#21 Greivis Vasquez shoots for 2 of his 28 points during Maryland's 67-59 loss to American University on December 22, 2007 at Comcast Center in College Park MD. Christopher Blunck/DC Sports Box.
Well, as we are into the Christmas weekend as the highways are jam packed, and people are hunting for presents to surprise their loved ones, Terrapin fans were hoping to head into the week with a win from Santa.
One would think that Maryland would earn an easy win over American University, by virtue of they being in the big, bad ACC and a storied basketball program in the Washington area, while most know the Eagles from an expensive, established liberal arts school not known for their sports.
On Saturday, Terrapins fans would be sent into a tailspin, and in the end, American would beat Maryland in decisive fashion, 67-59.
From the start, Maryland looked lethargic and devoid of energy, while American came out with energy and ready to fight.
Despite 28 points from Greivis Vasquez, a career high, the Terrapins had to play catch up all throughout the game; however, it would be in vain as the Eagles were just too strong on Saturday night.
The loss at the Comcast for Maryland was their third straight at home – a place where they have dominated as long as any Terrapin fan can remember against a non-conference foe.
American University led at halftime, 25-20; however, both teams were woeful shooting, and it would be a prevailing theme in the first half.
After shooting poorly, the Eagles turned it on and started racking up the points, where the Terrapins could not make a shot at all and nearly went eleven points without making a field goal.
In the first half, Eagles were only 9 of 30 from the floor; alas, Maryland was even far worse only shooting 5 of 24 from the floor.
Despite the poor shooting by the Terrapins in the first Maryland, they would attempt to stage a comeback, led by Vasquez, but they couldn’t mount a challenge versus the Eagles, who were led Derrick Mercer’s 18 points and Bryce Simon’s 17.
As the realization kicked in that Maryland was going to lose to American, the usually vocal and supportive crowd at the Comcast Center let boos descend onto the floor.
A lack of intensity along and scoring aside from Vazquez and Eric Hayes’s 16 points, the rest of the team, who was only 4 of 27 shooting from the field, Maryland could not blame anyone but themselves for the loss.
James Gist, a guy who Maryland usually look forward to help in the trenches, only scored three points, while fouling out with a little more than five minutes in the second half; meanwhile, Bambale Osby only had four points and five rebounds.
American University used quickness and dexterity to beat Maryland and American University Jeff Jones quipped proudly, “I am really proud of the effort and the scrappiness that our guys showed. To be able to come in and play against a program with the magnitude of Maryland and win on their home court makes me happy for our players, and happy for our school.”
The same feeling that Coach Jones of American University had, were not the same for Maryland’s Gary Williams.
After the game, a muted, but angry, despondent Gary Williams addressed the loss and said, “We're not shooting well, but you can make up for that by doing some other things. We got outrebounded today which is a credit to American. That's a pretty good example of the intensity level that was out there today.”
He furthermore added and lamented about the team’s shooting efforts from the floor, “You're open from 15 feet, this is the ACC; you're supposed to make 15 footers. You're supposed to make 10 footers. You're supposed to make five footers. You're supposed to get offensive rebounds, not drop the ball, and put it back in the basket.”
With the win, the American is now 7-5; meanwhile, the Terrapins are now 6-6 and with tournament play coming about within the next few weeks, Maryland will need to get its act together and start playing consistent, better basketball.
However, it was party time at the campus of American University in Northwest Washington D.C. on Saturday night, as they took down the perennial and celebrated basketball giant about across the city lines.