Terps Defeat Charlotte, 85-75
Jan. 3, 2009
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) - Within minutes of the start of Saturday's game, Maryland trailed by 11 points - its largest deficit in more than a month.
Terrapins coach Gary Williams wasn't too pleased at the time, but after Maryland rallied to beat Charlotte 85-75 on Saturday he couldn't have been more delighted.
"This is good for our team, to be down like we were early and to see what we can do in that situation, because we haven't been in that situation for a while," Williams said. "To respond against a good team like we did, I was proud of our guys because we had to work hard to dig ourself out of a hole."
Vasquez finished with 27 points, 1 short of his career high, and the junior guard fueled a second-half surge that carried the Terrapins (11-2) to their seventh straight victory.
Down by 4 shortly after halftime, Maryland took a brief lead but was tied with 14:51 remaining. Vasquez then drilled a 3-pointer, sparking a 16-point run that made it 65-49 with 11:27 to go.
"I just wanted to win, especially at home. We can't afford to lose at home," Vasquez said.
Landon Milbourne scored 10 of his 13 points in the second half, and three other players reached double figures to help Maryland improve to 9-0 at Comcast Center.
RaShad Coleman led Charlotte (5-7) with 21 points, but he made only two baskets after halftime. The 49ers, who came in with a four-game winning streak, were outscored 47-34 in the second half.
"You have to give Maryland credit. In the second half they elevated their game in so many ways," Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz said. "The first half we were up; I just think we ran out of gas."
Maryland took its first lead with 17:47 left when Milbourne made two foul shots to cap an 8-1 spree that made it 46-45. After the 49ers pulled even, Vasquez hit a 3-pointer, Adrian Bowie made a three-point play and Milbourne sank two straight jumpers to put the Terps up 59-49.
A timeout by Charlotte couldn't stop the surge. Sean Mosley drilled a 3-pointer, Vasquez scored on a drive and Bowie made a free throw to cap the 16-point blitz.
"We knew they were a good team, we knew it was going to be a tough game," guard Eric Hayes said. "We did a good job getting back in the game, then in the second half we kind of put it away."
Charlotte, which lost to Clemson 71-70 earlier this season, was without injured An'Juan Wilderness, a 6-foot-6 sophomore who might have helped the 49ers make up a 40-30 rebounding deficit.
"We need all our pieces, especially against a team as athletic as Maryland," Lutz said.
The Terrapins trailed 41-38 at the break, the most points they've allowed in the first half this season.
Maryland's first possession ended with an air ball by Vasquez, and the 49ers followed by making seven of their first nine shots - going 4-for-5 from 3-point range - to take an 18-7 lead. The Terrapins hadn't trailed by double digits since Nov. 30, during a 75-48 loss to Georgetown.
"I was upset because I didn't think we were playing with the emotion necessary to play a team that's pretty good," Williams said. "You can't just get into a shooting contest with a team like Charlotte. You have to do what you do well, which is play defense and try to break some balls loose, and we didn't do any of that early."
Vasquez then made two free throws, a three-point play and a 3-pointer in a 10-0 run. Charlotte answered with a 9-3 spurt, and it was 32-24 before Maryland's Cliff Tucker made two foul shots and a 3-pointer. Mosley tied it with a long-range jumper, but the 49ers bounced back.