December 3, 2007
By David Driver
For the News & Messenger
Used with permission
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- VCU guard Jamal Shuler raised his arms and pointed to the Rams fans with 9.4 seconds left at the Verizon Center, his team holding a comfortable lead.
When the final buzzer sounded, he came to the baseline near the VCU faithful and pointed to the front of his jersey. The Rams, with a career-high 30 points from Shuler and 25 and five assists from fellow guard Eric Maynor, beat Maryland 85-76 on Sunday night in the BB&T Classic.
"It is all about stepping up and being a leader on this team," Shuler said.
Shuler had 19 points in the first half, while Maynor had 23 after intermission in the first meeting between the two teams.
Maynor, whose shot beat Duke in last year's NCAA tournament, missed all five shots from the field in the first half.
VCU coach Anthony Grant "told me they would fall for me in the second half," Maynor said.
"One guy hurt us in the first half. Maynor hurt us in the second half," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "That is a pretty good combination they have."
Shuler is a senior and Maynor is a junior, while the Terps top two guards, Eric Hayes, a former Potomac star, and Greivis Vasquez, are sophomores.
"You can't use that as an excuse," Williams said. "They played better than we did."
Hayes had seven points and seven assists against VCU, and Vasquez had 19 points but also made five turnovers.
VCU earned another win for the CAA against a major conference foe. Mason beat Kansas State earlier this season.
"I never really look at it like that," VCU head coach Anthony Grant said. "Maryland is a very good basketball team. We have the potential to be a very good basketball team."
Bambale Osby came off the bench to score 17 points with 10 rebounds for Maryland (5-3), and Landon Milbourne had 10 points. VCU (4-3) got 10 points from reserve Joey Rodriguez, another guard.
The Terps lost despite making 30 of 34 free throws. Maryland had 19 turnovers, and VCU had 12 steals. The game was tied 12 times, and the lead changed hands 16 times.
The Terps entered the game with a 13-9 lifetime mark in the BB&T Classic, but they have lost three of the last five times while entering the event with a national ranking.
Maryland is not currently ranked, but Sunday was still the case of a mid-major program getting psyched to play a team from the ACC.
Maynor drove to the basket and scored with 16:20 left. He was fouled and his free throw gave his team a 43-41 lead. Hayes then missed a layup at the other end, and Maynor came back to score another bucket to give the Rams a 45-41 lead with 15:51 to go.
Maynor's 3-pointer gave the Rams a 69-61 lead with 3:57 to go, and VCU made its free throws down the stretch as VCU fans started hollering "CAA, CAA."
Notes: VCU will not face Mason until Jan. 29, when they meet in Fairfax … Hayes had a career-high 18 points in a win Wednesday against Illinois … VCU was coming off a loss Thursday to Hampton, while Maryland beat Illinois on Wednesday.