center.

8:50 p.m. — Milbourne receives another loud ovation. You know he’d love to have a huge night to break out of his recent slump.

8:48 p.m. — Jerome Burney was honored first to a nice hand. Nice to see him get some recognition despite his playing career already coming to an end.

HUGE ovation for Eric Hayes. Well-deserve and one of the best 3-point shooters in school history.

8:46 p.m. — With Maryland set to honor all three of its seniors (and assistant trainer/former player Jerome Burney who will graduate in the spring), it’s a good move to hold off on raising the jersey of Vasquez to the Comcast rafters. It’s clearly only a matter of when the school will do it, not if.

When you have two other seniors in Hayes and Milbourne who have been crucial pieces of the program for the last four years, it’s a smart move to refrain from singling out Vasquez. Everyone knows he will unquestionably go down as one of the finest players in school history, but Hayes and Milbourne deserve the spotlight tonight as well. All three will bask in the adoration before turning their attention to Duke.

I also cannot help but think back to 2001 when Maryland went into Durham and beat Duke on Shane Battier’s senior night, so waiting on the extra honor for Vasquez is probably a prudent move. No need to give the Blue Devils any extra motivation in a hostile environment.

8:37 p.m. — As they have throughout the conference home schedule, the Terps will wear gold againts Duke tonight. Maryland is undefeated in the gold duds this season. Is one more too much to ask?

Just an electric atmosphere at Comcast, and we’re still over 20 minutes away from tip-off.

8:30 p.m. — Greetings from Comcast Center as we await the start of arguably the biggest game in the brief eight-year history of the building. It’s a game that needs no build-up; the circumstances speak for themselves.

Senior Night and the final home game for a triumvirate of seniors in Greivis Vasquez, Eric Hayes, and Landon Milbourne.

A share of first place on the line.

Jon Scheyer and Vasquez facing off in a final grapple for ACC Player of the Year honors.

Mike Krzyzewski and Gary Williams matching wits to possibly determine ACC Coach of the Year.

And oh yeah, DUKE is here.

Need I say more?

There isn’t much more to be said as No. 4 Duke (25-4, 12-2 ACC) comes to Comcast Center to battle the No. 22 Maryland Terrapins (21-7, 11-3 ACC). A win catapults the Terps into a first-place tie with the Blue Devils with one regular season game remaining.

Maryland will try to avenge a humbling 77-56 defeat in Durham on Feb. 13 when the Terps shot only 37.7 percent and were beat up inside by big man Brian Zoubek (16 points, 17 rebounds). It continued a six-game losing streak against the Blue Devils, dating back to 2007 when Vasquez, Hayes, and Milbourne were freshmen and knocked bested Duke twice in the same season.

For Maryland to extract revenge and grab a share of first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference, it will need to find a way to generate more from its half-court offense than it did last month at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke is very tough defensively and does a tremendous job of limiting fast-break opportunities for the opposition—a strength of the Maryland offense.

The Devils also do a tremendous job guarding the 3-point shot, allowing ACC opponents to shoot only 23.5 percent from beyond the arc. Maryland is tops in the conference in 3-point shooting (42.5 percent), and it’s well-chronicled how much better this team shoots in the friendly confines of Comcast.

The Blue Devils hold the edge inside, so the Terps will need a strong effort on the glass to limit second-chance opportunities. Maryland will need big efforts from Jordan Williams, Milbourne, and reserve Dino Gregory to offset the presence of Zoubek and Kyle Singler in the paint.

All of the stars are out tonight on press row as ESPN’s Dan Shulman, Jay Bilas, and Erin Andrews will call the action (9:00 p.m.) on the Worldwide Leader. Terps fanatic Scott Van Pelt is here (wearing a gold Terps polo and looking fired up) as a spectator. I’ve even spotted a few recognizable Baltimore/Washington media members who I haven’t seen at Comcast Center all year.

Must be a big game, right?

Stay with us right here at WNST.net throughout the evening, and don’t forget to chime in with your thoughts in the Comments section at the bottom of the page. As always, don’t forget to track us on Twitter (@WNST) as Glenn Clark and other WNST personalities offer thoughts and analysis throughout the game.

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Vasquez’s 41 points lead Maryland past Virginia Tech, 104-100 in 2 OT thriller

Posted on 27 February 2010 by Luke Jones

It may have lacked the all-around brilliance of his triple-double against powerful North Carolina a season ago, but Greivis Vasquez’s performance in Blacksburg may have accomplished even more for himself and his team on Saturday night.

Maryland faced a desperate Virginia Tech team, losers of two in a row and sitting squarely on the NCAA tournament bubble. The Hokies had not lost a game at raucous Cassell Coliseum all season. And still, Vasquez nearly beat them by himself.

Behind a career-high 41 points—three shy of the school’s single-game record and the most by a Terrapin since Joe Smith’s 40 against Duke in 1995—Vasquez led Maryland to a 104-100 victory over Virginia Tech in a double-overtime thriller at Cassell Coliseum.

The performance not only locked up the No. 2 seed in the ACC Tournament for Maryland (21-7, 11-3 ACC) but likely catapulted Vasquez into the driver’s seat for ACC Player of the Year honors.

Amazingly, Vasquez’s night started out slowly as he struggled through 2-of-10 shooting and had only eight at the break as Maryland trailed 37-31. The hostile Virginia Tech crowd jeered him throughout the night, chanting “USA!” and other vicious barbs at the Venezuelan native, but Vasquez fed off the animosity in the second half and got better.

And better.

And even better.

Before Sean Mosley hit the final two free throws to seal the four-point victory in the final seconds of the second overtime, Vasquez had scored 33 points after the break, passing Albert King into third place on the Maryland all-time scoring list along the way.

The senior hit five 3-pointers, was a perfect 10-of-10 from the charity stripe, grabbed seven rebounds, and handed out six assists. He scored inside and out, making countless big shots to lead the second-half comeback.

While Vasquez was the star of the evening—besting fellow ACC Player of the Year candidate Malcolm Delaney who scored 27 points in a losing effort—perhaps the most encouraging sign for the Terps was his teammates’ ability to step up in the extra periods to seal the victory.

Feeling the effects of playing all but two minutes in the double-overtime battle, Vasquez missed a potential game-winning shot at the end of the first overtime and scored just five points in the 10 extra minutes. However, fellow senior Eric Hayes drained 5-of-6 free throws in the extra sessions, two of which tied the score late in the first overtime, and finished with 12 points.

Mosley continued his offensive resurrection with 17 points on 6-for-8 shooting. Six of Mosley’s points came in the second overtime to finally push the Terps to victory.

Maryland made its free throws (22-for-27) and got the defensive stops when needed despite strong efforts from Delaney, Jeff Allen (25), and Dorenzo Hudson (21).

The win improves Maryland’s ACC road record to 4-3 and likely catapults the Terrapins into the top 25 for the first time since November. It was Maryland’s fourth straight comeback win from a second-half deficit and fifth straight win overall.

As much as his teammates may have provided the support in the final 10 minutes, the night belonged to Vasquez and is just another example of what he’s meant to Maryland this season. No player means more to his team in the Atlantic Coast Conference than Vasquez.

If he’s not the best player in the ACC this year, I still haven’t seen who’s better. Not Delaney or Jon Scheyer or Sylven Landesberg.

No one.

Talk about his combustible personality, his tendency to say the wrong thing, or his occasionally suspect decision making all you want, but there’s a reason why his jersey’s going to be raised to the Comcast Center rafters on Senior Night this Wednesday.

Vasquez will go down as perhaps the most under-appreciated player in school history, but he will undoubtedly leave College Park as one of its greatest too.

He’ll have one final act in front of the home crowd on Wednesday night against his nemesis Duke. It’s the one school that’s gotten the best of him in his career, with much of it brought on himself with the claims of Cameron Indoor Stadium being “his house” the last two seasons before embarrassing losses.

Unlike those two contests, Vasquez will actually be in “his house” one last time against Duke on Wednesday, and he’ll desperately seek redemption against the Blue Devils.

And with the way he’s playing right now and knowing it’s his final game in “his house,” I wouldn’t bet against him.

Check out the final stats here and the live blog below.

____________________________________________

9:47 p.m. — Hayes gets the inbound pass and is fouled again. He goes to the line for two and misses the second.

Virginia Tech has it down by two, and Erick Green misses the 3-point attempt. Hard to believe Delaney gave that one up.

Mosley is fouled and goes to the line. He drains them both, and Maryland is going to win it.

Maryland defeats Virginia Tech in double overtime, 104-100.

An EPIC battle.

9:45 p.m. — Delaney gets to the basket with absolute ease with Vasquez offering little resistance and not wanting to give the three-point play opportunity.

Huge possession here for the Terps with 15.9 to go.

9:44 p.m. — Hayes goes to the stripe and drains them both. Who else would you want at the line in that situation? Steady.

Maryland leads, 101-98, with 21.3 seconds remaining.

9:41 p.m. — Allen completes the three-point play after Williams is called for the blocking foul.

One-point game and Hayes going to the line for two shots.

9:40 p.m. — Vasquez fouls Delaney on the shot, sending him to the line for two shots with 39.5 to play.

He misses both free throws. Wow.

Mosley is fouled and makes them both.

