Terps conclude long day with big win
The Maryland men's basketball team began its day Saturday with a shootaround at Cassell Coliseum at 9 a.m. When the Terrapins returned to the arena roughly five hours later, they noticed something different about the setting.
"To be here and then get off the bus and see the river coming down the road right there when we got off the bus, we knew something was up," Coach Gary Williams said. "But the thought didn't go through my mind at that time that they were going to delay the game. I just thought it was a main that was leaking and they could fix it and we'd play."
So the players started filtering out onto the court around 2 p.m. -- about two hours prior to the originally scheduled tip-off of 4 p.m. -- and began taking warm-up shots. Senior guard Greivis Vasquez appeared first, as is his custom, and he was followed by walk-on Ersin Levent and a few others.
Little did they know that about an hour earlier, a catering truck carrying beer to an alumni function at the arena had run into a fire hydrant behind Cassell Coliseum. And that in an attempt to fix that problem, workers created enough back pressure in the piping system that another water main broke. Thus, "the river" to which Williams was referring.
It wasn't until about 2:30 p.m. when an announcement came over the loudspeakers at Cassell Coliseum that the game would be postponed until at least 6:30 p.m. By that time, Vasquez and Levent had been joined out on the court by Sean Mosley, Dino Gregory, Adrian Bowie, Eric Hayes, David Pearman and several members of the Virginia Tech team.
Several players either ignored the announcement or didn't hear it because they kept right on shooting. Finally, the news spread and players began walking off the court to return to the visiting locker room. Before they left, Gregory and Bowie attempted a few half-court shots.
At 2:45 p.m., Maryland packed up its gear and headed into the Virginia Tech football team lounge in the basement of the arena, where they tried to keep themselves pre-occupied by watching TV or playing pool. The Virginia Tech players were sent home. Hokies Coach Seth Greenberg went for a personal workout.
Meantime, Williams and several Maryland assistants watched as the Wake Forest-North Carolina game played out on the video board inside Cassell Coliseum. Wake Forest lost, meaning that with a win over the Hokies, the Terrapins would be assured of no less than the No. 2 seed in the upcoming ACC tournament.
At 4:44 p.m., Vasquez returned to the court and began warming up ... again. Jordan Williams followed shortly thereafter and began taking shots on the opposite end of the court. Virginia Tech guard Malcolm Delaney appeared at 4:47 p.m.
But then the Maryland players cleared the court again after news came that yet another water main had busted. Finally, at 5:25 p.m. it was clear that the game would go on at 7 p.m. and the Terrapins went out onto the court to resume their warmups.
Oh, and then they played at a heart-racing tempo in a game that extended into two overtime periods before Maryland finally prevailed.
"To me, this is one of the best wins ever," said Vasquez, who finished with 41 points. "There’s no excuses for us. We came out here on a mission. We knew that we were going to face a hungry team that is trying to make it to the NCAA tournament, and, you know, they came out hard. They played really hard. But we got the win at the end."
February 28, 2010; 1:02 PM ET
Categories: Men's basketball
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