Posts Tagged 'Greivis Vasquez'

Terps Visit Hokies Tonight; NCAA Tourney Hopes On The Line For Both Squads

It is hard to believe it was almost a year ago (2/27 to be exact) that Maryland toppled Virginia Tech one of the more memorable games I can recall as a Terps fan.

The tip time was originally scheduled for 4:00 pm, but a beer truck ran over a nearby fire hydrant hours before the game, fracturing a water line that led to the Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg.

The game was delayed nearly three hours, but once it got going, it was ACC basketball at its finest. It featured 24 lead changes, 15 ties, and two overtimes. Greivis Vasquez dropped 41 and Malcolm Delaney added 28. When all was said and done, Maryland came out on top with a 104-100 win, and a NCAA Tournament berth was all but secured.

Fast forward to tonight’s game where the Terrapins (16-9, 5-5) need a win much more than they did last year when they visited Tech. But the Hokies (16-7, 6-4), even with seniors Delaney and Jeff Allen, are not where they would like to be record-wise at this point in the season. They need this game just as bad as the Terps do if they want to make a run at the big dance, especially after getting snubbed by the selection committee a year ago.

Delaney has been a fantastic player in his four years as a Hokie, however, it has been Allen that has carried the load in the last few weeks. In the past five games, he hasn’t scored less than 15 points or grabbed fewer than 11 rebounds a single time. Over that span, he’s averaging 20.2 ppg and 13.2 rpg.

Maryland’s Jordan Williams has similar numbers for the season in 17.1 ppg and 11.8 rpg. It will be interesting to watch these two go at it and fight for boards. Allen has the edge at the foul line (66%) shooting a full ten percentage points higher than Williams (56%).

Back on January 20 of this season, the Hokies came into College Park and dealt the Maryland their worst loss ever in the Comcast Center, a 17 point defeat. You know that game is still fresh in the minds of players from both teams. Across the board, Tech is the more talented team. But if the Terps can play a complete game tonight, I really believe they can pull this off.

And a complete game means the following:

Sean Mosely finally stepping up. 7.7 ppg in ACC games this year?? He has more than that in him. He knows this offense and can attack the rim well. I don’t see any reason why he can’t finish with 15 tonight.

Hitting free throws. UMD is shooting 65.2% as a team…tied for 281st in the country. It has been said since those 2K Sports Classic games back in November against Pittsburgh and Illinois, the foul shooting have to improve.

Cutting down on Turnovers. One stat that was critical to Maryland’s win in last year’s thriller against Tech was the turnovers, or lack thereof. In the entire second half (including both OT’s), they only committed two turnovers. Two! Possessions are so valuable, throwing them away with careless passes, charges, and moving screens cannot happen tonight if the Terps want to win. 13.6 is their season average. Keeping that number below double digits will would help immensely tonight.

Should be fun!! Tip is at 8:00 on ACC/Raycom

Peace

A Look Back: Greivis Vasquez

How do I begin to describe this young man??

It keeping with the theme of the other two posts of Hayes and Milbourne, I’ll describe him the way he was introduced for four years at Comcast Center…a 6’6″ guard…from Caracas, Venezuela…#21…Greivis Vasquez!!

I’ve seen countless nicknames for him. Tim Brando called him the Vivacious Venezuelan. Others have called him the Venezuelan sensation. There are signs and posters that say VIVA VASQUEZ.

Whatever you call him, you have to respect his game and the mark he left on the Maryland basketball program. Let’s take a look.

It was evident from his freshman year that Vasquez had very real talent. He was an extension of coach Gary Williams while on the floor: Emotional, passionate, and hard-working. At times he took ill-advised shots and made careless turnovers, which was a cause of concern for some. But he contributed a great deal as a freshman and helped Maryland reach the second round of the NCAA tournament.

In his sophomore year he increased his numbers across the board in rebounds, points, and assists. However his turnovers per game nearly doubled and the inconsistent Terps failed to make the Big Dance.

In Vasquez’s junior year, he once again put up very solid numbers. Although the team fell to Duke three times, including a 40 point loss in Durham, the high point of the season came on Feb. 21, 2009.

Facing the third ranked (and eventual National Champion) UNC Tar Heels, Greivis placed the team on his back and put up one of the most impressive single game performances in school history. He dropped 35 points, grabbed 11 boards, and had 10 assists: The first Maryland triple-double since 1987.

Maryland went on the reach the second round the NCAA’s once again. But just like in his freshman year, Vasquez couldn’t do enough as a talent filled Memphis squad rolled over the Terps 89-70.

