Easy-Going Does It

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By Mike Wise
Monday, February 26, 2007

The noise is what they will remember the most -- unbridled, bottom-of-the-gut hollering and yelping that went on for maybe five minutes after the final horn sounded.

Greivis Vasquez held the ball in his arms. Mouth agape, a primal scream came up from his innards.

"Aaaaahhhhhh!"

He popped his sweaty mesh jersey from his chest, pointing to the "Maryland" insignia across the front.

"Aaaaahhhhh!"

The College Park crazies who rushed the floor screamed back. They became so unruly, in fact, that Gary Williams briefly interrupted his postgame, on-court interview to tame the young beasts.

Terrapins 89, Tar Heels 87.

Amid more pandemonium in the House That Gary Built, down went Roy Williams's fifth-ranked team and up went the program a good portion of America forgot.

Maryland, the head-down, reeling Terps who were 2-5 in the Atlantic Coast Conference almost exactly one month ago. Remember them?

No? Neither do they.

"I don't know if we believed we could be the team we are now, but coach did," D.J. Strawberry said after the most electrifying Terps victory in three years. "He always believed in us. He told us when we were 2 and 5, 'We're going to be a great team. You guys are going to regroup, get your confidence back, and we're going to find a way to be a great team.' I don't know if everybody in this locker room believed that at the time. But next thing you know, we get a couple wins, we start feeling good about ourselves and we start to become that team."

More than anything, last night in College Park was about the storm after the calm, the way in which a career yeller stopped screaming and started nurturing.


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© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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