9:36 p.m. — Delaney hits the first and, following the timeout, drains the second to cut the lead to two points with 1:16 remaining.

Vasquez cannot hit the runner, but Hudson misses the layup on the other end. Unfortunately for Maryland, the ball goes off Gregory out of bounds and it stays with Virginia Tech.

9:32 p.m. — Critical misses by Allen on that trip to the line with Maryland up by four.

The Terps work some clock, but Vasquez cannot hit the shot off the glass.

Going the other way, Delaney is fouled by Vasquez.

9:30 p.m. — Did Gregory call that one? I don’t care if he didn’t, quite frankly.

9:29 p.m. — Gregory hits both free throws to give the Terps the early lead in the second overtime.

Delaney cannot score inside and Vasquez scores on the other end to give him 41 points.

9:26 p.m. — Having the clock fail to start matches up with everything else that’s gone wrong in this one at the Coliseum.

What a game though!

9:25 p.m. — Sorry for the lack of an update. Clearly we’ve gone to double overtime.

Let’s see what Vasquez and company have left for another five minutes.

9:21 p.m. — Hayes goes to the line for two and makes them both to tie the game.

41.1 seconds to go in this one.

9:20 p.m. — Bell hits the triple to put Tech up by two points with under a minute to go.

UGH.

9:18 p.m. — Gregory cannot hit the jumper, and the Hokies have the ball, down by one.

Great defense by the Terps to force the 35-second violation.

9:17 p.m. — Thompson goes inside and draws the foul on Milbourne, his fifth.

Nice early contribution from him in overtime but a very forgettable night for him.

9:14 p.m. — A vicious pick by Jordan Williams on Delaney gives Vasquez the room to drill the triple.

39 points for Vasquez!

9:12 p.m. — Milbourne hits a shot. He NEEDED that one on so many levels.

9:10 p.m. — Maryland is 0-1 in overtime games this year.

Hope it’s a better outcome than the Wake Forest game.

9:06 p.m. — Hard to tell if his foot was on the line. I’m not watching in high definition, so it’s hard to tell.

9:04 p.m. — How do you just give Thompson an open look like that?

Un-fricking-believable.

9:03 p.m. — 18 seconds to go.

Maryland by 3.

9:01 p.m. — That just CANNOT happen. Milbourne with a critical turnover.

Ugh.

8:59 p.m. — Vasquez draws the blocking foul on Allen, sending him to the line for a 1-and-1.

He hits both to give him 36 points and the Terps a three-point lead.

8:57 p.m. — Vasquez with his BIGGEST shot of the game, a 3-ball to give the Terps a one-point lead.

Unbelievable performance. 34 points.

8:55 p.m. — The Terps desperately need a stop down by two points, and they get it with the Allen miss.

Off the inbound pass, Vasquez finds Milbourne for the layup to tie the game.

Wow.

8:52 p.m. — We’ve reached the final media timeout with the game tied 73-73.

Vasquez with a new season-high of 31 points.

8:51 p.m. — That was a nice, composed possession after throwing up some off-balance shots over the last couple minutes.

8:49 p.m. — Maryland desperately needs someone else to step up on the offensive end as Vasquez is definitely cooling off.

Hudson draws the blocking foul on Gregory and scores the basket.

72-69 Virginia Tech with a timeout on the floor.

8:47 p.m. — Gregory with the nice look inside to Milbourne for the layup.

Vasquez steals the inbound pass but then takes the 3-pointer and misses. Wasn’t necessarily a bad shot, but it gave the Terps no chance at an offensive rebound.

8:41 p.m. — We’ve reached the under-8 timeout. Maryland leads Tech, 67-66.

8:40 p.m. — That shot from Vasquez worries me. He was facing a double team yet still chucked up the 3-ball attempt. Obviously he’s not getting a lot of help, but he cannot do it all by himself.

Allen is absolutely killing the Terps right now.

8:38 p.m. — You can just see Vasquez getting in that frame of mind where he’s looking to score every time down the floor. Virginia Tech has no answers either.

We’ve got a good one in Blacksburg.

8:36 p.m. — Vasquez takes it inside for the finger roll. Making it look easy.

8:32 p.m. — Virginia Tech leads 59-58 with 11:18 remaining at the second media timeout of the second half.

8:29 p.m. — Vasquez with a very ill-advised shot, but then gets the steal and scores on a 3-on-1 disadvantage. Maryland takes a timeout, trailing by one.

8:27 p.m. — Allen with a very smart play going right after Milbourne with three fouls.

The scoring pace has picked up considerably in the first eight minutes of this one.

8:25 p.m. — Vasquez is absolutely torching the Hokies. Maryland is now on an 11-2 run and has regained the lead.

The Tech fans might want to think about leaving the senior from Venezuela alone for a little while.

8:20 p.m. — Gregory with the offensive board and gets it out to Vasquez for ANOTHER three. You can tell he’s really feeding off a hostile Cassell Coliseum crowd.

Perhaps the Hokies fans should have passed out a cheer sheet like NC State did earlier in the year. The jeers may end up hurting the Hokies’ chances in this one.

8:19 p.m. — Hayes with the active hands and dishes back to Vasquez for the triple to cut the lead to three points. Nice to see Hayes so active on the defensive end.

8:17 p.m. — Hudson continuing to have a big night with 15 points already.

Milbourne misses inside, but Williams fights hard for the offensive board and draws the foul.

Air-balling free throws will not help the cause at all.

8:14 p.m. — Virginia Tech looked much better beating the press that time and has now scored three straight times off the press.

Vasquez looks like he’s starting to get it going and now has 12 points.

Unfortunately, Delaney is heating up as well.

8:12 p.m. — The second half is underway with Hayes hitting a triple right off the bat. Definitely need to get him going after a quiet first half.

7:56 p.m. — We’ve reached the intermission with Virginia Tech leading Maryland, 37-31.

7:54 p.m. — Maryland shows the press and gives the Hokies trouble, but didn’t finish the play. Not enough urgency in going after the loose ball.

7:52 p.m. — Hokies fans displaying their class in chanting “USA!” at Vasquez. I’m as patriotic as the next guy, but I’m not sure I like chanting that at a foreign-born player.

7:51 p.m. — Vasquez doesn’t get a lot of credit for his defense, but he’s doing an outstanding job on Delaney so far in this one.

Maryland is being very sloppy with the basketball over its last few possessions.

7:48 p.m. — Nice feed inside to Padgett from Hayes, and the freshman shows nice control in going up for the basket.

Maryland continues to struggle from the outside with only Mosley having any real success from the perimeter in the first half.

7:46 p.m. — Gregory just ERASED that shot. Unfortunately, Vasquez loses it on the other end.

7:45 p.m. — Two fouls apiece for Milbourne and Williams. Meanwhile, Allen has only one for the Hokies.

Not exactly what you envisioned heading into this one if you’re a Maryland fan.

7:42 p.m. — Think Jordan Williams was padding his stats there?

On the other end, J.T. Thompson scores and is fouled by Jordan Williams, his second.

We’ve reached the final media timeout of the first half with the Hokies leading the Terps, 28-25, with 3:50 remaining.

7:40 p.m. — Once again, Maryland is having serious issues rebounding the basketball. You can understand it against the Georgia Techs and the Clemsons of the conference, but there’s no excuse against Virginia Tech.

7:38 p.m. — Delaney drains the 3-pointer for his first field goal. Hopefully that doesn’t get him going.

The Terps fail to score on the other end, and Allen scores in the paint to take a 24-23 lead for Virginia Tech.

Timeout, Maryland.

7:34 p.m. — Why is Gregory shooting the ball two feet inside the 3-point line? Thankfully, Hayes scores on the second-chance opportunity.

We’ve reached the under-8 media timeout with Maryland leading Virginia Tech, 21-19.

7:32 p.m. — Despite Allen’s reputation, there was clearly no intent there. Good non-call by the officiating crew.

Cliff Tucker with some very questionable decision-making in the early going tonight. Not sure why he passed up an open opportunity in the lane to dish it out to Gregory 15 feet from the basket.

7:28 p.m. — Hopefully the stinger to the neck/shoulder of Mosley is just a minor thing. You’d hate to see something serious, especially when he’s shooting the ball so well.

7:23 p.m. — When asked about his shooting slump after the Clemson game, Mosley said he didn’t think he was in a slump.

Whatever you wanted to call it, it’s clear he’s looking much better offensively.

Jordan Williams scores inside, plus the foul.

We’ve reached the second media timeout with the Terps leading the Hokies, 15-11.

7:21 p.m. — Those are the types of things Mosley does that are so invaluable yet do not show up on the stat sheet. Yes, he’s struggled offensively in conference play, but don’t underestimate his impact.

7:18 p.m. — Seeing Mosley hit some outside shots HAS to excite you as a Terps fan. If he can regain his early-season form from the perimeter, this team becomes that much more dangerous.

7:16 p.m. — We’ve reached the first media timeout with Maryland and Virginia Tech tied 8-8 with 15:24 remaining.

7:13 p.m. — Very nice step-around move by Davila to get by Jordan Wiliams. Don’t see that happen too often to the Maryland frosh.

Allen scores inside against Milbourne to give the Hokies a two-point edge.

