LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP)—Gary Williams had a positive message for Maryland, and his unranked team responded.
Greivis Vasquez and Dave Neal each scored 17 points Thursday as the Terrapins hustled their way to an 80-62 upset of No. 5 Michigan State at the Old Spice Classic.
“Coach told us in the locker room, ‘Let’s go out and win this tournament,”’ Vasquez said. “That fired us up.”
Maryland is one of two teams in the field that didn’t receive a vote in this week’s AP poll. Four squads are ranked, topped by the Spartans.
On the court, however, the Terrapins took charge.
After falling behind by three early in the second half, Maryland (4-0) countered with a 23-5 run to grab the lead for good. The Terrapins shut down Michigan State star Raymar Morgan and shot 9-of-19 on 3-pointers to 2-of-9 for the Spartans (2-1), who were led by Travis Walton’s 16 points.
Maryland built an 18-point lead with 5 minutes left, then never let Michigan State get closer than 15.
“That’s as good as any team I’ve coached has played with a lead,” Williams said. “We didn’t take bad shots, didn’t lose focus.”
Next up for the Terrapins on Friday is another test against a Top Ten team. Maryland will play No. 9 Gonzaga, which beat Oklahoma State 83-71.
Williams said he often plays bad cop in practice, trying to get his team to unite against one foe—him.
But on Thursday, the target instead was a Michigan State team that went 12-for-27 from the free throw line. Morgan took only three shots in 14 minutes because of foul trouble and scored four points. He had been averaging 21.5 per game.
“The worst thing that could have happened, happened,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “Ray never really got into the game. We just couldn’t have that with all our other issues.”
Izzo was particularly flummoxed by the poor foul shooting.
“I don’t think I’ve seen anything like that before in my career,” Izzo said.
MSU was missing top rebounder Goran Suton because of an injury and got limited minutes from Delvon Roe, who is coming off two knee operations.
“We’re in a dilemma now with Suton out,” Izzo said. “We can’t leave Delvon in too long. It’s really been a mess with that thing, to be honest.”
The depth issues forced Izzo to play up to four freshmen at a time.
“We’re not a top five, top 10 team with all that in there,” he said.
The game figured to match Michigan State’s accurate 3-point shooting against Maryland’s strong perimeter defense. The Spartans came in shooting 43.8 percent from behind the arc, while Terps opponents were making only 19.6.
It wasn’t much of a contest.
With the score tied at 16 midway through the first half, Maryland went on an 11-2 spurt and then held off a late Michigan State rally to take a 37-34 halftime lead.
Attacking the basket, the Spartans scored the first six points of the second half before Maryland took control. Eric Hayes and Adrian Bowie added 13 points apiece for the Terrapins, who matched Michigan State’s muscle inside and cruised down the stretch.
Maryland, which returns a nucleus from the team that upset No. 1 North Carolina in January, gave MSU all it could handle early. The Terps hung with the Spartans, who finished second in the Big Ten in rebounding last season, by besting them in the paint 14-8 in the first half.
Vasquez, who rebounded from offseason ankle surgery to be named Atlantic Coast Conference player of the week, also had six assists but made only two of eight 3s against a defense concentrating on stopping him.
The Terrapins took advantage of 15 MSU turnovers, 10 in the first half.
Maryland led 34-20 in the paint and held its own on the boards, getting outrebounded only 38-35.