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Vasquez finding way back on track

You get the sense watching senior guard Greivis Vasquez that he's getting closer to the form in which Maryland needs him to operate in order for the Terrapins to be most successful this season. After a slow start, Vasquez put up decent point totals in Maui, but the rest of his game still seemed off.

Then last night in an 80-68 win over Indiana, Vasquez tallied a game-high 23 points, 8 assists and 5 rebounds.

"I’ll take him playing like he did [Tuesday] anytime," Coach Gary Williams said. "That was a great performance out there tonight under a lot of pressure."

Perhaps Vasquez's most important contribution came from the free throw line, where he made 13 of 14 attempts. He shot 11 for 12 from the charity stripe in the second half. The Terrapins have struggled of late with their free throw shooting, and if you take away Vasquez's free throw numbers, Maryland shot 58.8 percent from the foul line Tuesday night. Add them back in, and Maryland shot 74.2 percent.

"Down the stretch, that’s where he’s at his best, I think, when we do have the lead and we have to protect the lead because he’s a very good free throw shooter," Gary Williams said. "He’s very confident with the ball. He’s not going to make too many mistakes in those situations. You know, I was really happy for Greivis because he’s been struggling a little, fighting some things, and tonight he came out and he was, in addition to the way he played he was a very good leader in the huddles and at halftime and things like that."

The one area in which Vasquez continues to struggle is his shooting from the field. He shot 28.6 percent (4 for 14) from the field Tuesday against Indiana. Still, if Vasquez can tally 23 points every game, Williams and Vasquez's teammates likely won't mind how they were compiled.

"That’s what we expect from him," senior guard Eric Hayes said. "He always loves coming into other people’s places and doing well and having the crowd against him. That’s what we expect, and we’re not surprised at all."

By Steve Yanda  |  December 2, 2009; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Comments

i saw Restonhoops post on a previous thread calling for Gary's head...are you even a MD fan? Not sure that I have seen you say anything positive about the program and a whole lot of negative about Gary. Please explain your colege basketball allegiances if you get the chance. Poopy has done so (and other on the board have accused him of being you and vice versa) but clearly he attended MD and wants to see the programs win. I have explained other teams that I support in the past as well. Not an attack, but just curious.

Regards -

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | December 2, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

God I hope the rest of the week is layup and free-throw drills.

Posted by: Colm1 | December 2, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Sure he score 23 points and registered 8 assists, but how many posessions were ended because of stupid shots that he chucked up or the number of drives he made into dead ends? If Maryland wants to be successful this year, 23 points on 4-14 shooting from Vasquez just is not going to get it done. He throws up way too much JUNK. Some of it does fall or he gets fouled because of his goofy delivery, but all it does is further his confidence to keep chucking the ball at the rim. I had hoped that he would have learned by now what a "good" shot looks like, and that passing up a marginal or circus shot to run some more offense is way better than the 20-30% chance of getting that shot to fall and his name mentioned on SportsCenter. The flex was working to perfection last night, and if Vasquez had shown a little more patience at the end of the first half and beginning of the second half, he would have reached double-digit assists or had a much better shooting percentage.

The Terps are going nowhere with performances like this from Vasquez. The Terps were fortunate to get Indiana in a year where they're only marginally better than their all-time worst team from last season. If Vasquez cannot reach double figures with a 40%+ shooting percentage, the Terps stand no chance against teams like Villanova.

Posted by: Russtinator | December 2, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I like Vasquez, but I'd be happy if I never saw him take another 3.

Posted by: acebojangles | December 2, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Russtinator, with all due respect your assertions are based on a false assumption - which is that FG% is the be all end all of offensive efficiency stats. It doesn't matter how much people huff and puff over a poor FG%, 23 points on 14 FG attempts is a very efficient number. FG% is starting to become like Batting Avg in baseball - a reasonably useful stat that people assign way too much weight to. Guys that get to the line frequently and make FTs (e.g., Scheyer, Delaney) don't need to shoot as high of a FG % to be efficient. If you count each of GV's made FTs as half a made FG, he ends up with a FG% better than 50%.

I will agree that GV needs better shot selection at times, but to say that he should never take another 3 (acebojangles) is ludicrous. He is 4 for 9 from 3 the last 2 games - that's an impressive 44% for the math-challenged.

He put up 23 points (on 14 shots...good efficiency), 8 assists, and 5 rebounds...and "we're going nowhere with performances like this" from him?!? Yeah, alright...

