Vasquez steals show at Montrose senior night

It was senior night at Montrose Christian, but it may as well have been ‘Senior Night Sponsored by the Terps,' with two future Terps and several targets on the court, while Gary Williams watched with Eric Hayes and Greivis Vasquez. When Montrose alum Vasquez was done hugging everyone but the referees, he broke down Sunday's North Carolina showdown and Hayes explained UMD's recent surge.

"We're going after them. We'll see what happens," Vasquez said of UNC.

Then he ditched the politically correct approach.

"We're gonna win."

The always-confident Vasquez is feeling a little extra bold these days, and who could blame him? His play has been one of several huge boosts during the Terps' current four-game winning streak. He's averaging 14 points and 6.8 assists during the streak, while Hayes, has dished out 21 assists compared to four turnovers.

Not too shabby for a couple of freshman guards who weren't close to being on anyone's All-American lists last season.

"Some people are surprised, but I'm not taken by surprise. We're really working hard and I believe when people work hard, they deserve success," Vasquez said. "It's all about how bad you want to win, you know? If you really want to win, then you're going to [expect] to win. The ACC is the best league in the nation, so you've got to be really mentally tough and physically tough."

Hayes, meanwhile, credited Maryland's improved defense with the turn in momentum. The Terps have been stifling opponents on defense lately, as everyone seems to have figured out exactly what his role is. The result has been a 40-percent shooting percentage for Maryland's last four opponents.

"The first seven games, we definitely weren't playing as well as we should have been," Hayes said. "I'm not sure exactly what sparked that [change], but it came to a point where we had to do something different."

While Hayes is Mr. Steady, Vasquez has quickly become a fan favorite because of his emotional, aggressive play and flashy passes.

"It feels good when you pass the ball. And it feels good when you make your teammates better. Especially [in front of] that crowd, you're playing in front of eighteen-thousand people, so it feels amazing," Vasquez said.

There was but a fraction of that inside the small gym at Montrose on Friday night, but it seemed all eyes were on Vasquez much of the night. It was senior night for future Terps Adrian Bowie and Shane Walker, but the Montrose grad-turned college star was the one being rushed by well-wishers all night.

"I feel like it's my house. It's amazing to be back here," he said.

Bowie, meantime, was unstoppable in his final regular-season home game, scoring 27 points in an easy win against KIMA School of D.C., while Walker added four points. Stay tuned to TSR for video highlights of senior night. And 6-5 senior wing player Troy Brewer, who is beginning to get some glances from the staff, scored 16 points after struggling with his outside shot.

As for the current Terps, Hayes said the shift in team morale has been unbelievable.

"We're in real good spirits right now," he said.

Hopefully, come Sunday evening, that will still be the case.

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