Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Maryland-Duke Retro Diary: Reliving the Shootout

If you’re like me, you’re still living in the past, that being Maryland’s thrilling upset of No. 4 Duke last Wednesday night and their subsequent share of the regular season ACC title. Hungry for some more celebratory Terps stories? Then sit down, read on, and enjoy these next few minutes.  On the eve of the ACC Tournament, I present to you the grossly informal and somewhat lengthy game log that I wrote during last week's contest in College Park. This is what the view looks like from the mountaintop.

Moments before tip-off

Oh man this crowd is loud! The seats are just a wave of pulsing gold all the way up to the roof behind the basket. I feel like I’m on Danny Glover’s toilet in Lethal Weapon 2. This is intense!

Maryland wins the tip, and Eric Hayes starts the scoring with a floater.
We’re on the board! The student section is bouncing off the ceiling right now.

Duke misses their first two threes.
Promising opening. Maybe they won’t hit one all night.

19:02 Greivis Vasquez takes a bad shot and reminds us he can still be the same idiot who called out John Calipari’s Memphis squad before their matchup in last year’s tournament. If you don’t remember how that went down, good.

18:45 Kyle Singler gets blocked by Jordan Williams. Nice. That’s a tone-setter. This kid is really something for a freshman. He’s almost averaging a double-double on the season (9 points, 8 boards), and he’s reached double digit points or rebounds (or both) in each of the last 5 games.

17:46 Jon Scheyer misses an open 3. Is that his 2nd miss in a row? That’s lucky.

16:09 TV TIMEOUT MD 10-2
This is a conspiracy! The refs stopped the game to fix the nets right when we have all the momentum. Unbelievable. Maryland always catches these bad breaks when they’re doing well. I’m steaming like a blue crab. Let’s go!

Singler hits a long 3 right out of the timeout. Hear that? It sounds like the air slowly beginning to trickle out of the Terps’ balloon.

15:04 Hayes with a reverse baseline layup. There we go! Good pass underneath, Greivis.

14:32 Nolan Smith misses at the other end. Rebound Sean Mosley, Terps on the break with numbers. What if I hit the pause button on the Tivo right now? Wouldn’t that suck? Watching it in slow motion might be even worse. . .
Vasquez flips a no-look pass to Williams for the dunk over Scheyer. And 1.
BOOM! Seriously thunderous. He is a steamroller of a man. That’s poster-worthy. Scheyer flopped like a wet noodle; he may have to change his shorts. Williams hits the free throw - off the glass, for good measure. How late is the bank open on Wednesdays?

13:28 Another breakaway. Cliff Tucker gets the putback off the initial miss. We’re running a good transition game so far!

11:43 TV Timeout MD 21-8
By the way, what’s with the patterning on Duke’s jerseys? Very weird. (Apparently it’s supposed to look like the Gothic architecture on Duke’s campus.) Didn’t think Coach K would go for that; then again, it may not have been his call.  Money talks, but Nike money screams like a Scheyer-faced banshee.

8:34 Brian Zoubek takes a charge on Vasquez? C’mon! There’s no way he set his feet!

8:21 Singler travels. ‘Bout time they called that.

8:10 Zoubek called for the foul. That’s 6 on each team.

7:31 Zoubek gets a putback from an offensive rebound that Gregory should’ve had. Guys, we can’t do that! We may win in spite of his play, but let’s try not to let him dominate like he did in Durham (16 points, 17 rebounds).

6:50 Zoubek grabs another board put misses the tip and comes down holding his hand like he jammed a finger. What a puss.

6:42 Hayes hits from deep!
Duke timeout, MD leads 30-19
I don’t like this. Zoubek was way too involved in the last 4 minutes. I won’t wish an injury on anyone, but I’m not gonna complain if he stays out. . .
The replay shows Zoubek’s hand in more detail. Wow, that finger is really crooked. Dislocated. That actually hurts.

6:22 Airball by Smith. He’s gonna hear that all night. Let’s not forget that this crowd once took verbal shots at J.J. Redick’s younger sister. Compared to that, Smith should be happy that he’s being hounded with “AIIIIIIIIIIIIR-BAAAAAAAAAAAALL” calls.

5:53 What’s a Plumlee brother doing hitting a 3? That isn’t in the scouting report. Duke still down by 11.

3:24 Hayes with an overhead soccer-style pass from near midcourt thru traffic to Mosley at the baseline. He’ll shoot 2. Nice dish, dude! That had some mustard on it. TV timeout, MD 36-26
Mosley hits both, exits for Vasquez.

3:10 Singler for 3. Rats.
Is Duke playing a zone defense? Since when do they do that?

2:35 Hayes cuts backdoor, feeds Williams underneath. If Hayes has a signature move, it’s a flawless backdoor cut and a stroke from outside. Pete Carril, are you listening? This kid’s perfect for Princeton!

2:09 Hayes misses a 3. Zoubek’s back and looks awkward.
1:44 Zoubek called for the offensive foul! Two on him, Scheyer and Thomas.

1:11 Smith hits a 3. Timeout Maryland. The lead is five, 40-35.

