Lowe on GV: 'He's Clever'
After last night's game, N.C. State Coach Sidney Lowe said he was experiencing a sensation he had not felt in a while. His team had shown improvement in recent weeks. The Wolfpack had a adapted to a style of player better suited to their makeup, and it was paying off.
But against Maryland, N.C. State reverted back to some of its old, not-so-encouraging habits, and Lowe had a theory as to the main source of his team's struggles.
"For some reason, we kept backing off," Lowe said. "Vasquez did it again. He just scored. He won the match-up. Javi (Gonzalez) did a great job trying to deny him, but we didn't do enough, so he scored. We didn't guard him at all."
Indeed, junior guard Greivis Vasquez put forth another dazzling offensive perfomance last night against N.C. State. He tallied 33 points on 13 of 23 shooting and five assists.
Early on, Vasquez made his mark by driving into the lane and waiting for a collection of N.C. State defenders to close in on him. At the last possible moment, he either flung a pass out to an open teammate on the perimeter, or he found a way to get off a shot of his own. After a while, the Wolfpack didn't appear to know where Vasquez was going with the ball or what choice he would make. And the guessing game did not fare N.C. State well.
"Well, Greivis is smart enough to know that they, you know, people are going to help on him," Gary Williams said. "If we do get some looks for some guys that can shoot the ball, you know, then Dave Neal's got to step up and make shots. Cliff Tucker. You know, obviously Eric (Hayes)."
Against the Wolfpack, Neal, Tucker and Hayes shot a combined 9 for 16 from the field and tallied 27 points.
But Vasquez was just as effective playing off the ball. Several times throughout the game, N.C. State attempted to run a box-and-1 defensive scheme with a defender isolated on Vasquez. The defender -- typically either Gonzalez or Courtney Fells -- would chase Vasquez around the court, only to eventually run into a screen from one of Vasquez's teammates. Those cuts freed Vasquez up for some open looks, and he often made them count.
"I think Eric Hayes really finds Greivis when he's open, for one thing," Williams said. "He's getting some good screens from guys like Dino Gregory and Dave Neal, which really help but don't show in the box scores and things like that. He is getting open. Now, we have to continue to do that because, obviously, other teams are aware of that."
As for Lowe, well, once again he was left with a favorable impression of Maryland's marquee player.
"He's clever," Lowe said of Vasquez. "He has a great basketball IQ. He's a savvy player. He is able to read the defense and know what you're doing. If we chased him, he curled. He's a smart basketball player."
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