7:11 p.m. — You think the Hokies fans dislike Vasquez or something?

Neither teams doing very much offensively in the first few minutes. The energy level has been there for both teams, however. I was curious to see how fast these teams started after a three-hour wait.

7:09 p.m. — I like seeing the Terps take the ball inside on their first few possessions. This team has clearly struggled with its perimeter shooting on the road this season.

Hayes continues to show an improved ability to take the ball to the basket, only improving his chances for open looks from the perimeter.

7:05 p.m. — The match-up between Delaney and Mosley—two Baltimore products that are very familiar with each other—will definitely be one to watch. Mosley did a nice job against his Charm City counterpart a year ago as the Terps earned the victory at Comcast Center.

6:57 p.m. — Here are tonight’s starters:

Maryland
G Eric Hayes
G Greivis Vasquez
G Sean Mosley
F Landon Milbourne
F Jordan Williams

Virginia Tech
G Malcolm Delaney
G Dorenzo Hudson
F Terrell Bell
F Jeff Allen
C Victor Davila

6:55 p.m. — In a contest already being labeled the Outhouse Game, it appears Maryland will finally tip off against Virginia Tech in the next 15 minutes. A water main break earlier this afternoon delayed the game by three hours and has disabled running water in the Cassell Coliseum bathrooms, forcing fans to use nearby facilities (That’s where the outhouse reference comes in. Clever, isn’t it?)

With the delay, I’m sure the Terps (20-7, 10-3 ACC) were able to follow North Carolina’s upset victory over Wake Forest, giving Maryland an opportunity to clinch the No. 2 seed in the ACC with a victory over the Hokies tonight.

On the other side, Virginia Tech (21-6, 8-5 ACC) has lost two in a row and currently sits 47th in the projected RPI, leaving the Hokies with work to do to secure a bid between now and Selection Sunday. The Hokies’ most recent loss came on Wednesday night, an inexplicable 80-60 loss at Boston College.

The Hokies are of course led by Baltimore product Malcolm Delaney who leads the ACC in scoring at 20.2 points per game and is among the top candidates—Maryland’s Greivis Vasquez included—for ACC Player of the year.

In addition to Delaney’s scoring prowess, Virginia Tech has two other players averaging double-digit scoring with Dorenzo Hudson (14.0) and Jeff Allen (11.3). Allen is a formidable threat in the paint, but has been unable to avoid foul trouble, averaging 3.6 fouls per contest.

Virginia Tech does not possess an imposing frontcourt, so it’s critical for Allen to stay on the floor to counteract the presence of Maryland freshman Jordan Williams.

With a delay of this nature, it’s difficult to say who really has the advantage, but Virginia Tech is clearly feeling more pressure at this point in the season, so three extra hours to think about consecutive losses to Duke and Boston College probably didn’t help its mental psyche. On the other hand, the Hokies are undefeated at Cassell Coliseum this season (when the bathrooms actually worked), so it’s clearly a very intimidating atmosphere for the Terps.

Tonight’s game will be televised on WNUV-TV 54 in Baltimore despite concerns that it would not due to the delay.

Stay with WNST.net throughout the game, and feel free to chime in with your thoughts on the Comments section at the bottom of the page. As always, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for thoughts from various WNST personalities throughout the evening.

6:00 p.m. — I just received the OFFICIAL word from the University of Maryland the game would be televised on WNUV-TV 54 in Baltimore at 7:00 p.m.

The game will also be shown on WDCA-TV in Washington.

5:37 p.m. — Despite more reported issues at Cassell Coliseum, the game will tip off at 7:00 p.m. Apparently the restrooms inside the building are not functioning, and fans will be allowed to use surrounding restrooms.

It’s a good thing there are so many outhouses in Blacksburg.

5:05 p.m. — According to Patrick Stevens (D1scourse), the start of tonight’s game has now been moved to 7:00 p.m. The water issues have been fixed according to Virginia Tech officials.

5:00 p.m. — In an effort to keep this blog going until the start of the game at 6:30, I thought I’d pass along this witty comment from our good buddy Rich.

No truth to the rumor that Tiger Woods was driving the beer truck that hit the fire hydrant outside Cassell Coliseum and caused the water main break.

4:23 p.m. — With the news of North Carolina upsetting Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, Maryland is now in a position to clinch no worse than the No. 2 seed in the ACC Tournament with a win over Virginia Tech tonight.

A couple weeks ago, Dino Gaudio’s Demon Deacons were looking quite possibly like the second-best team in the ACC, but a three-game losing streak—with the last two coming against the two worst teams in the conference—has dropped them to 8-6 in the conference.

4:05 p.m. — I just got off the phone with WNUV-TV 54 in Baltimore, and the network still plans to air the Maryland game despite the start being moved from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m.

That should be a major relief to anyone in the Baltimore area.

3:45 p.m. — Good afternoon, and thanks for joining me here on WNST.net to watch the Terps (20-7, 10-3 ACC) take on the Virginia Tech Hokies (21-6, 8-5 ACC) at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg.

The game was scheduled to tip off at 4:00 p.m. on Raycom (locally on WNUV-TV 54 in Baltimore), but a water main break at Cassell Coliseum has pushed the start to 6:30 p.m.

A Raycom Sports official said the game will still be telecast on the network, but it will be up to each individual affiliate as to whether it will carry the broadcast, according to a University of Maryland official.

We’ll be following this story in the coming hours.

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Terps fight back in 2nd half to drop Clemson, 88-79

Posted on 24 February 2010 by Luke Jones

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — It looked like Maryland was on the verge of being run out of the gym halfway through the first half on Wednesday night.

With their top three rebounders stuck on the bench with two fouls apiece and Greivis Vasquez struggling through the effects of a stomach bug, the Terps’ perfect home record in ACC play looked to be in serious jeopardy, having already suffered a 15-0 Clemson run as the Tigers capitalized on second-chance opportunities and continued to hit shots from beyond the arc.

Instead of falling further behind (Maryland had trailed by 15 points with 9:29 remaining), a makeshift rotation that included freshman James Padgett weathered the final five minutes of the first half and actually cut the halftime deficit to nine, keeping the Terps within striking distance. Maryland responded with a 49-point explosion in the second half—and held Clemson to just 31—on its way to an 88-79 victory.

“That was one of those games where you find out a little bit more about yourself as you go through the year as a team,” coach Gary Williams said. “It was a good test for us, not that we wanted to be in that situation against a team as good as Clemson. But we were there, and we had to handle it. We did a good job in the second half.”

Receiving contributions from numerous players, Maryland shot a white-hot 60 percent from the field in the second half and made five of seven 3-pointers (8-for-13 overall). None was bigger than Vasquez’s triple to complete the second-half comeback and give the Terps a 70-67 lead with 7:26 remaining. It was a lead Maryland would not relinquish as it improved to 10-3 in the ACC and tightened its grip on second place, a game behind Duke in the loss column.

Four Maryland players reached double-digit scoring, but the most encouraging contribution came from sophomore Sean Mosley who scored 20 points, rebounding from an extended slump and flashing the form he showed in the first two months of the season. Mosley scored the first seven points of the game for the Terps and finished 6-for-8 from the field and 2-for-3 from beyond the arc.

“I got the feel for the game early,” he said. “Every time I touched the ball or got an open look, I let it go. Every time it left my hand it felt like it was going in. It was just me playing aggressive.”

After struggling against the Clemson press in the first half, Maryland settled down and ran the half-court offense efficiently with Vasquez dishing out 13 assists in addition to his 15 points—13 of which came in the second half. On a night when the senior captain was clearly not 100 percent, his vision was brilliant in finding open teammates for high-percentage shots.

Maryland also found the answer in stopping standout forward Trevor Booker who dominated the first half with 11 points and eight rebounds. A combination of Jordan Williams and Dino Gregory held the Clemson big man to just two points and one rebound in the second half.

“Booker’s a great player,” said Jordan Williams, who finished with 18 points and five rebounds despite dealing with foul trouble for much of the night. “He’s a great rebounder and he plays inside-out, so I was chasing him a little bit out to the 3-point line, so it was tough for me to get rebounds tonight.”

As they have throughout the conference schedule at Comcast Center, the Terps played the second half with a higher energy level and overwhelmed their opponent, transforming what looked like their biggest challenge at home to date into a second-half shellacking.

And unlike the way it wilted in the final five minutes after briefly taking a second-half lead in the teams’ first meeting (being outscored 12-3 and losing 62-53), Maryland tightened its grip instead of finding satisfaction with the lead.

“We just wanted to keep trying to push it until it was over,” Jordan Williams said. “We didn’t want to get too excited and lose what we’d done to get there. That’s a sign of a good team.”

Now 20-7 and 10-3 in the ACC, Maryland appears to be an absolute lock for the NCAA tournament and is in outstanding shape for a first-round bye in the ACC tournament in Greensboro. After the game, Gary Williams made it clear just how good of a win he thought it was for his team—and take a shot at the lack of respect the ACC has received this year.

“You can’t tell me that a team like Clemson is not good enough to be in the NCAA tournament,” he said. “It just seems like it’s okay for other conferences to play great games between two good basketball teams. I think Clemson will show down the stretch that they are a worthy basketball team.”

