Terps Hold off Huskies

Article excerpt

Byline: Patrick Stevens, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

It was fair to wonder even before last night whether Maryland's inexperienced, turnover-prone basketball team had a chance to upend No. 2 UCLA in next week's CBE Classic.

Barely beating Northeastern at home did nothing to assuage those concerns for the Terrapins.

Maryland slipped away with a 74-72 overtime victory over the unheralded Huskies, the latest tightrope act for a team that has not remotely resembled a potential NCAA tournament team in the first week of the season.

More importantly, it left point guard Greivis Vasquez searching for answers for his own slow start.

"There's something going on because I don't even show emotion. I don't know what it means," Vasquez said after a 2-for-10 shooting performance that overshadowed a 10-assist outing. "... Right now, I'm down I'm not doing good. I'm running this team ugly. I don't know what it is."

James Gist (27 points) and Bambale Osby (16 points) both set career highs for the Terps (3-0), who hit five free throws in the final minute of overtime to fend off the Huskies (0-2).

It was not a vintage performance for Maryland's offense, which struggled just as it had against North Florida and Hampton earlier this week. The turnovers (23) were there again. The rebounding was even. Foul shooting faded in and out. And the backcourt decision-making was lacking once more.

It all funneled into a sometimes languid performance that frustrated coach Gary Williams.

"You need your veteran players to do that," Williams said. "I hope the freshmen pick up on that. It's a little tough to get on the freshmen when they're just doing what everybody else is doing. That's what freshmen do sometimes. We have to figure out a way to generate more energy with our veteran players."

And some of that starts with Vasquez, whose play in the first three games has been atypical. Rather than the loose player who helped Maryland charge to the NCAA tournament last year, he has struggled to establish himself in some facet each time out.

Last night, it was his shooting. Although his high turnover count from the first two games fell to two, he did not score in the first half and finished with nine points.

"I've got to pick it up," Vasquez said. "I have to be the man. I don't care what people say. I have to be the man and make this team better."

The reality is there is more to the Terps' sloppy play than Vasquez's struggles. Five true freshmen played last night, and Vasquez was not the only player to struggle. …