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Jeff Eisenberg

Late shot to beat Duke proves Maryland's Vasquez is ACC's best

As if snapping a six-game losing streak to Duke and gaining a share of first place in the ACC weren't reward enough for Maryland, the Terps emerged from Wednesday's 79-72 victory over the Devils with one final piece of bragging rights.

In one crucial 10-second sequence, Greivis Vasquez overtook Jon Scheyer for ACC Player of the Year.

With less than a minute remaining and Maryland clinging to a two-point lead, Vasquez got Scheyer on his hip with a quick first step, shielded the Duke star with his off hand and somehow sank a one-handed runner in the lane as his momentum took him away from the rim. Scheyer futilely tried to answer at the other end, panicking after picking up his dribble on the baseline before sealing Duke's fate with a wild shot that failed to draw iron.

If Vasquez remains the most polarizing player in college basketball because of his showmanship and swagger, isn't it time that even his detractors stop for a moment to appreciate all that he's accomplished?

A career-high 19.5 points and 6.4 assists per game this season? Twenty-five points a night during Maryland's current season-changing six-game win streak? More points in his career than any Terps player except Juan Dixon and Len Bias? Not bad for a kid even some Maryland fans thought epitomized the flaws in their program the past few years as the Terps struggled to recapture their glory from earlier in the decade.

Vasquez saved his best for last, college basketball's human high-wire act lacing up his high tops on senior night and providing a national TV audience one final adrenaline rush. He scored 13 of his 20 points in the second half, enough to induce a shimmy shake or two from Vasquez's equally excitable father in the crowd. (Gee, wonder where Greivis gets it from, huh?)

The heartwarming post-game hug father and son shared should have won Vasquez a few more fans, but here's an unexpected sign that perhaps he's already won a few of his critics over so far this season. Would you believe as of Wednesday night he holds a slim lead over Kentucky's John Wall in fan voting for the Cousy Award?

Greivis Vasquez, Mr. Popular. Who'd have thought?

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