Pulling rank: Terps rout Spartans in Old Spice

Maryland Men 80, No. 5 Michigan State 62

November 28, 2008|By Tania Ganguli | Tania Ganguli,Orlando Sentinel

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Before the final seconds ticked off the game clock, Maryland guard Greivis Vasquez turned to glare at a cheering section for No. 5 Michigan State that heckled him all game.

He took a few steps toward the fans, realized he was supposed to be on defense and rushed back toward the game action for the last few seconds.

Vasquez need not have worried.

Led by the junior guard's 17 points and six assists, the Terrapins (4-0) thrashed Michigan State, 80-62, in front of a sellout crowd at the Milk House at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex last night. The Terps next play at 5:30 p.m. today against No. 9 Gonzaga, which beat Oklahoma State, 83-71, last night.

"The whole team really believed we could win the game," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "Anytime you're playing a team that's rated higher than you are, if you don't believe you're going to win the game, you aren't going to win the game no matter what you do. To get this win today took a great effort from these guys. We haven't had a win like this since we beat [No. 1] North Carolina" in January.

Maryland's Dave Neal matched Vasquez's 17 points. Eric Hayes and Adrian Bowie added 13 apiece for the Terrapins.

Guard Travis Walton led Michigan State (2-1) with 16 points.

The Terps held Spartans standout forward Raymar Morgan to four points and shot 9-for-19 on three-pointers, compared with 2-for-9 for Michigan State.

The Terrapins also were much better at the free-throw line, going 17-for-21 while Michigan State was 12-for-27.

Morgan got into early foul trouble and wasn't a factor. He attempted just four shots in 14 minutes.

"The polls early are interesting," Williams said. "They're probably based on last year. Until teams start to get big wins, you aren't really going to have a legitimate Top 25."

Playing without starting center Goran Suton, Michigan State struggled to find the right assortment of players. The Spartans frequently used lineups heavy on underclassmen.

The Terrapins led by nine points in the first half, pulling ahead by shooting better than 50 percent for the game's first 16 minutes.

"Our defense wasn't good," Walton said. "And our offense wasn't that sharp. ... We have never played like that, and we've got to fix that."

The Terps let the Spartans back into the game as the first half closed, missing shots on six consecutive possessions and turning the ball over twice to end the half.

The Terps took a three-point lead into halftime and fell behind early in the second half.

But with 53.8 percent field-goal shooting in the second half and Michigan State shooting 40 percent, Maryland went right back to dominating.

The outnumbered red-clad crowd got louder as it grew clearer that Maryland was going to prevail.

"I got to congratulate Coach," Vasquez said, "because the first thing he said when he came into the locker room was, 'We got to come in and win the tournament.' "

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

MARYLAND (4-0) VS. NO. 9 GONZAGA (3-0)

Today,

5:30 p.m.

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