Vasquez, Maryland Terrapins defeat Virginia Cavaliers, 85-66

By Steve Yanda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Maryland senior guard Greivis Vasquez walks a delicate line each time he takes the floor for the Terrapins. Perhaps more talented passing the ball than he is shooting it, Vasquez must determine almost immediately on which skill set his team most needs him to use on a particular night.

Sometimes, he chooses incorrectly. Other times -- such as Monday night at Comcast Center -- he could not be more right.

The Terrapins, fresh off their worst loss of the season, needed to get off to a quick start against Virginia in a game that had been postponed last week because of inclement weather. And Vasquez responded, scoring 25 of his game-high 30 points in the first half to help propel Maryland to an 85-66 win.

Vasquez said he felt he was too passive Saturday during Maryland's 21-point loss at Duke and that he needed to be far more aggressive from the outset Monday night against the Cavaliers. The same could be said for all of the Terrapins, and collectively, they joined Vasquez to respond in a demonstrative fashion.

"Sometimes I need to make the right pass, but sometimes I need to get going myself to start scoring so my teammates start picking it up," Vasquez said. "Some games I just got to adjust myself, and today I started out pretty hot, unlike Duke where the first couple minutes I wasn't even playing. I thought I was just, you know, on the bench. And then today was just a different type of game."

The Terrapins (17-7, 7-3) struggled out of the gate Saturday at Duke, but they piled up more points against Virginia in the first half than the Cavaliers (14-9, 5-5) had given up in a single half this season. The Terrapins struggled to defend against the Blue Devils, yet they held Virginia to 37.9 percent shooting Monday night.

Conversely, Maryland shot 70 percent from the field before the intermission and entered halftime with an 18-point lead. By that point, Vasquez had shot 10 for 13 from the field and scored 25 points.

"We were very aggressive, but we shot it well," Maryland Coach Gary Williams said. "You don't score [52 points in the first half] no matter what you do offensively without shooting the ball well. I was glad to see that we shot it so well because we missed some open looks early on Saturday. We had to regain our confidence quickly, and we played similar to the way we've been playing a lot of times, especially at home here in the ACC. So that was a good sign."

Williams, who called Vasquez's performance Monday night "exceptional," remarked on his team's precision passing, and indeed, the Terrapins recorded 22 assists on 36 made baskets. Senior guard Eric Hayes tallied a game-high nine assists to complement his 10 points.

Vasquez was not alone in shouldering the scoring load against Virginia, but his teammates credited him with providing the initial spark.

"When he's playing like that and everyone else is making their shots as well, that's what can happen," Hayes said.

Maryland shot 56.3 percent from the field and made 4 of 8 three-point attempts. Senior forward Landon Milbourne finished with 14 points, and freshman forward Jordan Williams chipped in 11 points and 11 rebounds.

This year, Maryland's conference opponents have fallen by an average of 19 points at Comcast Center.

For the Terrapins, who are in the midst of playing three games in five days, the end result against Virginia -- not to mention the manner in which it was achieved -- was a welcome one. At least five Cavaliers guarded Vasquez before the intermission, but to no avail.

"My mentality is that I'm not going to miss any shot," Vasquez said. "I don't think nobody can guard me. You know, I'm going to drive, and if my shot is on, it's going to be hard for somebody to stop me."

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