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Terrapins, Blue Devils combine for something special
Duke may be the team Maryland fans most love to hate. And though Maryland isn't as reviled as North Carolina in the eyes of Blue Devil fans, the Terps are close.
That said, coaching rivals Mike Krzyzewski and Gary Williams, who boast 882 and 659 career victories respectively, had nothing but praise for one another's teams in the aftermath of Duke's 71-64 win at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Sunday night.
Regardless of rooting interest, it was a terrific game, with the lead swapping hands six times, the score knotted six times and neither team managing a double-digit lead at any point.
"I think Duke is the best team in the country," Williams said without hesitation. "So whether anybody can come in here and get them or not - I don't know. I know they'll have to play well to do that because the one thing [with] Duke you can count on, regardless of how they shoot, they will play with a certain level of intensity every time. They never go below that. I've never seen it, so I think that's to their credit.
"And you know that walking in. Especially here, which can be intimidating. So [as a coach] you have to figure out a way to get your team to play at that level. That's hard to do."
Williams and his Terps (10-5, 0-2) held Duke (15-0, 2-0) to its fewest points (71) and its worst shooting percentage (40.3; or 25 of 62) of the season.
Said Krzyzewski: "We played against as well-coached a team as we have played against all year. I mean Gary's a great friend, but he's a great coach. And his game plan against us was magnificent. They really crowded the paint . . . and they just played a really strong, aggressive, physical game. They were very good. I mean, really good. We haven't been in a game like that."
Vasquez looks on
With fewer than 10,000 seats, Cameron Indoor Stadium doesn't afford visiting teams much room for their entourage and supporters. But one Maryland fan stood out Sunday night: Greivis Vasquez, whose four-year career with the Terps came to an end last spring in storybook fashion, with a victory over Duke at Comcast Center, a share of the ACC regular season title and ACC Player of the Year honors.
Vasquez, now the backup point guard for the Memphis Grizzlies, sported a red Maryland T-shirt and followed the proceedings from a second-row seat on the aisle directly behind the Terps' bench. As a spectator he was far less emotive than as a player, but equally focused.
"The whole environment is amazing," Vasquez gushed, pausing to speak to a few Maryland fans. "This is a great place to play! The national championship team! Coach K! And my team doing this well! They're playing better than the way we played last year at this place. I think they're playing a lot better."
For the most part Vasquez was overlooked by Blue Devil fans until he stood to urge on the Terps after Duke took a 63-56 lead with just over three minutes remaining.
"Sit down Greivis! Sit down Greivis!" was the refrain from the raucous crowd - hardly the harshest Vasquez heard during his visits to Cameron as a player.