– Vasquez moved into fourth place on Maryland’s career scoring list, passing John Lucas (2,015) and Adrian Branch (2,017) and now has 2,028 points in his career. The basket that moved him past Branch and into fourth place was the same shot that gave Maryland a 70-67 lead with 7:26 to play, the team’s first lead since early in the first half.

The senior guard also matched a season-high with 13 assists, eight coming in the first half.

– Eric Hayes led the Terps with 12 first-half points on 5-for-8 shooting. The senior finished the game with 15 points and three assists.

– Four Terps scored in double figures, making it the 14th time this season that at least four Maryland players had reached double-digit scoring. Mosley led the way with 20, Williams scored 18, and Vasquez and Hayes each chipped in 15 points.

– Maryland improved its record to 3-7 when trailing at the half and 3-3 in ACC play.

Check out the final stats here and the live blog below.

______________________________________________

11:01 p.m. — Maryland leads 88-79 as the students begin to chant “We Want Duke!”

This one’s in the books. After a very rocky first half, the Terps come out and play an outstanding second half.

Final score: Maryland 88, Clemson 79.

Back shortly with the post-game wrap.

11:00 p.m. — Vasquez puts this one in the books with a fallaway jumper to make it a seven-point lead inside a minute to play.

10:59 p.m. — Jordan Williams goes to the bench with his fourth foul. He’s done a great job in the second half staying out of foul trouble after picking up two in the first half.

10:57 p.m. — Maryland absolutely got bailed out by Milton Jennings on that one. Would have been very difficult to create a decent look with the shot clock dwindling.

Vasquez goes to the line and drains both freebies, and Maryland leads 84-77.

10:55 p.m. — Stitt scores to cut the lead to five points, but the Terps beat the pressure across the timeline nicely. Maryland will call a timeout with 2:02 remaining.

10:53 p.m. — Trevor Booker picks up his third foul to send Williams to the line. Despite a very strong night, the frosh continues to struggle at the line, missing two.

10:51 p.m. — At the final media timeout, Maryland leads Clemson 82-75 with 3:38 to play.

10:50 p.m. — Vasquez sinks a pair of free throws to give him 11 points for the game. The Terps now have four players in double figures.

Young hits a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to five points. Still plenty of time in this one.

10:47 p.m. — As much as he’s been beaten up lately for his offensive woes, Mosley is having an outstanding game with 18 points and several strong defensive plays. This team could do some special things if he can regain his early-season form from the offensive end of the floor.

10:46 p.m. — What a scene to watch Vasquez mop up the wet floor. What a team player!

10:44 p.m. — As dominant as Clemson looked during its 15-0 run in the first half, Maryland quite possibly looks even better right now.

Just an unbelievable run, and the Tigers are on life support with less than six minutes to play.

10:43 p.m. — This place is going berserk as Hayes hits a three to put the Terps up by eight. Unbelievable energy!

A Clemson turnover leads to a Vasquez dunk.

Timeout, Clemson.

Maryland leads 77-67 with 6:03 remaining.

10:40 p.m. — Not only did Vasquez just put the Terps up by 3 points, but he now sits in fourth place on the Terps’ all-time scoring list.

Talk about GREAT timing.

10:39 p.m. — Jordan Williams makes two freebies while Eric Hayes misses two?

And, oh yeah, the sky is green.

10:36 p.m. — We’ve reached another media timeout with Clemson holding a 67-65 advantage with 7:52 to go.

10:35 p.m. — Hayes continues to show aggression in going to the basket. If teams have to respect the drive, it will create so many more opportunities for the sharp-shooter on the perimeter.

However, are my eyes deceiving me or did Hayes just miss TWO free throws in a row?

Wow.

10:33 p.m. — Not resting on his laurels from Saturday, Tucker is having a very nice game with eight points after a very nice take.

Have to be impressed with the resiliency displayed by this team tonight after it looked like it could easily get blown out in the first half.

10:31 p.m. — Huge advantage for the Terps to be in the bonus already with 10:34 remaining. Of course, you still need to make your free throws.

Tucker misses the second, but Gregory grabs the offensive board. Mosley CONNECTS on the 3-pointer and we’re tied at 63!

10:28 p.m. — Jerai Grant fouls out with 11:18 to go. He still has time to make it home for the 11 p.m. Sportscenter.

Milbourne goes to the line and hits a pair to cut the lead to 2, the closest the Terps have been since Clemson went on a 15-0 run.

10:24 p.m. — Great second and third effort by Williams to get the tip-in. It’s a four-point game with 12 minutes to go.

Following a Clemson miss, Tucker dripples up the floor but loses it. With his great athleticism, Tucker would be such a dangerous player going to the basket—if only he had a handle.

We’ve reached the under-12 media timeout with Clemson leading Maryland, 61-57 with 11:46 remaining.

10:22 p.m. — Nice hands by Tucker force the steal, but Vasquez cannot hit the well-chronicled pull-up 3-pointer. That one would have been big.

10:20 p.m. — Noel Johnson misses the jumper, but Clemson grabs another offensive board, leading to a 3-pointer by Andre Young. Second-chance points have just killed the Terps this evening.

10:17 p.m. — Comcast has just ERUPTED after Tucker hits the triple to cut the lead to three points.

Timeout on the floor as Clemson continues to hold a much smaller lead, 56-53 with 15:14 to go.

10:16 p.m. — After Clemson comes right back with an answer, Tanner Smith fouls Jordan Williams, but the big man finishes the play.

The frosh goes to the line but cannot connect. He’s got 10 for the game.

10:15 p.m. — Mosley takes it all the way to the hole, drawing the foul on Devin Booker. Nice to see Mosley stay aggressive after the last failed attempt at the basket.

Crowd getting back into it as Mosley completes the three-point play.

10:14 p.m. — Big-time 3-pointer by Milbourne to cut the lead to seven points.

Perhaps that will get the Terps going. They need a jumpstart badly.

10:12 p.m. — Vasquez just picked up the foul on a push. Didn’t see much there, and neither did Jordan Williams who was very demonstrative in showing his displeasure.

10:09 p.m. — I’m not sure what that last take was by Mosley. Think I saw that one in a junior high game recently.

Maryland takes the timeout as Hayes gets into trouble against the Clemson D.

Not the way you wanted to start this half at all, even with Grant picking up four fouls for Clemson.

10:07 p.m. — Two turnovers in a row as Maryland is really struggling against the Clemson press.

10:06 p.m. — Four fouls on Grant. Maybe Oliver Purnell lost count.

10:05 p.m. — Great decision to go after Grant. The big man picks up his third foul in the first 10 seconds of the half.

Milbourne makes 1-of-2 from the line.

10:04 p.m. — Maryland will get the ball to begin the second half. Definitely need to start the half strongly.

10:02 p.m. — Vasquez has just two points at the break. So much for my prediction.

He looks VERY tired out there tonight after looking fatigued on Saturday.

Definitely something to watch in the second half.

9:59 p.m. — Both the Terps and Tigers shooting 50 percent from the field AND 3-point range at the break. Unfortunately, Clemson is 8-for-16 from beyond the arc while Maryland has made 3-of-6.

9:48 p.m. — We’ve reached the end of the first half with Clemson holding a 48-39 advantage over the Terps. With all of the foul trouble, things could be MUCH worse for Maryland.

9:46 p.m. — Having your top-3 rebounders on the bench with two fouls each is a very scary proposition.

If the Terps can keep the lead at single digits going into the half it has to be a huge moral victory.

9:40 p.m. — Lost in the Clemson dominance has been the struggles of Vasquez. He finally gets one to fall.

A possession later after Potter hits a triple, Padgett brings the crowd to its feet with the monster slam!

The pace has again picked up as we reach the final media timeout of the half. Clemson leads 39-33 with 3:07 remaining.

9:38 p.m. — A huge 3-ball from Hayes cuts the deficit to seven points, the closest the Terps have been in quite awhile.

It’s nice to see Maryland weather the storm after that crippling 15-0 run, but the Terps need to tread water until the intermission.

9:36 p.m. — A beautiful pass from Vasquez and an even better finish from Hayes, who’s really been finishing well at the bucket of late.

With Jordan Williams heading to the bench with his second foul, James Padgett checks into the game. That’s a MAJOR problem.

9:34 p.m. — Not that we needed to really see the numbers, but Clemson is outrebounding Maryland 14-7 and already has six offensive boards.

9:31 p.m. — Devin Booker jams in the missed 3-pointer now. Unbelievable.

We’ve reached the under-8 media timeout with Maryland trailing 33-20.

9:29 p.m. — Booker skies high for the tip-in. I’m at a loss for words right now. Clemson is just running the Terps out of the gym in every aspect of the game right now.

Following another Booker score, Mosley drives into the paint and finds Williams for the two-handed jam.

9:27 p.m. — Milbourne goes to the bench with his second foul. Not good at all.

9:26 p.m. — Milbourne with the blocked shot on the other end. The Terps need a couple more plays like that to get the crowd back in it

Other than the early scoring surge by Mosley in the first four minutes, Maryland is just searching for anything positive.

9:24 p.m. — Besides the obvious concern of a 13-point deficit, you have to be even more worried when you factor in the Clemson press. Maryland is in some serious danger right now, and it will have to handle the press to climb back into this one.

