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Posted at 8:12 AM ET, 01/10/2011

Vasquez: Cameron ‘a great place to play!’

By Liz Clarke

With fewer than 10,000 seats, Cameron Indoor Stadium doesn’t afford visiting teams much room for their entourage and supporters. But one Maryland fan stood out Sunday night: Greivis Vasquez, whose four-year career with the Terps came to an end last spring in storybook fashion, with a victory over Duke at Comcast Center, a share of the ACC regular-season title and ACC Player of the Year honors.

Vasquez, now the back-up point guard for the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies, sported a red Maryland T-shirt and followed the proceedings from a second-row seat on the aisle directly behind the Terps’ bench. As a spectator he was far less emotive than as a player but equally focused.

“This is so AMAZING!” Vasquez gushed in a brief chat at half time, with Duke leading 32-31. “I never expected [watching] to be this fun!”

Maryland had taken a 3-point lead with 3 minutes, 12 seconds remaining in the first half on the heels of terrific defense, holding the Devils' senior do-it-all guard Nolan Smith to just seven points in the period.

“The whole environment is amazing,” Vasquez continued, pausing to speak to a few Maryland fans. “This is a great place to play! The national championship team! Coach K! And my team doing this well! They’re playing better than the way we played last year at this place. I think they’re playing a lot better.”

Maryland lost to Duke at Cameron last season, 77-56. Sunday’s 71-64 defeat, indeed, was closer

For the most part Vasquez was overlooked by the fans at Cameron until he stood after Duke took its biggest lead, 63-56, with just over 3 minutes remaining, to urge the Terps on.

“Sit down Greivis! Sit down Greivis!” was the refrain from the raucous capacity crowd —hardly the harshest Vasquez heard during his visits to Cameron as a player.

By Liz Clarke  | January 10, 2011; 8:12 AM ET
Categories:  Gary Williams, Men's basketball  | Tags:  Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke basketball, Greivis Vasquez, Maryland basketball  
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Comments

We lost and that's a bummer, but a win would have been quite surprising. There was really only one key difference and that was our poor shooting at the FT line and behind the arc. Duke shot pretty poorly too, but not as badly as we shot. Stogs played like a freshman in Cameron for the first time: 1-10 overall and zilch for 6 on 3's. We took pretty good care of the ball and played tough defense. A win at Wake won't mean much but a loss will be crushing. GW can talk all he wants about the team getting better and that really won't matter if they don't start winning some games against good teams. Here we are again, playing from behind the eight ball.

Posted by: petecard | January 10, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Pete,

We hardly played behind the eight-ball last year as we rolled through the conference with a 13-3 record. Then again, with an experienced backcourt, that's what you should expect.

We knew this year would be a "rebuilding" year. The three seniors are talented and competent, but they are not leaders. We are forced to depend on freshmen in key situations and Jordan Williams, as a sohomore, is becoming the leader of this team. Given these factors, expecting more than an NCAA birth is unrealistic. Keep in mind that Florida (a more recent NC) has missed the tourney for two years in a row...it happens to all schools not named Duke and Kansas.

Don't worry. Sterling Gibbs and Nick Faust are coming next year. Our only glaring need is another big. Faust will probably be a one and done because he is that good.

With Bino and Rob Eshan on Gary's staff, we will continue to get good solid recruits. For all those people wanting a stacked 5-star recruitng class, well that creates a lot of player turnover each year which makes it difficult to play team ball. Good solid players that stay 3-4 years is what we are getting and is probably best for the program...all things considered.

Posted by: larry31 | January 10, 2011 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I'm torn. On one hand I am really tired of these "moral victories". But on the other, there's not a lot to be upset about regarding the execution last night. FTs continue to hurt. I am less concerned about the lack of a perimeter presence because that's simply not our game. The backcourt in any iteration (seniors or freshman) seems to be perpetually confused in the initial half-court set but once the players start moving they're usually good to go. Excellent defense last night, especially inside but even at the arc (with the glaring exception of Singler's dagger 3 at the end).

JW continues to get better. I think there's a real chance that he goes pro after this year. Sigh.

I know I am looking past Wake, but Nova has become almost a must-win at this point.

Posted by: caphillterp | January 10, 2011 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, And not funding 27 frickin' sports would certainly help football and basketball.

Posted by: larry31 | January 10, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Good comments Larry, especially the last one!

Posted by: petecard | January 10, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Our backcourt looks inexperience when playing in Cameron Arena against arguably the best halfcourt defensive team in the country. Did you notice how far out Stoglin and Howard were when they started the halfcourt sets. This is not a good sign for our point guards when running the offense but Duke recruits the best defensive players in the country and it just happens that they can shoot the three also. Against Wake it will look very different. Stoglin will appear to be the second coming of Grievas Vazquez. The Terps are a work in process. Gary can take 3 star players and coach them to beat Duke and their four and five star players. That is what Gary does best. The team will be different later in the year and they will look better right now against anyone not named Duke.

Posted by: torope | January 10, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Pete, don't Gary's teams play better when they're behind the 8 ball? Of course I'd rather be 2-0 in the ACC but some of our best years came after we started out slow. Gary always seem to find a way to get the most out of his teams after people start counting them out.

Maybe it's time for another 3-part series...(I kid, I kid)

Posted by: Barno1 | January 10, 2011 5:42 PM | Report abuse

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