When a game is in doubt for Maryland, most people look for Greivis Vasquez to take the big shot. And when Maryland was down by 1 with a second to go, it was Vasquez that took a half court shot for the win, and he banked it in off the glass - after Gary Williams called a timeout. The second time around, it wasn't Vasquez but Cliff Tucker that took that final shot, a three in the corner at the buzzer with a hand in his face - and he drained it. Maryland celebrated, fans went crazy, and Georgia Tech look dejected as Maryland won, 76-74.
This was a game that Maryland didn't have in the bag at any point in the game, unlike every other ACC game at home all year. Despite a 5 point lead late in the game, they simply never put Georgia Tech away and a 12-2 GT run gave the Jackets a 5 point lead of their own. After fighting back to retake the lead, Derrick Favors hit a shot with 3 seconds left to give Georgia Tech the lead. That lead, of course, wouldn't hold.
This is the type of game that big time teams win. There's no other way to describe it - this was a game that they needed to win, and they got it at the buzzer. At the end of the day, nothing is more important than a win, and that's what Maryland got.
It is worth noting, though, this was the second game in a row that Maryland looked less than great in. Rebounding was a major culprit. Georgia Tech had 21 offensive rebounds and 24 second chance points - Maryland had half that. That was a major key coming into the game, and it didn't work out the way Maryland wanted.
Fatigue, however, had to play a major factor - this was Maryland's fourth game in eight days, and that had to take a toll. For that reason, I'm not going to look into this game too much. They had a rough stretch, and I'd be very surprised if that wasn't the main reason for their play. Things will get better soon, I'm pretty confident. If anything, this should be more encouraging - they won a game when they were tired, and that says a lot about the team.
Because you always do good before bad in individual notes: Eric Hayes. Eric Hayes. Eric Hayes. The man is clutch. He had 5 straight points in the final 2 minutes that gave Maryland a three point lead. In the end, it wouldn't hold up, but this was a big game for him.
Oh, and Jordan Williams. I don't relaly know how good his entire game was, but that's because I can't help but remember anything but his final 4 minutes. He had multiple huge plays, particularly on the glass, and it's safe to say he's pretty clutch. Derrick Favors won the battle, but Jordan didn't embarrass himself and was the winner.
On the bad side, Sean Mosley's struggles continued, but other offensive options stepped up again, this time Dino Gregory and Adrian Bowie. Bowie has developed a semi-consistent outside jumper out of nowhere, and Gregory was nothing short of great today. He was a solid offensive option and his jumper was Milbourne-esque.
Speaking of Milbourne, actually, it was his presence, or lack thereof, that hurt more than anything else. He had only 5 points and was basically invisible for much of the game. Sure, he was okay on the boards, but not good enough to avoid a sizable GT rebounding lead. And his usually steady jumper rarely fell - he was a shocking 2-11 from the field. In a close game like this, you need some of those to fall. Second rough game in a row for Landon - hopefully his body isn't breaking down again.
Like I said: the win trumps all. And that's what Maryland got.
Oh, and before I forget: Cliff Tucker for captain next year.