Milbourne hits a jumper right out of the timeout to end the run.

9:22 p.m. — The Terps have mercifully reached the second media timeout. It is not a pretty sight at Comcast Center right now.

Clemson leads 27-14 with 11:23 to go in the first half.

9:21 p.m. — Noel Johnson hits a triple to extend the run to 10-0.

Gregory looking like he did on Sunday with another blown layup.

Potter hits a triple and another Johnson bucket makes it a 15-0 run.

Wow.

9:18 p.m. — The Tigers have scored seven unanswered points and Gary Williams wants to talk it over.

Not sure the lineup on the floor right now will provide much of anything points-wise and as I type that, Vasquez walks to the score table.

9:17 p.m. — Dino Gregory is the first sub off the bench for the Terps. The reserve big man has played very well off the bench in recent weeks. I like seeing the Terps go with the bigger lineup against the tough tandem of Booker and Grant.

Tucker enters the game to a huge ovation. I wonder why?

9:12 p.m. — We’ve reached the first media timeout (I need to catch my breath!) with Clemson holding a slight 15-14 lead with 15:14 remaining.

9:11 p.m. — Nice fake by Mosley as he takes it to the basket and draws the foul. Hitting the two early jumpers could do WONDERS for his offensive game tonight.

He hits a pair of freebies, and he has nine points. The Baltimore sophomore is on pace for 90 points. That would probably be a record.

9:10 p.m. — Twenty points scored in the game’s first three minutes. The way this one is going, the teams will have more points at the half than they did in their first meeting (62-53 final score).

9:08 p.m. — Mosley with the first seven points of the game. I’m guessing anyone in Vegas that put money on that one is a rich man right now.

9:06 p.m. — Clemson controls the opening tip and finds Booker inside, but his shot is rejected by Milbourne. Going the other way Vasquez tries to find Milbourne, bu the Terps turn it over.

Potter hits a 3 for the first points of the game, but Mosley answers with a mid-range jumper and then hits a 3-pointer on the Terps’ next possession.

That’s quite the answer to the critics—myself included.

9:04 p.m. — We’re about ready for the tip. Clemson will wear purple with the Terps once again sporting the gold as they have throughout the conference home schedule.

9:00 p.m. — Maryland natives David Potter (Severn) and Jerai Grant (Bowie) earn some extra boos from the Comcast Crowd during starting lineups.

8:53 p.m. –Virginia Tech is just getting punked at Boston College tonight, losing 77-55 with four minutes to play. The Hokies will be a desperate team on Saturday afternoon.

I’m waiting for Rich to check in to say he called the Tech upset. Good work, buddy.

8:51 p.m. — The Terps just came back onto the floor to a video highlighting Cliff Tucker’s game-winning shot from Saturday to a huge ovation from the student section. No threat of an emotional letdown from the students thus far.

8:50 p.m. — Here are tonight’s starting lineups:

Clemson
G Demontez Stitt
G Tanner Smith
F David Potter
F Jerai Grant
F Trevor Booker

Maryland

G Eric Hayes
G Greivis Vasquez
G Sean Mosley
F Landon Milbourne
F Jordan Williams

8:48 p.m. — Duane Simpkins is the honorary captain for tonight’s game.

8:40 p.m. — Maryland will once again wear its gold uniforms for tonight’s game. The Terps are undefeated wearing them this season (6-0) and are 11-2 over the last three seasons since re-introducing them in the 2007-08 season. Thanks to Patrick Stevens (D1scourse) for passing along that note.

8:30 p.m. — Adding to the accolades, Vasquez was today named one of 30 mid-season candidates for the Naismith Trophy.

No real surprise there but just passing it along.

8:20 p.m. — Good evening from Comcast Center as we get set to watch the Clemson Tigers  (19-7, 7-5 ACC) take on the Maryland Terrapins (19-7, 9-3) at 9:00 p.m.

The teams met back on Jan. 31 when it was Clemson besting the Terps at Littlejohn Coliseum, 62-53. Maryland was haunted by a season-high 26 turnovers and was outscored 12-3 in the final 5:36 of the game after briefly taking a second-half lead. Despite an off night for Trevor Booker, Jerai Grant was the star for the Tigers, scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in the victory.

Both teams currently enjoy three-game winning streaks with Maryland holding a two-game lead over the Tigers in the conference. Taking a closer look at the teams’ respective NCAA tournament resumes, Clemson and Maryland are neck-and-neck in the RPI (33rd and 34th respectively), so tonight’s game is pivotal not only in the ACC standings but also for jockeying for position in the eyes of the selection committee.

Clemson is of course led by Booker, averaging 15.3 points and 8.2 rebounds a contest, and Demontez Stitt (10.6 ppg) who did not play in the team’s first meeting. Stitt figures to provide a much tougher test to the Maryland backcourt than anyone the Terps encountered at Clemson.

The Terps will try to guard against an emotional letdown following Saturday’s incredible 76-74 win over Georgia Tech. Rumor has it that Cliff Tucker hasn’t slept in 72 hours while trying to keep up with his Facebook new friend requests. I kid, I kid.

These next three games (at Virginia Tech on Saturday, Duke next Wednesday) will determine a great deal in figuring out exactly where Maryland stands in both the ACC and NCAA tournaments. Standing alone in second place, the Terps are in great shape for a first-round bye in Greensboro but clearly need to hold serve at Comcast Center tonight before a tough road test in Blacksburg on Saturday.

Another story to watch during tonight’s game is the continued climb of Greivis Vasquez on the Maryland career scoring list. Currently standing at 2,013 points, the senior needs just two points to match John Lucas and four points to equal Adrian Branch. Needless to say, barring a freak injury or MAJOR struggles, Vasquez will be sitting fourth on the list behind Juan Dixon, Len Bias, and Albert King before the intermission. Impressive company to say the very least.

Tonight’s game will be televised on Raycom (WNUV-TV 54 in Baltimore) with Tim Brant and Dan Bonner on the call.

As always, stay right here at WNST.net throughout the game and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) where you’ll hear thoughts from Glenn Clark and other WNST personalities.

Tonight’s game

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Tucker’s buzzer-beater saves Maryland against Georgia Tech, 76-74

Posted on 20 February 2010 by Luke Jones

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — It almost seemed like a cruel joke.

Greivis Vasquez had just banked in a prayer from just over half-court to seemingly give Maryland a miraculous win over Georgia Tech, only to learn it didn’t count after assistant coach Keith Booth had called a timeout prior to the heave with 1.5 seconds to play.

The Terps appeared on the verge of suffering their first ACC home loss of the season before breaking the huddle for the final possession and down one point. But instead of dwelling on the frustration of the missed opportunity, Maryland focused on the precious 1.5 seconds with which it had to work.

“[The huddle] was real calm,” Cliff Tucker said. “[Gary Williams] calmed down and just drew up the play, and then we went out and ran it.”

With everyone expecting Vasquez to take the final shot, the reserve Tucker instead took the inbound pass—on a play typically designed to be a lob near the basket—and hit a 3-pointer as time expired to give Maryland a 76-74 victory and send 17,950 Comcast Center fans home in a frenzy.

Despite the bedlam, it was the same play the Terps had run in practice everyday throughout the season.

“You don’t go into those situations without having practiced them,” said Williams, noting his team spends the last 15 minutes of practice on game scenarios. “At least when we had the ball in that situation, we had done that before in practice and there was a positive image there. We got lucky there at the end, but we excecuted that play pretty well.”

The win not only protected Maryland’s perfect home record in conference play but clinched a winning conference record, moving the Terps closer to the possibility of a first-round bye in the ACC tournament.

Saturday’s battle was uncommon territory for the Terps who had nearly rolled over everyone in conference play at the Comcast Center, their previous five wins coming by an average margin of 19 points.

Playing its fourth game in eight days, Maryland (19-7, 9-3) struggled against the imposing Georgia Tech frontcourt all afternoon, as the Yellow Jackets grabbed 21 offensive rebounds and scored 24 second-chance points, none bigger than Derrick Favors tip-in with three seconds left. Even before that, the freshman sensation proved to be as good as advertised, scoring 21 points and grabbing 18 rebounds.

Vasquez led the Terps with 18 points and eight assists despite both he and his coach admitting he was fatigued from the last week. On Tucker’s game-winning shot, Vasquez set a screen to create space for his teammate’s heroics.

“This is every game, our season,” Vasquez said. “Every win we got, we got it as a team. This is nothing about me; our team has done a great job being positive. Praise Cliff. He made the big shot for us and won the game.”

While the win shouldn’t be overemphasized with four conference games remaining and more work to accomplish, it does add another modest feather to the NCAA tournament cap by beating a team that’s spent plenty of time ranked in the top-25 this season. However, Maryland’s real chance to impress the selection committee will come over the next three games.

The Terps will host Clemson on Wednesday night and try to avenge a disappointing loss in their first meeting before traveling to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech next Saturday. And, of course, the rematch with Duke looms for Senior Night on March 3.

These next three games will tell us where Maryland fits into the NCAA tournament picture and its prospects for a strong showing.

But before we move on to the rest of the season and see where it takes Maryland, it’s hard to imagine any one moment topping Tucker and his teammates running around the Comcast floor in the aftermath of the improbable shot on Saturday afternoon.