0:41 Scheyer hits a 3 from the corner. $#!+@%&. Duke within 2.
Duke is still in the 1-2-2 or 3-2, can’t tell which. We’re holding for the last shot.

0:02 Mosley airballs AND it’s a shotclock violation. They’re gonna Give duke the ball. Great. Just peachy. The fans messed him up on that one - they were a second ahead of the actual clock in their verbal countdown. Come on y’all!

Maryland 40, Duke 38
We’re up, and that’s good, but the mo’ is slipping a little. We have to come out strong in the 2nd 20. MD shot roughly 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3 in the first half. Everybody on Duke had at least one foul, too. So far, we’re taking care of business. Don’t let up!
FSU beat Wake tonight, which can only help the Terps even though Georgia Tech lost to Clemson last night. 19 Wake turnovers and no points for Al-Farouq Aminu. Yikes.

Duke gets the first 2 baskets. Ughhh.

Blue Devils are back to playing man to man. Vasquez hits a floater to start the MD scoring.

18:15 Singler blocked by Landon Milbourne, but Smith steals it away from Hayes. Their ball. Duke timeout, tied 42-42. We haven’t heard a lot out of Milbourne tonight. As a senior playing in his final home game, I suspect we will soon.

Singler scores, and Duke has their first lead of the night at 44-42.

Offensive foul on Smith. Good work Mosley! He’s been matched up on Singler (giving up 4 inches in height) all night and has done a solid job guarding him so far. Very underrated as a defender.

16:23 Zoubek rebounds a Scheyer miss. We gotta find a way to keep him neutral.
16:05 Another Zoubek rebound, this one from a Singler miss. Aaaaaah!

15:55 TV timeout. Duke 46, MD 44. This is not the fast start that we wanted to have coming back out of the locker room.

15:00 3 straight offensive rebounds for Duke. Guess who? Singler, Singler, Zoubek. Finally a foul is called on them. We just can’t keep letting them do that.

14:40 Vasquez airballs from outside. We are not strong right now. Maryland has only 4 points in six 2nd-half minutes.

14:05 Baseline skyhook off the glass for Williams. And 1! Tied again, 47-47.

12:40 Adrian Bowie steals the inbounds pass from Scheyer, fastbreaks the other way and puts in a lefty scoop shot after switching hands in the air. Sweetness! Are those his first points of the night? You betcha.

12:10 Tucker feeds a driving Milbourne for a one-handed slam! Oh baby that was big! The student section is bananas right now.

11:00 Duke timeout. Terps up by 6, 54-49. Zombie Nation on the loudspeakers, gold shirts bouncin’ – now THIS is Terrapin Basketball!
Vasquez goes to the bench. Gary’s resting him for the final push.

9:11 Smith hits the lean-in jumper and 1. Tied at 54. Vasquez, Hayes and Williams return to the floor. Here we go, boys!
8:39 Smith draws another foul on the drive, no basket. He misses.

8:04 Smith hits the teardrop.

7:51 Timeout MD. Duke leads 56-54. Smith has scored the last 7 for Duke.

7:43 Vasquez draws contact from Smith. He hits both free throws. Tie game. MD runs full court press, but Duke navigates it well. Devils outrebounding the Terps 12-7 on the offensive glass thus far.

6:25 Singler draws the foul on the drive. Timeout Maryland. Duke leads 59-58.
He misses the first, makes the second.

5:58 Mosley to Hayes on a great backdoor cut! He is SO good at that.

3:42 Vasquez runner off the glass! They Terps have lassoed back the lead, 67-65. Timeout Duke.

2:25 Hayes cuts to the basket and gets the friendly home-court roll .

1:09 Smith and Scheyer both miss chances at 3. Rebound Vasquez, who moves the ball slowly into the offensive half. MD up 71-69.

0:39 Vasquez takes Scheyer off the dribble from outside the arc. He drives diagonally, crossing the lane and throwing up an absurd circus-shot runner from the far side with basically no shooting angle at all. It bounces up off the iron and goes down.

MD 73, Duke 69

About half a second later, I lost it.

Regardless of your allegiance as a fan, that shot ignited either raw exhilaration or throw-up-your-hands-in-frustration incredulity. Given the circumstances, it could be considered as a legitimate candidate for Clutch Shot of the Year; in some cases, the game itself has been dubbed as the year's best, due in large part to that play. In fact, that play may have sealed Vasquez's bid for ACC Player of the Year, since Scheyer was the one defending him. In her post-game column on Vasquez, ESPN’s Dana O’Neil described the shot as “sensationally insane,” a “how-in-the-world-did-that-go-in, off-balance, back-footed jumper from deep in the corner” that was, by all accounts, “vintage Vasquez.” In his SportsCenter highlight call, Stuart Scott used just three words (as only Stu can): “Greivis. Vasquez. Ri-DIC-ulous.”

After that, it was a matter of fouls and howls. The game was won there on that play. Of course, that didn’t stop me from worrying through the last 39 seconds, but once it was done, I was so pumped that I couldn’t go to bed for a whole 3 hours. We had beaten Duke, and we had done so in much the same way I had suggested prior to the game.

FINAL: Maryland 79, Duke 72
Nice work, fellas. Let's see if we can't do it again in the ACC tourney. Woo!

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