Posted by: Jeremy76 | December 2, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Vasquez scored 23 points because he shot well from the line. He was 4/14 from the field (28%), which is not at all an efficient number. His decision making must improve. There were numerous times in the game where he made bad decisions and either turned the ball over by trying to force something that wasn't there, or by taking a bad shot. I agree that his free throw shooting was clutch and was needed in the second half, but if he's going to run the point his decision making has to be better. Indiana is a bad team that we struggled with for most of the game. If we play like this against top 25 teams, we'll be embarrassed.

Posted by: CYork1 | December 2, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

"It doesn't matter how much people huff and puff over a poor FG%, 23 points on 14 FG attempts is a very efficient number."

That would be fine if FG attempts were counted when you missed in the act of being fouled. However, missed FGs do not count as an attempt if the player is fouled, but do count as attempts if the shot is made in the act of being fouled. Vasquez is a SENIOR now with NBA aspirations, and if he wants to become a pro and/or advance this team deep into the post season, he needs to stop taking marginal shots, because he might as well just hand the ball to the other team for a fast break. He needs to be smarter in the shots that he does take. I don't have too much of a problem with most of the 3's he takes, but I think he gets into trouble when he drives the lane expecting everyone to move out of his way so he can get a layup. Too often, he gets to the foul line and has already made up his mind whether he's going to go all the way, pull up, or pass, regardless of what the defense does once he gets closer to the basket. He frequently gets himself into situations where he has to put up a crazy shot that has little or no shot of scoring or even being rebounded by an offensive player. Even in last year's UNC triple double game, he put up a lot of STUPID shots, but lucky for him and the Terps that a lot of those shots dropped or bounded back to him or a teammate for a score.

If you're ok with a guy chucking up 14-18 shots a game (that's 1/3 of a team's posessions in an average game) and making 4-6 of them, but getting foul shots on another 5-7 shots that don't show up on the stat sheet, fine, but those 10-15 shots that he does miss might as well be turnovers. Vasquez is key to this team becoming a great team that can challenge for the ACC Title, and if he continues to put up ill-advised shots, this team is going to have a hard time achieving their goals. If his shot is just off on a given night, that's fine, but much of the poor shooting percentages we're seeing this season from Vasquez is due to poor shot selection, and last night was a prime example. Watch that game again, and count the number of truly "good" shots (not that they went in, but that they were situations where he was in a good position to score) he took last night, and I guarantee you will be able to count those shots on one hand. Also watch the shots that he missed and notice what happens to the floor balance, becuase on too many occasions a missed GV shot turns into a fast break the other way.

He's the kind of player that is naturally going to take a high volume of shots just because he touches the ball a lot and has a scorers mentality, but if he can shoot in the 40% range, this team will perform much better. There are not too many successful NBA players that consistantly shoot in the 20-30% range, so if GV wants to be the player thinks he is, he needs to be a little smarter on the court.

Posted by: Russtinator | December 2, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

GV got a lot of points from last minute garbage time free throws. Which is good to see him make those shots, but artificially inflates his point tally and make things look better than they are (see Russinator's misconceptions as exhibit A).

I would rather have seen him pass the ball in the final few minutes to other guys so they could shoot some free throws. He didn't miss much, so it worked out, and maybe it gets him back on track. I don't know.

Posted by: ckstevenson | December 2, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Until Vasquez looks to pass first, and shoot second, the Terps won't get great rythm. He may be the most talented player they have, but all too often, he fails to see anyone else in red and forces stupid shots. As a result, the rest of the team tends to stand around.

At the least, they should move him to the two guard and let Mosley be the point.

Here's hoping it all works out! Go TERPS!

Posted by: jimbo561 | December 3, 2009 6:39 AM | Report abuse

hayes deserves to be shooting those free throws at the end of the game...with vasquez being the secondary option.

i agree with russinators point that he needs to stop taking those bad shots and drives to dead ends for this team to be competitive with top 25 teams and become one themselves...you cant really argue that...bad shots and dead end drives are turnovers...and whats worse is that they give the other team transition breaks...

exactly what we thrive on...

jimbo said it best...pass first and shoot second...

i sometimes think hayes should be running the show and looking to get greivis going...

if greivis is a true pt guard then he needs to start playing like one...

Posted by: deadskin | December 3, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Why are we talking about Vasquez again?

His play has been horrible and he is so self-absorbed it is sickening.

Hayes, on the other hand, has been a real bright spot.

GV needs to sit a bit and get his head shrunk.

Posted by: petecard | December 3, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

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