“In AAU, I hit a little floater for a game-winner, but nothing like this; nothing to this capacity,” said Tucker. “It’s probably one of the best plays of my career, of my life, so I’m happy.”

– By scoring five of Maryland’s first seven points of the game, Vasquez eclipsed the 2,000-point mark in his career, becoming the sixth player in school history to do so. Vasquez also became the first player in ACC history to reach 2,000 points, 700 assists, and 600 rebounds in his career.

“I think it speaks for itself,” Williams said. “Greivis had his critics, but the numbers are there and when you look at what he has done for the team this year, he has always done everything he could.”

– Seemingly frustrated with his team’s struggles on the defensive end, Williams shed his jacket and tossed it away in anger with 5:00 remaining in the game. The move is often imitated—even at Midnight Madness—but the coach described how rare it is for him to resort to such tactics.

“I just try to stay on every play. I’ve [only] done that four times in 21 years. After I did that, I felt pretty good.”

– Maryland won its ninth straight game over Georgia Tech, a streak that goes back to Jan. 30, 2005. The Terps’ six straight ACC home wins are the most since a 12-game streak from the beginning of the 2001-02 campaign through the first four of 2002-03.

– Freshman Jordan Williams narrowly missed his third straight double-double, finishing with nine points and 12 rebounds in the win. Williams has led or tied for the team lead in rebounding in 19 of Maryland’s 26 games.

– Maryland improved to 17-0 this season when leading at halftime.

Check out the final stats here and the live blog below.

_____________________________________

4:11 p.m. — HOLY FREAKING CRAP!

The enigmatic Cliff Tucker with the biggest shot of his career and one he will NEVER forget!

Maryland wins over Georgia Tech, 76-74!

4:09 p.m. — I have to say I’m absolutely stunned over the last few moments of this one. While you obviously understand the desire to call the timeout, this one will hurt that much more given the miracle shot from Vasquez that didn’t count.

4:08 p.m. – Favors scores on the putback to give Tech the lead.

Vasquez throws up a prayer and it goes in, but it won’t count as Maryland called the timeout.

0.9 seconds remaining, and Maryland will have a final shot. This would just be a devastating loss.

4:06 p.m. — Bell scores inside with little resistant to give Tech a 1-point lead with 19.3 seconds to go.

Can you say drama?

4:04 p.m. — How does Gregory miss that? On a side note, this crew clearly misses a travel, so perhaps that was the basketball gods’ way of balancing things out on that possession.

Timeout on the floor. Tech has the ball with 29.6 remaining and 26 seconds on the shot clock. Maryland leads by one.

4:02 p.m. — Following the Maryland timeout, Vasquez passes up the 3-point attempt and a wide-open Hayes DRILLS it to give the Terps a three-point lead. Brilliant execution coming out of the timeout.

Favors scores on the tip-in and Tech quickly calls a timeout.

3:59 p.m. — Did Hayes REALLY just make that? The margin for error on that shot was miniscule and that’s putting it kindly.

Gregory is called for the foul trying to tie up Lawal. Tough call there in that spot.

However, Lawal misses them both.

3:57 p.m. — Williams connects on the second free throw to tie the game.

Gregory is whistled for the foul, the ninth team foul. Favors connects on a pair to put Tech up, 68-66.

3:56 p.m. — What can you say about Jordan Williams’ effort today, and all year for that matter? Just a TREMENDOUS play right there by the freshman, and the crowd LOVES it.

3:55 p.m. — Bell goes to the line following the media timeout and cans 1-of-2.

Tucker cannot connect on another triple attempt, but Williams makes a HUGE play to grab the rebound and score in the paint. It’s a one-point lead for Tech.

3:51 p.m. — Just a HUGE shot by Tucker. I figured Vasquez would take it to the hole with the shot clock winding down, but the Jackets leave Tucker wide open.

We’ve reached the final media timeout of the second half with Georgia Tech leading Maryland, 65-63, with 3:54 remaining.

3:49 p.m. — Gary Williams just RIPPED off his jacket following that last offensive rebound by the Yellow Jackets. Then, D’Andre Bell hits the 3-ball to give Tech a 65-60 lead. Just unacceptable.

Timeout, Maryland.

3:47 p.m. — Shumpert hits a pair of free throws after the foul by Mosley to give Tech a two-point lead.

Milbourne misses the jumper from the elbow on the other end. Not sure I’m crazy about that shot so early in the possession given the way he’s played today.

3:44 p.m. — It will be very interesting to see how the Terps play in the final 6:33 of this one. The number of times they’ve had to grind out a win at home in the final minutes this season have been few and far between.

3:39 p.m. — Maryland is definitely getting some nice contributions from unlikely sources this afternoon. Gregory now has nine points while Bowie has hit his second triple of the afternoon.

However, Lawal just tied it up with a putback, tying the game at 58-58. We’ve reached the under-8 media timeout.

3:32 p.m. — We’ve reached the under-12 media timeout with 11:48 remaining. Maryland leads Georgia Tech, 51-46.

3:30 p.m. — Don’t like seeing the mental mistake by Gregory there. Too close of a game to blatantly give away a possession.

3:29 p.m. — I’m not sure how that’s not a foul on Peacock. I really don’t.

And I rarely complain about the officiating.

3:27 p.m. — With the shot clock winding down, Vasquez drives against Miller and draws the foul. Vasquez makes a pair, and the lead is up to five.

Gregory checks into the game as Shumpert scores on a second-chance opportunity.

3:23 p.m. — The crowd didn’t like that one, but Hayes clearly gave him a shove. That’s what happens though when you have a substandard crew. Every call from here on out will be scrutinized to put it mildly.

3:21 p.m. — We’ve reached the first media timeout of the second half with Maryland leading Tech, 43-40. The crowd is really letting Mike Eades, Roger Ayers, and Raymond Styons have it.

Not a good day for that crew to say the least, but it’s been bad all around.

3:19 p.m. — Is there any question Miller initiated the contact on that one? Perfect example of anticipating a call right there.

Milbourne FINALLY scores his first field goal of the afternoon.

3:16 p.m. — After missing the first, Milbourne finally gets on the board with his second attempt. He’s still 0-for-8 from the field in this one.

Hayes scores on the Terps’ next possession, and Williams displays some nice defensive work on the other end.

Vasquez gets around his man and scores on the baseline runner. However, Shumpert hits a jumper on the other end, and Hewitt quickly calls a timeout.

Maryland leads Georgia Tech, 41-37, with 16:32 remaining.

3:12 p.m. — Milbourne cannot buy a bucket at this point. The Terps then turn it over as Vasquez tries to get it to the forward on the inbound play. Lack of focus there, and it causes the turnover.

3:11 p.m. — Vasquez is way short on the 3-point attempt and then picks up a silly foul trying to take the ball away from Favors.

On the Terps’ next possession, Vasquez displays a beautiful spin and finds Williams for the layup. Beautifully orchestrated by the senior guard.

3:08 p.m. — We’re ready for the start of the second half, and I expect much of the same as we saw in the first 20 minutes. A very physical battle. Let’s hope Williams can stay out of foul trouble.

3:05 p.m. — Considering how badly the Terps were being outrebounded in the first eight minutes of the game, they’ve held their own since that point. Tech has the edge at 25-22 and has secured 10 offensive rebounds to eight for the Terps.

Favors has a game-high 11 points for the Jackets while Vasquez leads the Terps with 10 points at the break.

3:01 p.m. — Milbourne really struggled in the first half, shooting 0-for-5 and failing to register a point. We’ve seen him struggle against the bigger frontcourts of the conference before, and the first half was no exception.

2:55 p.m. — We’ve reached the end of the first half with Tech scoring the final four points before the break.

Maryland leads at halftime, 34-32.

2:48 p.m. — Mosley scores inside on the putback. He’s been a forgotten man on the offensive end lately to say the least.

Timeout on the floor with 1:06 remaining. Maryland leads Georgia Tech, 34-28.

2:40 p.m. — Williams just picked up his second foul as Lawal scores inside. It’s clear Gary Williams and the Terps are not pleased with a few of these foul calls in the first half. Maryland will need to manage inside without Williams for the remainder of the half.

Vasquez scores and is fouled, giving him nine points, as we reach the final media timeout of the first half. Maryland leads Georgia Tech, 30-27.

2:37 p.m. — I was just going to mention it’s been a quiet start for Eric Hayes, but he’s scored five points on Maryland’s last two possessions. He had a very rough night in Raleigh and was feeling under the weather.

2:36 p.m. — Mosley going inside against Favors is not a battle the sophomore from Baltimore is going to win. Not much you can do there.

Favors hits the shot and is fouled by Gregory who gave him a tiny push. He completes the three-point play, and the Yellow Jackets have the lead.

Following a Hayes miss, Mosley controls the rebound and Williams eventually scores on the putback. Maryland continues to really struggle in finding good shots out of its half-court offense.

2:31 p.m. — We’ve reached the under-8 media timeout with Maryland and Georgia Tech tied up, 18-18.

2:29 p.m. — Georgia Tech comes out of the timeout looking to press, but the Terps handle it well as Jordan Williams is fouled and will go to the line for a pair.

The frosh misses both and continues to struggle from the charity stripe. I still think Williams will eventually be a good free throw shooter—for a big man.

