Greivis Vasquez receives congratulations from coaches and… (Baltimore Sun photo by Gene…)
COLLEGE PARK — It sure felt sweet for Maryland to return home, see all that red in the stands Monday night and bask in familiar surroundings. Actually, the Terrapins appeared pleased to be anywhere but Cameron Indoor Stadium, where they were humbled by Duke two days earlier.
Maryland has been a competitive road team this season - a 2-3 Atlantic Coast Conference mark - but the Terps have been downright potent at Comcast Center, where they improved their league record to 5-0 with an 85-66 pasting of Virginia.
Maryland surely knew it was home when Greivis Vasquez - who scored 30 points - did a trademark hip waggle for the student section after his 3-pointer put the Terps ahead, 42-27, in the first half. The Terps were shooting 69.2 percent at that point. They had shot 37.7 percent in losing, 77-56, at Duke on Saturday.
"I'm not big on individual performances usually, but what [Vasquez] did tonight was exceptional," said Maryland coach Gary Williams, who noted that the Terps were playing on a short turnaround of one day between games. "It wasn't easy to get ready to play this game."
Maryland (17-7, 7-3 ACC), which had won its previous ACC home games by an average of 19 points, acted as if it couldn't wait to play another game after the Duke drubbing.
The antsiest, it appeared, was Vasquez, who seems to be savoring every home game of his senior season.
"I've got a couple more games, so I don't want to waste any time, any seconds. I want to enjoy my last couple games at Comcast," Vasquez said. The Terps have two more home games before Vasquez and the other seniors play their final home game against Duke on March 3.
Vasquez, 6 feet 6, took advantage of Virginia's smaller guards to convert 10 of his first 12 shots as the Terps quickly seized a lead that was never threatened. Vasquez had 25 points at the half.
It was perhaps Vasquez's best half since last season's second North Carolina game, when he scored a career-high 35 points and had a triple double in Maryland's overtime win.
"I've never seen him playing the way he was tonight," senior guard Eric Hayes (10 points) said of Vasquez. "He was on fire. He was making everything, and he was also getting others involved."
Maryland shot 70 percent in the first half and 56.3 percent for the game.
Said Virginia forward Mike Scott: "[Vasquez] basically controlled the whole game."
Among the few remaining questions in the second half were whether Vasquez would approach his career high and how long the regulars would remain in the game given that the Terps must play at North Carolina State on Wednesday.
Williams began removing his starters with 4:56 left and a 79-52 lead. That was when Vasquez departed.
In addition to Vasquez, freshman center Jordan Williams (11 points, 11 rebounds) also had a big game against the Cavaliers (14-9, 5-5), who began 3-0 in the ACC but are 2-5 since.
Virginia's leading scorer, Sylven Landesberg, was held to 12 points on 5-for-13 shooting.
The Terps did not show any ill effects from being in the middle of a stretch in which they are playing three games in five days. Their schedule became more congested when the Virginia game - originally scheduled for last Wednesday - was postponed because of the most recent winter storm.
"I wasn't sure how we'd be mentally or physically because of the short turnaround," Gary Williams said.
He said the Terps had proved resilient Monday night "and now we have to do it again."