UM finds long-range touch, rolls to victory

Vasquez leads way as threes finally fall

Maryland 72 Lehigh 51

November 24, 2007|By Jeff Barker | Jeff Barker,Sun Reporter

COLLEGE PARK -- An antidote to what had been ailing the Maryland Terrapins came after Eric Hayes drove the lane and passed to an open Greivis Vasquez in the corner early in the second half of yesterday's game. Vasquez, who entered the game having missed 11 straight three-point attempts, tossed up a pillow-soft three that was good.

Vasquez followed with a two-point basket on the next possession, and the Terps (4-2), playing without an ailing Bambale Osby, were off on a 15-0 run and a 72-51 victory over Lehigh (2-3).

In was Maryland's first blowout victory since the season opener against North Florida and just the sort of feel-good game the Terps needed after consecutive losses in the CBE Classic in Kansas City, Mo. Maryland hosts Illinois at Comcast Center on Wednesday night in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Maryland's 15-point run, in which Lehigh was held scoreless for more than seven minutes, allowed the Terps to find a lost piece of themselves - their perimeter game.

"I got my shot back," said Vasquez, who led Maryland with 22 points on 8-for-10 shooting. "I wasn't going to stop shooting. The biggest thing is my shot selection had to be better, and it was big-time today."

Maryland, which made two of 26 three-point attempts in losses the past two games against UCLA and Missouri, was 5-for-14 against Lehigh.

Maryland coach Gary Williams said the difference was that the Terps were getting shooters the ball at the right time.

"I think our ball-handling has a lot to do with it," he said. "The better we run our offense, the better our three-point shooting will be."

Maryland, which had turned the ball over at least 20 times in every previous game, had 12 turnovers yesterday.

Maryland's second-half spurt was keyed by defense. Lehigh had 19 turnovers in the game. Sophomore guard Marquis Hall, who entered as one of the Patriot League's top scorers at 14.8 points per game, shot 2-for-16 from the field and finished with five points.

"Their pressure disrupted us at times," Lehigh coach Bret Reed said.

Maryland thrived against a smaller Lehigh team despite the loss of starting center Osby, who did not suit up because of a stomach ailment.

"Boom wasn't feeling too well in the shoot-around, so it was my time to get in," said Braxton Dupree, a freshman from Calvert Hall who started in his place. "A couple players told me to be ready to go."

Dupree, a wide body at 6 feet 8, 260 pounds, had 10 first-half points and 14 overall. His previous high was five points in Maryland's last game against Missouri, and he had been averaging 1.8 points per game.

While some teams play freshmen as a luxury, Maryland has been doing it out of necessity. Williams has been playing six freshmen - Dupree, Adrian Bowie, Jerome Burney, Dino Gregory, Cliff Tucker and Shane Walker - as he tinkers with his playing rotation.

Williams said he believes the young Terps are getting better but need more time - and competition - to be sure.

The Illinois game should help.

"I'd like to think we're making progress, but Wednesday will give us a better look," Williams said.

jeff.barker@baltsun.com

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