With Vasquez Out, Terps Can't Keep Up

Greivis Vasquez punctuated his three-point shot from the corner during Maryland's 9-0 second-half run with a shoulder shimmy for the television camera on the baseline. He then screamed and clapped his hands in Tyrese Rice's face as Rice brought the ball up the court. The fans inside the Comcast Center were at their loudest as it seemed Maryland was taking control.

But less than five minutes later, Vasquez fouled out. In the span of 16 seconds, he picked up two personal fouls and a technical foul for slamming the basket support. Maryland's unquestioned emotional spark and backcourt leader spent the final 10:30 on the bench and watched his team falter and finally succumb to Boston College, 81-78, in the Terps' ACC opener.

Boston College (6-1, 1-0) hit four free throws as a result of Vasquez's final two fouls and tied the game 43-43. The Eagles never trailed the rest of the way, and eventually ballooned their lead to 10 points with 1:45 left. Maryland (6-4, 0-1) staged a furious comeback fueled by five three-pointers in the final 1:18, cutting the lead to a point with 5 seconds left.

For the outspoken Vasquez, though, it shouldn't have come to that.

"I'm not going to give them credit because I don't think they're better than us," said Vasquez, who had 11 points and 6 rebounds. "Maybe if I wouldn't have stayed out the game we wouldn't be here because I was feeling it then and ready to lead the team and win."

Vasquez's technical foul was at the top of a list of calls that Maryland fans objected to during the second half. Vasquez said he was merely frustrated at himself and said nothing to the referee. Boston College shot 35 second-half free throws, though about half came as Maryland intentionally fouled towards the end of the game.

"I can't comment on the officiating, I'd be suspended for the next game," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "I want to be here Wednesday," when Maryland faces Ohio.

Said Bambale Osby: "[The technical foul] was real questionable but I think the refs did a good job tonight."

Maryland played tentative with Vasquez on the bench. Freshman Corey Raji scored 11 straight points for the Eagles to put them up 55-49. Rice, a preseason all-ACC selection, made 11-of-12 free throws in the second half to help thwart Maryland's comeback attempt. He finished with a game-high 19 points.

"It drains you. It takes a lot out of you," said Osby on the refs' active whistles. "When you play fired up, when you're playing aggressive, it's easy to be flying around. But when you got to think twice about doing stuff it's just a hinder on you."

Even with Vasquez, the Terps' shooting struggles continued. They shot just 35.7 percent and 1-of-7 from three-point range in the first half. Their 22 points going into halftime was their second-lowest first half output of the season. Eric Hayes, whose strong performances have coincided with Maryland wins this year, didn't score until the 14:57 mark in the second half.

"I was disappointed with the way we came out in the first half. I thought we had a chance to get a lead there at half time," Williams said. "We had situations where the balls were being dropped and things like that. We have to be tougher than that."

Maryland committed a season-low 10 turnovers, a welcomed reprieve from the overwhelmingly sloppy performances so far this season. It also appeared that the rotation is beginning to solidify—freshmen Cliff Tucker (8 points), Adrian Bowie and Dino Gregory, along with Osby, played the majority of the bench's minutes.

The Terps' four losses on Dec. 9 are the most by that date in Williams' 19 seasons at Maryland, though seasons in his early years didn't start until late November. Even though this is one of Williams' most inexperienced teams, the grace period for that being an excuse is ending.

"We learned enough," Williams said. "It's time to play."


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