He was charged with being the lead dog on stopping Houston guard Aubrey Coleman, the nation's leading scorer, in a first-round game Friday night. Coleman got his points -- 26 -- while Vasquez got the victory.
"I love that he's a great player," Vazquez said.
"I didn't want him to get 30. He got 26. It's really hard to contain him one-on-one. So I thought my teammates did a great job of helping me out. But I love that type of challenge. That's why you go to the NCAA Tournament because you want somebody to challenge you, and then you compete and see what happens."
Speaking of challenges ...
The second-round brings Michigan State and lightning quick junior point Kalin Lucas. His career-high 25 points (and a late-game lane violation against New Mexico State) helped the Spartans survive a first-round scare against the 12th-seeded Aggies.
Vasquez made only 5 of 13 shots against Houston -- missing all five attempts from behind the arc -- but his final line was still impressive and worthy of the ACC Player of the Year: 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
"He brings a lot to the court," said Maryland guard Eric Hayes.
"He's a very good rebounder for his position. He's been a very good defender for us. He finds guys when they're open. I don't think there's really much on the court that he doesn't bring us."
And he doesn't back down from a challenge. Another one awaits.
MARYLAND 89, HOUSTON 77: Forward Jordan Williams had a promising NCAA Tournament debut, as the 6-10, 260-pound forward had a career-high 21 points to go with a career-best 17 rebounds. The Terps dominated the glass, 50-29, which led to many more transition points and easy buckets for Maryland. Houston's Aubrey Coleman scored 26 points, and teammate Kelvin Lewis had 24, but there wasn't enough supporting firepower to make up for the deficit on the boards.
Maryland couldn't quite put Houston away until late, but it helped that the Terps tightened the screws on Coleman, who had only one basket in the final 12 minutes.
--Maryland coach Gary Williams is making his 17th appearance in the NCAA Tournament -- his 14th with his alma mater -- but he never takes it for granted.
"As you get older you appreciate it more because you know how tough it is," he said. "You see some teams get left out that are probably good enough to be in the tournament, and you appreciate being there first. You don't gloss over the fact that you're in the tournament. You don't worry about where you're being sent. If you are a four seed or a five seed, fine; you just go play.
"I think that comes through experience. You realize you don't know when your last one is."
--With the win over Houston, Maryland has won at least one game in the NCAA Tournament in its last 10 appearances in the event. Only twice in 13 years have the Terps failed to win at least one game.
COACH: Gary Williams, 21 years at Maryland, 14 years in NCAA Tournament.
KEYS TO VICTORY: Maryland is going up against a typically rugged Michigan State team that averages nearly nine more rebounds per game than its opponents, doing it more with force than height, as the Spartans lack an experienced center. Maryland freshman Jordan Williams, coming off his best game, has the physical profile to do well against Michigan State, camping out in the low post for offensive rebounds. The key up front for Maryland will be keeping Williams out of foul trouble, or else the Terps will be giving up some beef on the interior.
Michigan State has versatile and talented players on the perimeter, although its 33.5 percent accuracy from 3-point range isn't what most folks had in mind when they tabbed the Spartans in the preseason as having the nation's best backcourt. As Michigan State stubbed its toe down the stretch, splitting its final 10 games before the NCAA Tournament, poor shooting from distance was a common theme. Maryland has good length on the perimeter to pressure those outside shots.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "When they doubled (Greivis Vasquez) and he could dish me the ball down low, I finished tonight. So it was a team effort. It wasn't just me. My teammates gave me the ball; they trusted me." -- Freshman F Jordan Williams, after posting career highs with 21 points and 17 rebounds against Houston.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
SCOUTING REPORT: If G Greivis Vasquez is on his game, the Terps have a difficult offense to contain. If double-teamed, Vasquez has the ability to get the ball to an open man, who often turns out to be 3-point threat Eric Hayes (44.8 percent from behind the arc). The Terps are vulnerable up front, however, where they lack depth. Freshman Jordan Williams has developed nicely, but he must stay out of foul trouble.
Georgia Tech 69, Maryland 64 (ACC tournament, quarterfinals)
Maryland 89, Houston 77 (NCAA Tournament first round)
vs. Michigan State, Sunday, March 21, NCAA Tournament, Midwest Regional second round.
--Senior F Landon Milbourne, who had been mired in a bit of a slump, scored 15 points in the ACC tournament loss to Georgia Tech, his biggest output since scoring 15 against North Carolina on Feb. 7. He had been in double figures only once in his previous eight games. Milbourne scored 19 points in the first round vs. Houston, but he was only 6 of 15 from the field.
--Senior G Eric Hayes had six assists against the Yellow Jackets to raise his career total to 506.
--Senior G Greivis Vasquez had made 35 consecutive free throws before missing late in the first half against Georgia Tech in the ACC quarterfinals. Juan Dixon holds the school record of 40. Vasquez was 6 of 6 against Houston, improving to 85.7 percent (132 of 154) for the season.