Upon reflection, it is worth wondering just where Greivis Vasquez’s triple-double ranks among the great individual performances in Maryland history.
The opponent, the stakes, the outcome, the huge shot at the end of regulation … it certainly has an argument for top-five status.
The list skews to recent times, and that’s OK. Maryland’s best teams have come in the last 35 years, and it’s most meaningful performances logically follow suit.
Here’s some other candidates for the best individual game in Terps history:
* Juan Dixon (2002 national semifinals, vs. Kansas): 33 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 10/18 FG
This doesn’t require much explanation. Dixon matched his career high and took Maryland to a place it had never gone before —- a national championship game. There were some incredible individual efforts in that game. Dixon’s was the best of the bunch.
* Joe Smith (1995, at Duke): 40 points, 18 rebounds, 15/25 FG
Smith pulled this off in The Year Duke Was Bad, but he also did it in the game both Coach K and Gary Williams weren’t on the sideline. It’s perhaps the signature Smith performance, and it was just enough for a 94-92 victory at Cameron. Unless you count …
* Joe Smith (1995, NCAA second round vs. Texas): 31 points, 21 rebounds, 7 blocks, 4 steals, 10/17 FG
If you saw that line and Texas in the same sentence, you’d automatically think of Kevin Durant. Not here. Smith simply emasculated the Longhorns in the postseason, pretty much putting his stamp on his candidacy to be the No. 1 overall pick in that year’s NBA Draft.
* Ernest Graham (1978, vs. N.C. State): 44 points
Graham set the school scoring record in a time before the 3-point line, so that very easily could have been an even more spectaculr performance. Graham sort of gets lost in history behind the big men of his era (Buck Williams and Albert King), but as individual games go that ranks among the best.
* Len Bias (1986, at North Carolina): 35 points, 1 forever highlight
Whenever the ghost of Len Bias is summoned, whenever thoughts of what he could have been are conjured, this is the play that is referenced first. What people often don’t remember was that it was part of a 77-72 overtime upset of then-No. 1 North Carolina and the first loss the Tar Heels ever absorbed in the Dean Dome.
* John Gilchrist (2004 ACC semifinals, vs. N.C. State): 30 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, 4 steals, 11/13 FG
Regardless of what happened in Gilchrist’s junior year, he’ll always have Greensboro. And just like there was the Randolph Childress tournament in 1995, the ‘04 event belonged to Gilchrist.
His best night was the middle game of the three-day run, an all-around performance that helped erase a 19-point halftime deficit.
So, loyal readers, what’s missing from this list?
—- Patrick Stevens