There was much speculation as to whether or not he would forgo his senior year and turn pro. I inaccurately predicted (see last paragraph) that he would go pro. It seemed inevitable. There had been some tension between him and the fans earlier in the season…and if you are good enough to go professional, why wouldn’t you?

Vasquez went to a few pre-draft workouts to see how he stacked up against the competition and how high he might get picked. He never signed an agent which meant he was still eligible to come back and play his senior season if he wanted to. And once the workouts were over, that is exactly what happened. There would be a senior year for Mr. Vasquez after all.

And what a senior year it was. In averaging 19.6 ppg, 6.3 apg, and 4.6 rpg, he never scored below 10 points in any of the team’s conference games. He led the team to seven consecutive victories to close out the season including two memorable games: at Virginia Tech and senior night vs. Duke.

The game at Blacksburg was wild for many reasons. The start time of the game was delayed nearly three hours because a beer truck ran over a fire hydrant and broke a water main. The game itself was thrilling. Back and forth with numerous ties and lead changes in the second half. It took two overtime periods to decide this one. But the Terps emerged victorious behind a career high 41 points from Vasquez.

The Duke game was big as always because Maryland fans just despise the Blue Devils. But for the first time in almost a decade, the stakes were high…a share of the regular season ACC title was on the line. Just like the Tech game, this one had a great flow. Back and forth it went in the second half. And with 39 seconds left to play, with his team up by two, Vasquez hit an extremely difficult fall away runner that helped seal the win for Maryland.

Just like in ’07 and 09′, the Terrapins’ 2010 season ended in the second round of the NCAA Tourney. Against Michigan State, Vasquez put the Terps up by one with 6 seconds to play, but a buzzer beater by the Spartans’ Korie Lucious ended Greivis’ season, and his career.

The career numbers for Vasquez are quite amazing. He is the first Maryland player to ever record 500 rebounds and 500 assists and the only player in ACC history to amass 2,000 points, 700 rebounds, and 600 assists. In his final game he surpassed the late Len Bias as the Terrapins second leading scorer all-time. Only Juan Dixon compiled more career points.

Greivis Vasquez…A Terrapin Forever…Thank You!!!!!!!!!!!!

Michigan State 85 – Maryland 83

Michigan State's Korie Lucious celebrates his game winning shot against Maryland on Sunday

Well that was certainly an abrupt end to a stellar season by the Maryland Terrapins.

The first thing that ran through my mind as Korie Lucious drained his buzzer beater was “So this is what Georgia Tech felt like back on Feb. 20 when Cliff Tucker hit his crazy game winner.

If you are a supporter of the Terps I do not see how you can’t be proud of this year’s team. They far exceeded the expectations most had for them going into this season and did so in the most exhilarating fashion possible.

I read some comments online regarding the game and the naysayers and nitpickers are all saying the team played like garbage for most of the game and deserved to lose. And that is their opinion and they are entitled to it.

However the way I see it, looking back at how yesterday’s game concluded…you really could not have asked more in terms of effort.

Lucious made a layup with 2:09 left in the game to extend the Spartan lead to 9. The Terps then proceeded to go on a 10-0 run over the next 1:47. They did so by forcing turnovers with the pesky press and capitalizing on them by hitting big shots.

It looked as if the game was in hand when Greivis Vasquez hit a short jumper with 6.6 seconds remaining. But it wasn’t meant to be as Lucious hit the shot of the day to advance Michigan State to the Sweet 16.

Check out the gameflow chart (right) from ESPN.com. If you show me that chart without me ever seeing the game I would say the red team refused to accept defeat and had a never say die attitude. Going back to what I said earlier, that is the kind of team I want. They didn’t pack it in or start sulking when the chances of winning looked slim. They gave it their all and I will always remember that about this year’s team.

Check back this week for a look back at the careers of  seniors Greivis Vasquez, Landon Milbourne, and Eric Hayes.

Memphis 89 – Maryland 70

Mar. 21, 2009, 6:44 PM

Maryland’s season has officially come to an end. The high flying Tigers from Memphis outplayed the Terps in every possible way on Saturday afternoon, and they move on to face the winner of Sunday’s Missouri-Marquette game.

-The way Memphis shot the three-ball in the first half, that was the worst imaginable start MD. By halftime, the Tigers were 8 of 11 from beyond the arc. From the 4:52 mark in the first half to 1:24, they were 5 of 5 from downtown.

-Memphis did cool down eventually, but the Terps didn’t play their game at all. They panicked and played like a team who didn’t know what to do down by 20. They were careless with the ball and played lousy defense.

