COLLEGE PARK — Maryland saluted Greivis Vasquez before the game, then needed to play with the former Terps guard's heart and resilience in an 87-80 victory over North Carolina State on Sunday after dropping three of its previous four Atlantic Coast Conference games.
The Terps — led by Jordan Williams' 26 points and Terrell Stoglin's 25 — overcame the weight of recent history. Maryland (17-10, 6-6 ACC) had been 2-8 in games decided by single digits, including tight losses in their past two contests. With four regular-season games left, the Terps are desperately trying to build a case for the NCAA tournament selection committee.
"You have to have short memories," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "To get that one today to get us to .500 in the league is important heading to that Florida State game [Wednesday night]."
Maryland won by continually pushing the ball inside to Jordan Williams, who shot 10-for-12 from the field, and Dino Gregory, who had a career-high 18 points. The Terps attempted just one 3-pointer — by Sean Mosley — and missed it. Maryland, which this season had a string of 407 games of making at least one 3-pointer, was shut out for the second time in a month.
Guard Terrell Stoglin, who started with fellow freshman Pe'Shon Howard in the backcourt for the first time, matched the career high of 25 points he set in Maryland's previous game. He also had nine assists.
After scoring 25 in a loss at Virginia Tech last week, Stoglin said he found a new comfort level. "I just relaxed," he said.
Asked whether Stoglin, who shot 8-for-14, had a "green light" to shoot, Gary Williams replied: "Terrell thinks the light is always green. He's never seen a red light. I thought he took two bad shots the whole day. I'll take two bad shots with 25 points."
The score was tied at 71 when the Terps scored eight points in a row — six of them by co-captain Mosley (10 points, six rebounds), who had struggled with his shooting.
"Sean Mosley came off the bench and was great," Williams said. "He could have pouted [about not starting] but he didn't."
Mosley had started all but one game entering Sunday's contest. Maryland went with a new starting lineup of Stoglin, Howard, Jordan Williams, Gregory and Cliff Tucker.
Maryland — which was burned early by the 3-point shooting of Wolfpack sophomore forward Scott Wood (15 points) — alternated between man-to-man defense and zone. The Terps were playing man-to-man in the critical stretch in which they pulled away in the final six minutes.
N.C. State shot 0-for-5 and committed two turnovers during Maryland's decisive 8-0 run.
Vasquez, now with the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies, watched from a seat near Maryland's bench. He was characteristically animated as his name and number were raised to the rafters on a red banner before the game, joining those honoring Juan Dixon, Len Bias, Steve Francis and other former Terps greats.
"I used to look up and see all those guys. Now I'm one of them," he said.
During the ceremony, Vasquez clapped his hands, pumped his fist and was just ... Vasquez. Ever optimistic, he said Maryland could run the table and win its remaining regular-season games.
Stoglin said he was inspired by Vasquez: "He had an awesome career. When I saw his jersey go up there, I was like, 'Yeah, that's what I want.'"
Asked what he admired about Vasquez, Stoglin said: "Honestly, his heart. I respect that."