Elevating his game

In front of family, Vasquez scores career-high-tying 28, lifts Terps

Maryland 73 Youngstown State 49

November 19, 2008|By Don Markus | Don Markus,don.markus@baltsun.com

COLLEGE PARK - Throughout his basketball career at the University of Maryland, Greivis Vasquez has attracted attention - for good reasons or bad, and, at times, for no reason at all.

The junior guard who has sometimes seemed more interested in playing to the crowd than to the needs of his team did both last night in a 73-49 victory over Youngstown State at Comcast Center.

With his parents and older brother visiting from Venezuela, Vasquez scored 16 of a career-high-tying 28 points in the opening half, helping Maryland (2-0) close the half on a 20-2 run to take control.

Vasquez shot 10-for-17 from the field, an improvement over the 5-for-16 showing in Friday's season-opening win over Bucknell. He also led the Terps with eight rebounds, four assists and four steals in 30 minutes.

"I think he proved last year, making second-team All-ACC as a sophomore, he's a good player," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "It's early in the year. Players no matter what they did the year before, they need that positive thing to happen. Tonight was very positive for Greivis."

It was certainly Vasquez's strongest performance since coming back from surgery on his ankle over the summer. At times during the preseason scrimmages, Vasquez looked as if he didn't have the same burst to the basket. At other times, he looked as if he still wanted to be playing point guard.

"I'm working every day to get better, believe it or not," said Vasquez, who gestured toward the student section in the first half and acknowledged his family sitting behind the bench after a second-half layup. "I think I did a good job playing within the offense tonight and not trying to do too much."

The move from being the team's primary point guard to more of a wing position with some ball-handling duties has appeared to be a positive so far for Vasquez, and for Maryland.

"If he doesn't have to have the ball to get his points, he doesn't get as tired during the course of the game," Williams said.

Said Vasquez, whose previous career high came in a loss against American last season: "I think I'm going to do a better job now that I'm off the ball a little bit, but at the same time, I want the ball in my hands so I can make something happen."

That's what happened toward the middle of the first half. With Maryland leading 17-16, Vasquez spurred the Terps. He scored 10 points in a 14-0 run and 14 in the 20-2 run that helped Maryland open a 37-18 halftime lead. He did the same during another mini-run in the second half.

The performance by Vasquez, especially in the first half, helped overshadow another slow start by Maryland and the fact that the Terps were out-rebounded 45-34.

The game began about 10 minutes late because of a scoreboard malfunction, and the Terps began playing about 3 1/2 minutes after that. Youngstown State (0-2) scored the first six points, and Maryland missed its first five shot attempts.

Williams said the slow start didn't bother him because he thinks the Terps have plenty of company.

"We're just like every team I saw on television last night," Williams said. "We'd like to start better. I think we will."



As they did in the season opener against Bucknell, the Terps were sluggish coming out, failing to score in the first 3 1/2 minutes and missing their first five shot attempts. Against better competition, Maryland might find itself in a bigger hole.


Coach Gary Williams thinks the depth he has on the perimeter might help his team defensively even more than offensively, and he said its athleticism could make this season's team one of his most effective at getting turnovers - and points - off the press.


Jack Liles, who grew up in Odenton, had a solid game for Youngstown State. The senior forward scored a team-high 12 points and had eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks.


The Terps' next game is Friday night against Vermont, which is coached by former Catholic University coach and Maryland assistant Mike Lonergan. One of Lonergan's assistants is Matt Hahn, who played at Maryland when his father, Billy, was one of Williams' assistants.

Don Markus

VERMONT (1-1) @MARYLAND (2-0 )

Friday, 8 p.m.

TV: Comcast


Radio: 105.7 FM, 1300 AM

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