2:27 p.m. — We’ve reached our second media timeout with the Terps enjoying an 18-15 advantage over Georgia Tech. This one definitely hasn’t been an exhibition of great offense as the Jackets are shooting just 26 percent while Maryland is a little better at 36.8 percent.

2:24 p.m. — Adrian Bowie with a 3-pointer. I figured, after Wednesday night, his quota for triples was satisfied until March.

Nice to see him shooting the ball a little better. It’s been a rough season for him.

2:22 p.m. — Georgia Tech already has nine offensive rebounds in this one. The Jackets are just dominating the glass in the first eight minutes of this one.

The Terps will need a big day from Dino Gregory, and the junior has delivered in the last two possessions. The MONSTER dunk sends the students into a frenzy as Maryland takes a two-point lead.

2:20 p.m. — Despite all the trees in the Tech frontcourt, little Moe Miller just grabbed the offensive board and is fouled by Williams, sending the guard to the line.

He makes 1-of-2, but Maryland cannot grab the board and Shumpert hits the 3-pointer. Too many second-chance opportunities in the early going.

2:18 p.m. — Gary Williams was clearly unhappy during that last timeout, walking all the way out to the lane to question the jump ball call.

After a Milbourne missed 3-pointer, Jordan Williams cleans up the offensive glass and scores to tie the game at 4-4. Ugly start for both teams in this one.

However, as I type that last statement, Vasquez just hit a 3-ball to become the sixth player in Maryland history to eclipse the 2,000-point mark for his career. Just a brilliant, under-appreciated career for the senior from Venezuela here in College Park.

2:13 p.m. — Maryland is definitely off to a cold start shooting the basketball and is struggling inside against Tech’s big men. Almost to the first media timeout, and the Terps have a measly two points.

Favors and Williams just got tangled up battling for the rebound, and the officials rule a jump ball to the displeasure of the Comcast Crowd.

We’ve reached the first media timeout with Maryland trailing Georgia Tech, 4-2.

2:10 p.m. — Williams is matched up against Lawal instead of Favors, and the Jackets’ leading scorer curls around him for the inside bucket. It should be interesting to see how Milbourne holds up against the imposing Favors.

2:06 p.m. — Very odd to see Georgia Tech wearing white considering it’s the road team, but as mentioned before, the Terps are again wearing the gold threads at Comcast.

Tech controls the opening tip but cannot score on two different shot attempts. On the other end, Vasquez may have gotten away with the travel but scores on the runner.

2:02 p.m. — As I mentioned this morning on the Fantasy Flavor with Thyrl Nelson, I expect a great battle between Derrick Favors and Jordan Williams this afternoon. Favors got off to a fast start and has garnered more national attention, but Williams has clearly been one of the top freshmen in the conference.

1:57 p.m. — Lost in the hype of today’s game is the great respect between Gary Williams and Paul Hewitt. Both coaches just spent a few minutes chatting after Williams walked onto the court.

1:50 p.m. — The pregame festivities are underway, and Lefty Driesell just accompanied honorary captain Larry Gibson to the floor.

1:48 p.m. — Here are today’s starting lineups:

Georgia Tech
G Iman Shumpert
G Glen Rice, Jr.
G D’Andre Bell
F Derrick Favors
F Gani Lawal

Maryland
G Eric Hayes
G Greivis Vasquez
G Sean Mosley
F Landon Milbourne
F Jordan Williams

1:46 p.m. — In what should come as no surprise at this point in conference play, the Terps will again wear the gold uniforms.

This ends your one and only fashion update for the entire afternoon.

1:40 p.m. — Good afternoon from College Park as the Terps (18-7, 8-3 ACC) prepare to host Paul Hewitt’s Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (18-8, 6-6) at 2:00 p.m.

Maryland will play its fourth game in eight days, coming off a 67-58 victory at NC State on Wednesday night in which the Terps came back from a 12-point deficit in the second half. Greivis Vasquez scored a game-high 26 points to lead the comeback, but Jordan Williams provided a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds to control the paint against the Wolfpack.

Vasquez will have the opportunity to secure another milestone in his brilliant career, needing only five points to become the sixth player in Maryland history to eclipse the 2,000-point mark. In doing so, the senior from Caracas, Venezuela would become the first ACC player ever to reach 2,000 points, 700 assists, and 600 rebounds for his career.

A victory would clinch a winning conference record for the Terps and would push them a step closer to a first-round bye in the ACC tournament. A 10-6 conference record is generally considered to be the mark needed to secure a tournament bid. Of course, the ACC tournament could skew things a bit, but Maryland is unquestionably in great shape here on the 20th of February.

Georgia Tech has followed an inconsistent pattern throughout the season despite an imposing frontcourt of Gani Lawal (14.0 ppg, 9.5 rpg) and freshman standout Derrick Favors (11.1 ppg, 8.2 rpg). Georgia Tech has lost three of five and does not want to fall below the .500 mark in the final quarter of the conference schedule. The Yellow Jackets have struggled in the backcourt, a problem Maryland hopes to exploit this afternoon.

In addition to its guard struggles, Georgia Tech has struggled mightily on the road in conference play with its lone victory coming against North Carolina on Jan. 16. Couple that with Maryland’s 5-0 ACC home record (12-1 overall), and it figures to be a sizable task for Paul Hewitt’s squad to win at Comcast Center this afternoon.

This afternoon’s game will be televised by Raycom (WNUV-TV 54 in Baltimore) with Tim Brant and Cory Alexander calling the action.

As always, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) where Glenn Clark and other WNST personalities will provide insight throughout the afternoon.

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Terps perk up in 2nd half to down NC State, 67-58

Posted on 17 February 2010 by Luke Jones

Playing its third game in five days, Maryland looked every bit like a tired team for the first 25 minutes against an inferior NC State team on Wednesday night.

Poor shooting, turnovers, and sloppy defense positioned the Terps firmly on the ropes against the worst team in the Atlantic Coast Conference. It had the potential to be one of those unacceptable losses Maryland has suffered on occasion over the last few seasons.

But thanks to some unlikely contributions and a rejuvenated defense, Maryland awoke in the game’s final 15 minutes to capture a 67-58 win at NC State on Wednesday night.

While senior Greivis Vasquez anchored the comeback, scoring 10 of Maryland’s final 17 points en route to a 26-point evening, the problem was finding offense from the usual suspects. Normally reliable scorers, Landon Milbourne, Eric Hayes, and Sean Mosley combined for just 12 points on 5-for-22 shooting.

The Terps (18-7, 8-3 ACC) instead turned to two others, a sensational freshman transforming into a force before our very eyes and a reserve guard having the most disappointing season of any player on the roster, for critical scoring to stave off defeat and pull into a second-place tie with Virginia Tech in the ACC.

Jordan Williams may not overwhelm audiences with highlight-reel dunks, but his mature work inside the paint continues to be the biggest reason for the Terps’ resurgence this season. The freshman was outstanding against the Wolfpack, matching a career-high 19 points and snatching 11 rebounds to control the low post in the second half.

Starting at the 9:00 mark of the second half, Williams scored seven points in a four-minute span that would help swing the game from a one-point Wolfpack lead to a 58-51 Maryland advantage after sinking a free throw with 5:03 remaining.

Though only averaging 8.4 points per game entering Wednesday night, Williams has now reached double-digit scoring in four of the last six games. The big man continues to grow more confident in the half-court offense and has clearly established himself as one of the top freshmen in the ACC.

Before Williams’ spurt, Maryland struggled to stay in the game and desperately needed outside shooting with Hayes being a non-factor. Adrian Bowie—shooting just 24 percent from 3-point range and struggling mightily all season—answered the call with two of the biggest shots of the game—and his entire season.

His 3-pointer with 11:16 remaining cut the deficit to one, the closest the Terps had been since a 17-17 tie. A few moments later, with NC State threatening to regain momentum by pushing the lead back to six, Bowie connected from behind the arc again, igniting a 16-2 run from which the Wolfpack never recovered.

For Bowie, it’s arguably the highlight of a difficult junior campaign. The Monstrose Christian product who started 28 games last season rose to the occasion on a night when little was working from the perimeter.

Of course, the Terps’ comeback efforts were aided by frigid shooting from their opponent as NC State managed just one field goal and seven points in the final 9:52 of the game. Credit the Maryland defense, but it certainly helped that the Wolfpack completely crumbled after relinquishing a 12-point lead.

It wasn’t a pretty win, and concerns still remain such as the disappearance of Sean Mosley in the offense. The Baltimore sophomore has now failed to reach double digits in his last six games and has only reached the mark twice in ACC play.

Wednesday’s effort won’t beat many teams, but the Terps did exactly what they needed to do to pull out the road win despite not playing their best basketball.

Even the best teams have clunkers, but the mark of a quality team is being able to find production from role players when some of your starters aren’t performing.

It’s the difference between an ugly win and an unacceptable loss.

Yes, Maryland still lacks that sparkling win that opens the eyes of the rest of the country, but the Terps continue to beat the teams they’re supposed to beat.

Even if they’re not at their best.

Check out the final stats here and the live blog below.

_______________________________________________

10:57 p.m. — It wasn’t pretty or even much fun, but Vasquez and Williams lead the Terps to a 67-58 victory in Raleigh.

