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Thoughts from Blacksburg: Maryland 104, Virginia Tech 100

Sorry for the late up, everyone. The game getting pushed back kind of threw off my plans, and I didn't get home til about 2:00. At that point, I was not firing up the computer.

Because this doesn't really require a recap of any sort (Maryland won by four in 2OT, as I'm sure you've heard) I'll just jump straight in to thoughts.

Greivis Vasquez. Greivis Vasquez. Greivis Vasquez. Greivis. Vasquez. A career-high 41 points and an overall outstanding game. The point total tied him for third most in a single game in Terp history, and the most since Len Bias matched his total in '86. When fans started chanting "U.S.A." when he was shooting free throws and struggling a little bit, I leaned over to the person next to me and muttered "Greivis would probably deny it, but pissing him off isn't a good idea." Was that it? Probably not. But it did make me look really smart.

This was a statement game for him, both for Maryland history and for the ACC player of the year race. If this doesn't get him ahead of Scheyer, I'm not sure what will. It's worth noting, too, that he only had 2 turnovers all day. For someone usually criticized for his inconsistency on that front, he was very careful with the ball.

Anyway, Vasquez was simply outstanding, but you already know that, so I'm not going to go on and on about it. Most of the rest of the team was quiet in the point total, but Eric Hayes and Sean Mosley deserve commendation for their performances. Mosley was the catalyst early on when Vasquez was struggling a little and nailed the final two free throws, and Hayes was ridiculously clutch with a late shot and a bunch of late game-sealing free throws.

Jordan Williams was actually great as well; I swear, as soon as he starts knocking down free throws he'll be a machine. He had 15 rebounds, provided arguably most of Maryland's only interior defense, and had 9 points. Had he made a few more FTs, it would've been a double-double - its just another reminder that he will be great in a year or two.

As a team, they showcased some amazing persistency. When there are three comeback wins, you begin to think that there's some mojo behind this team. Maybe its the senior presence, or Greivis Vasquez's will, or something else entirely, but they do not go away and have a ton of fight in them. That's standard for a Gary Williams team, but it's always fantastic to see.

Turnovers were under control. For the most part, defense was admirable (though does anyone know how to stop the ball?). Shooting was solid. The only real negative, and it was a small one, was defensive rebounding; although J-Dub helped to even it out, Virginia Tech (particularly Jeff Allen) had a stretch where they grabbed simply every single offensive rebound they could, and that would've been the main culprit had Erick Green's shot gone in. It's something we've come to expect as well, but one could think it would be fixed by now. To be fair, a lot of those rebounds were long bounces, so it wasn't entirely Maryland's fault. Fortunately, it didn't matter in the end, and Jordan's presence started to curb some of those rebounds; Maryland ended up with just a 7 board deficit, negligble in a game this long.

One closing note: the VT student section is kind of embarassing. They were loud, though not defeaning, but they were amazingly unoriginal. Booing Vasquez is overdone; "Sweat Gary Sweat" was Duke's; saying "Sucks" after a player's name is Maryland's deal; "USA" was Florida State's and still untasteful; and "Left Right Left Right" is done everywhere. Seriously guys?

Anyway, it was another ACC road win, and you'll welcome those any way they come. This game was a joy to watch, and it was a great day to be a Maryland fan. Onwards to Duke.