In The Paint

SI.com's All-American Hoops Blog

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Itp
Maryland fans had plenty to celebrate on Saturday after an uneven season has resulted in criticism of the program.
AP

By Nina Mandell

As North Carolina went on its first undefeated run in the 2007-08 season, the Terps came to Chapel Hill and came out with a win that shocked everyone, including perhaps themselves.  When they arrived back in College Park with a swagger in their step and what everyone thought was a real shot against the Blue Devils who arrived that week, they were quickly disappointed. Against Duke, a game where sloppiness and overeagerness blew the Terps back into oblivion in the ACC quickly made the win against UNC an improbable blot on the Terps' otherwise thin resume.

So this season, while it might not be the end of the Terps' misery, here's one thing to take out of the win: A little bit of confidence, and some well-deserved good news for Greivis Vasquez, who finally got Maryland's first triple-double since 1987. He came close earlier this month, falling one assist short against Miami.

This time, against conference-ruler North Carolina, he just made it with 35-points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for the Terps to come out ahead in front of a suddenly adoring crowd at the Comcast Center.

"I just have no words to describe this feeling right now,'' Vasquez said. ''It was an unbelievable game. I've played big-time games at Maryland, but I put that game on the top.''

It also gave him a chance to say something positive about his coach, with the backdrop of a good win on his side.

''Every Maryland fan should be grateful because that man right there can coach,'' Vasquez said.

And that's a good change on what has been an otherwise rough season for the Maryland star. Earlier this season, he found himself in hot water after putting his finger over his lips and telling fans to "shut the f--- up" after being booed during a loss. He's also been forced to defend his embattled coach after a Washington Post series on the team faulted Williams for the Terps' recent woes. When asked about the series earlier this month, Vasquez told reporters:

"He has got more money than all you guys put together. He is not worried about what you guys say."

He also said, "if I have to go to war with him, I will die for him.

When a reporter followed up with a question, Vasquez added, “You are trying to kill him. He is a winner. He is a champion. You better start writing about games instead of writing about criticizing him. We are here to win games. We are not here to have him sit down and teach us about media and stuff. We are here to learn about basketball."


And after Vasquez's career-best game, the basketball part of Maryland will be all Vasquez will have to talk about -- at least for a little while.

 

Maryland shocks North Carolina [SI.com]

In Gary They Trust [Washington Post]

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