-It would have been interesting to see how Maryland would have fared if they had jumped out to an early lead. But Memphis took control of the game very early and never looked back. They played like a team wanting to make a statement.

-I think it speaks volumes, the way that the kids played for Gary throughout the season. Whether it was a win or a loss, the players always had Gary’s back and played their hearts out for him him. Forget the media and the fans who moan and complain. For the players to give everything they have, that’s all you can ask for from a team.

-I’m not sure if we have seen Greivis Vasquez play his last game as a Terrapin. I wouldn’t be suprised if he tries to go pro. There is a chance he will return, but my gut says that his days as a Terp are over.

Tickets Punched, UMD 75 – WAKE 64

Mar. 13, 2009, 9:30 PM

When the Maryland Terps last played Wake Forest, they played as well as you could play without actually winning the game. Dave Neal had a spectacular game on his senior night and for most of the game it looked like Maryland had the Demon Deacons’ number. But thanks to 18 offensive rebounds from Wake, it turned out to be another frustrating collapse by Gary Williams’ squad.

Fast forward to tonight’s ACC Tournament Quarterfinal game. Behind the leadership of Greivis Vasquez, Maryland out hustled Wake and came out on top 75-64. With the win, Maryland pretty much guaranteed themselves a spot in the NCAA Tournament

Here are some statistics that jump out at me immediately: Maryland from the field, 44%. Wake, 30%. Free Throws: Maryland shot 81% while Wake shot 71 %. And finally the most staggering of numbers: The Demon Deacons were 3-25 from beyond the arc. That’s 12%!! Maryland on the other hand shot a cool 38%.

So statistically speaking, Maryland won easily. And that is fine. But I was really impressed with the effort from the whole team. Mosely, Hayes, Neal, Milbourne. They all played smart basketball.

Next up for the Terps will be the winner of the Duke/Boston College game

Terps secure first round win over N.C. State

Mar. 12, 2009, 9:59 PM

All season the Maryland Terrapins have played their best basketball when their backs have been up against the wall. Tonight’s opening round game against N.C. State in the ACC Tournament was no different.

Eric Hayes led the Terps in scoring with a career high 21 points, thanks to his five 3-pointers. Greivis Vasquez played unselfish basketball, dishing out ten assists while scoring 17 points and only turning the ball over two times.

The Wolfpack got out to a nice lead early in the game, leading by 13 at one point in the first half. But Hayes was able to knock down three 3-pointers to cut into the lead. The two teams were tied at halftime.

In the 2nd half, there were numerous ties and lead changes. This back and forth battle continued until freshman Sean Mosely made a lay-up with 3:52 remaining to give the Terps a 63-62 lead. They never looked back. That basket was the beginning of an 11-0 Maryland run in which the Wolfpack were unable to score for over three minutes.

With the victory Maryland moves on the the ACC Quarterfinals where they will face the number two seeded Wake Forest Demon Deacons Friday evening. The game can be seen on RAYCOM Sports in ACC Markets and ESPN2 nationally.

Big Win for UMD

Mar. 1, 2009, 9:59 PM

Wow what a tremendous win for Gary Williams and the Maryland Terps. They really needed a victory tonight against N.C. State to keep their hopes of a NCAA Tournament bid alive, and they were able to get the win at RBC Center by a score of 71-60. Junior guard Greivis Vasquez led the Terps with 33 points, and scored 21 of them in the second half.

The win was only the second one to come on the road this year for Maryland. The other one came exactly three weeks ago when they were able to topple Georgia Tech in an ugly game in Atlanta.

At one point in the first half, it looked like all the Terps wanted to shoot were three-pointers. Which was fine because Vasquez, Dave Neal, and Eric Hayes were all making their shots.

Maryland trailed only once the entire game, that was after Wolfpack forward Tracy Smith was able to sink a fadeaway with 9:21 remaining in the 2nd half and draw a foul from Dino Gregory. Tracy hit his foul shot to make the score 49-47.

On Maryland’s very next possession, Cliff Tucker drained a three-pointer to steal the lead right back, making the score 50-49.

N.C. State was able to tie it up two more times in the second half before Maryland pulled away down the stretch with a pair of big shots beyond the arc from Vasquez and Neal.

Maryland has now won four of their past six, this is the perfect time for them to be hitting their stride.

–Up Next: Maryland has one day to prepare #13 Wake Forest. They host them this Tuesday night at Comcast Center. I don’t expect the Terps to win this one but marks my words, if they do, they will absolutely have a spot in this year’s NCAA Tournament


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