The house rocked in College Park last night, as Maryland pulled into a tie for first in the ACC with Duke, beating the Blue Devils 79-72 before a national audience. The Terps shot 50 percent from the floor and were led by Greivis Vazquez and his 20 points, as he made the home page of ESPN.com this morning and made his case for ACC Player of the Year. But let's not overlook that he had plenty of help. Duke got good nights from their own backcourt of Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith, but one of Maryland's big keys that was discussed here panned out--Vazquez got quality support from Sean Moseley and Eric Hayes who combined for 24 points. Just as important was that unknown forward Jordan Williams outplayed the more heralded Kyle Singler in getting Gary Williams his biggest win since the 2002 NCAA championship. Overall, both teams did what they had to do. Duke rebounded
and was with the Terps on the boards, led by Brian Zoubek's 13. And Maryland didn't have a turnover meltdown, losing this stat by a modest 11-8, very reasonable for a fast-paced game. It sets the stage for an exciting Saturday. Maryland goes to Virginia in the afternoon, then Duke hosts Carolina in the ESPN prime-time showcase.
In other conference race action a common theme was an odd one--teams being outrebounded, yet coming up with the win in spite of it. Taken individually it's certainly not unheard of, but you generally don't find four notable games with championship-caliber teams winning while being beaten on the glass..
*Kansas clinched the Big 12 outright by beating Kansas State 82-65. They shot 51 percent from the floor to make up for a 28-35 rebounding deficit and literally shutout Wildcat forward Dominque Sutton, who failed to score.
*Kentucky clinched a share of the SEC over Georgia 80-68. A 28-37 rebounding gap was
counterbalanced by 54 percent from the floor and great games from John Wall (24 points, 6 assists) and Patrick Patterson (17 points, 10 rebounds). Trey Thompkins missed a chance for a statement game, being held to 12 points and 5 boards for the Bulldogs.
*Vanderbilt kept itself alive for the other half of the SEC crown. They beat Florida in Gainesville. They were outrebounded and turned the ball over, but burying ten treys while your opponent tosses bricks from behind the arc cures a lot of ills. Florida's backcourt of Kenny Boynton and Ervin Walker combined to shoot 3-for-24 from the floor and perhaps shoot themselves out of the NCAA Tournament.
*Purdue took it to Indiana 74-55, but Robbie Hummel's absence continues to show with 28-36 rebounding loss. They outscored the Hoosiers 21-4 from the line. Chris Kramer was the portrait of offensive efficiency, scoring 18 on 7-of-8 shooting.
See you tomorrow to look ahead to the final