I’ll take it, and I’m sure you will too.

Back soon with the post-game wrap.

10:55 p.m. — Mays hits a triple to cut the deficit to seven with 1:03 remaining. Too little, too late for the Wolfpack.

When you look how poorly Sidney Lowe’s team has played in the second half, you understand how alarming it was for the Terps to be down by as many as 12.

10:53 p.m. — You think Vasquez is feeling it just a little bit right now? Coast-to-coast.

And a great defensive play by Mosley gives the Terps the ball with an eight-point lead and two minutes to go. Have to be feeling good about this one considering how poor the first 25 minutes were.

10:50 p.m. — 21 points and six dimes for Vasquez. Despite a lull late in the first half, he’s been everything you need from your leader in a tight game in which you’re not playing well.

10:47 p.m. — We’ve reached our final media timeout of the night with the Terps feeling much better about themselves and holding a 58-51 lead.

10:45 p.m. — It’s all coming together for the Terps as the defensive intensity is there, and NC State cannot BUY a bucket.

I think Herb Sendek was still at State the last time the Pack scored a bucket.

10:40 p.m. — We saw a similar comeback to tonight’s at Clemson earlier in the year. The Terps did not, however, have enough steam to hold on at Littlejohn.

The comeback came right around at the same time as tonight’s too.

10:37 p.m. — Who else but Vasquez? It’s what you’ve come to expect from the brilliant senior.

Jordan Williams having a huge second half for the Terps as NC State is just crumbling and now trails by four.

10:34 p.m. — Did Adrian Bowie invest in some new shooting tapes? You know you’re desperate when you’re counting on him for long-range shooting.

10:31 p.m. — Horner sticks the 3-ball, giving him 17 points. That one hurts.

He’s absolutely killing the Terps tonight.

10:28 p.m. — Adrian Bowie. Just HUGE!

10:25 p.m. — Nice runner by Vasquez to give him 16 points. The Terps have cut it to six, and you have to like the improved energy on the defensive end.

However, can anyone do anything offensively with Vasquez getting a breather?

10:21 p.m. — Jordan Williams is clearly struggling from the line tonight, but the potential is there to be a good free throw shooter. He has a good stroke, but his confidence is lacking big-time.

Did he just bank one in? Seriously?

10:17 p.m. — Hey, Dennis Horner is standing underneath the basket!

Guess they didn’t hear me.

We’ve seen the Terps shoot poorly on the road before, but the lack of energy on the defensive end of the floor is quite apparent.

10:14 p.m. — If the first two minutes of the second half is any indication, this is going to be a LONG night.

As I type that, Vasquez throws up a prayer of a 3-point attempt and it goes in. Maybe that will get them going.

10:10 p.m. — The Terps are now 1-for-6 from beyond the arc tonight. Typical road shooting woes.

10:08 p.m. — The Terps force the turnover on State’s first possession but turn it over themselves on the other end.

It’s critical for Maryland to start out strong if a comeback is in the cards.

10:05 p.m. — Maryland is 1-7 when trailing at the half this season and 1-3 in the ACC. The Terps’ comeback from a halftime deficit came at Florida State.

9:52 p.m. — We’ve thankfully reached the end of the first half. Maryland trails NC State, 37-27.

Listless. Uninspiring. Comatose.

Which adjective do you prefer?

9:49 p.m. — I’m at a loss for words right now. I really am.

Credit NC State, but it’s not like the Pack is playing out of their minds either.

9:46 p.m. — Fatigue is definitely playing a part in this one, but the effort just hasn’t been there tonight. Not playing smart basketball.

The Terps need to keep this one to a single-digit deficit before the intermission.

9:44 p.m. — Anyone ever see Philip Seymour Hoffman play basketball in Along Came Polly? Maryland’s shooting closely resembles his right now.

Ug-ly.

9:40 p.m. — Is Maryland TRYING to miss these easy shots?

9:36 p.m. — Maryland is just sleepwalking right now. A 9-0 run gives the Wolfpack a 24-17 lead before Vasquez ends the scoring drought.

This is looking like one of those games where Vasquez might have to carry the Terps.

9:32 p.m. — Williams with another miss at the basket. He’s got to finish some of those opportunities.

Cliff Tucker certainly won’t earn more minutes with two shot attempts like what we just saw.

Maryland looking lethargic tonight, and two turnovers and NC State field goals will confirm that theory.

9:27 p.m. — Scott Wood almost shattered the backboard with that shot attempt. Easy, big fella.

Another early entry into the game for James Padgett, as it appears Gary Williams is more confident in going with the frontcourt of Dino Gregory and the frosh.

9:25 p.m. — Adrian Bowie is in the game and just attempted a 20-footer. Not exactly what you want.

In addition to Vasquez, Milbourne is off to a quick start too as we reach the second media timeout with Maryland leading the Wolfpack by two.

9:22 p.m. — You think Vasquez is in the zone again?

Meanwhile, the Terps have given up second-chance points on two straight possessions. Can’t let that happen.

9:19 p.m. — Maryland continues to show the press, and State is definitely having some issues with it, having to call a timeout a couple possessions ago and nearly turning it over in the backcourt.

9:14 p.m. — Great ball movement by the Terps on that last possession as Vasquez finds Williams in the paint, but the big man is fouled and will go to the line for two.

We’re tied 7-7 with 15:54 remaining at the first media timeout.

9:11 p.m. — Vasquez with the early triple. Nice start from the perimeter for the Terps. Maryland’s road shooting woes are well-documented (see below).

Degand takes advantage of some confusion and takes it to the bucket.

9:09 p.m. — Nice vision up-court by Vasquez to find Milbourne, and the Terps have the early 2-0 lead after a couple empty possessions from each side.

Very important to start fast in this one.

9:07 p.m. — One last friendly reminder for the tip: the start of tonight’s game can only be seen on Comcast SportsNet-Plus due to that group of players wearing Wizards jerseys. Who are they?

Comcast SportsNet will pick up the action in progress immediately after the Wizards game.

9:04 p.m. — Here are tonight’s starters:

Maryland
G Eric Hayes
G Greivis Vasquez
G Sean Mosley
F Landon Milbourne
F Jordan Williams

NC State
G Javier Gonzalez
G Farnold Degand
F Scott Wood
F Tracy Smith
F Dennis Horner

8:45 p.m. — Good evening from the Jones headquarters as we await the start of Maryland-NC State at 9:00 p.m. The Terps (17-7, 7-3 ACC) will play their third game in five days by traveling to Raleigh to take on the last-place Wolfpack (14-12, 2-9 ACC) at the RBC Center.

Maryland rebounded from its disappointing loss at Duke against Virginia on Monday night, breezing to a 85-66 win at Comcast Center. Greivis Vasquez played one of the finest games of his career in a 30-point effort, 25 of those coming in the first half against the Cavaliers.

This one certainly looks like a mismatch on paper, but the Terps must come out focused to fight off fatigue due to the aforementioned stretch. In the teams’ first meeting on Jan. 23, the Wolfpack managed to hang around in the first half before getting blown out by the Terps after the intermission and falling 88-64 in Gary Williams’ 1,000 career game.

NC State has lost its last six conference games—most recently to lowly North Carolina (I love saying that). During the stretch, State’s only win has come against lowly independent North Carolina Central. In fact, the Terps were responsible in starting the losing streak for the Wolfpack after Sidney Lowe’s team had upset Duke on Jan. 20 before taking on the Terps in College Park.

With only five games remaining on its conference schedule, the Wolfpack is clearly in desperation mode as its season continues to spiral downward over the last four weeks. Forward Tracy Smith has been the Pack’s most consistent player, scoring 17.5 points per game and grabbing just over eight rebounds a contest.

Despite the success the Terps have enjoyed in conference play, their shooting woes away from Comcast Center continue to be a concern with postseason play and neutral-court sights fast approaching. In their five conference road games, Maryland has shot 32.8 percent (22-67) from beyond the arc. It looks even worse when you examine the last three road contests against Clemson, Florida State, and Duke where the Terps have shot a wretched 18.9 percent (7-37) from the 3-point line.

While it’s not surprising for a team to struggle with its shooting on the road, in contrast, Maryland has made 49.3 percent of its shots (36-73) in five conference games at Comcast. Quite the difference.

In looking at the coaching matchup, to say Williams has Lowe’s number would be an understatement as the Terps are 6-0 against the Wolfpack since Lowe took over the program in 2007.

With Maryland having the far superior backcourt and the better-dressed coach—be sure to shield your eyes when the camera shifts to Lowe’s scarlet jacket—you wouldn’t think the Terps will have TOO much difficulty in this one, even being on the road.

Tonight’s game can be seen on Comcast SportsNet-Plus at 9:00 p.m. Keep in mind, with the Wizards-Timberwolves game currently being played, Comcast SportsNet will join the Maryland game in progress immediately following the happenings at the Verizon Center.

And yes, I know what you’re thinking. “Who even plays for the Wizards these days, and why are we being subjected to that?” Yes, I agree, so hopefully you’ll stay right here throughout the evening.

As always, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) as Terps aficionado Glenn Clark and other WNST personalities will be chiming in with their thoughts throughout the night.

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