for this game

Vasquez leads the way as Maryland stuns Michigan State

Nov 28, 2008 - 7:45 AM LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida (Ticker) -- From the looks of things on Thursday, one would think Maryland was the national contender and Michigan State was the unranked challenger. In fact, the opposite was true - but that didn't stop the Terrapins from pounding the Spartans in the first round of the Old Spice Classic.

Dave Neal and Greivis Vasquez scored 17 points apiece and helped spearhead a furious second-half rally as Maryland upended sixth-ranked Michigan State, 80-62.

The game was a tight battle for more than a full half - but the Terrapins found an extra gear early in the second half. After blowing a slim halftime lead to fall behind, 43-39, Maryland staged a 16-2 run to take control.

"We got very patient," Maryland head coach Gary Williams said. "I thought that's as good as any team I've coached in playing with a lead against a good team. We didn't take bad shots, we didn't turn the ball over, for the most part we just stayed steady."

Neal tied the game with a layup at the 14:44 mark and Eric Hayes put the Terrapins on top with a 3-pointer a minute later. Vasquez and Hayes kept the pressure on inside, dropping in easy lay-ins on back-to-back possessions before Vasquez capped the run by burying a jumper from beyond the arc to extend the lead to 55-45.

The Spartans could not recover. An eight-point deficit was as close as they got the rest of the way.

"We knew some of their guards' tendencies, whether they were a great shooter or they liked to drive," Hayes said. "It was just a concerted effort to keep guys in front of us and playing great defense."

Maryland, on the other hand, made a point not to let up - instead remaining aggressive for the duration of the game. As the last 10 minutes rolled by, the Terrapins continued to push the ball inside and draw contact. They went 8-for-8 from the free-throw line over the last six minutes.

It was the second straight disappointing effort for the high-powered Spartans, who faced a stiff test one night earlier against little-known IPFW. They finally outlasted the Mastodons, 70-59, but it didn't come easily.

Thanksgiving was even tougher. In stark contrast to Maryland's strong effort at the foul line, Michigan State went just 12-for-27. If that weren't enough, the Spartans couldn't stop anything from the perimeter, either. Maryland went 9-for-20 from the arc and hit 51 percent (27-of-53) from the field overall.

"I don't think there's an excuse for the defensive lapses, the free-throw shooting - I don't think in my career I've seen anything like that," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "It just was one after another. This team has been I think pretty good free-throw shooting team, so I'm just a little confused."

Hayes and Adrian Bowie chipped in with 13 for Maryland, while Vasquez added six assists.

"Greivis (Vasquez) is a great player," Williams said. "He's been double-teamed before and he knows the way you make them pay is to find the open man, then they won't be so ready to double-team you the next time. He did a great job of not trying to force it into the double, he was always ready to pass it, and then we found him."

The only player that made much of an impact for Michigan State was senior guard Travis Walton, who finished with 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting.