Pack seeks revenge against Terps in ACC Tournament
Posted March 12, 2009
Atlanta — The N.C. State Wolfpack will be looking for a little revenge when they take on the Maryland Terrapins in the opening round of the ACC men's basketball championship Thursday night.
The bad feelings began at the Pack's last meeting with Maryland, a 71-60 loss at home on March 1. Along with scoring 33 points, Maryland guard Greivis Vasquez talked enough trash to make N.C. State guard Javi Gonzalez say he'd like to punch Vasquez in the mouth.
"When they stay that stuff about me, it just gets me fired up and motivates me to kill them," Vasquez said.
Vasquez taunted Wolfpack fans in the final seconds of the game. Even though Maryland held an 8-point lead, he buried a 3-pointer just to rub it in.
"That's still in the back of my mind now. I think that was disrespectful," N.C. State forward Courtney Fells said.
"He really didn't have to do it, but I guess you do it your way. Do what you can to get the crowd mad at you," Wolfpack forward Tracy Smith said.
Vasquez shrugs off the criticism, while other Maryland players say they expect to feel some heat from the exchange during Thursday's game.
"It's a basketball game. (I'm) not trying to be a jerk," Vasquez said.
"When it (the 3-pointer) went in, the fans were irritated, and I think N.C. State has that in the back of their mind, that he did that on their court," Maryland center Dave Neal said.
The regular-season loss to Maryland also gives N.C. State more reason to come out fighting Thursday: The loss ended the Pack's hope of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, and now their only path there lies in winning the ACC championship.
Pack players say they're up to the challenge.
"I've got a good feeling about this one," N.C. State center Ben McCauley said. "The mood in the locker room, the way the guys are talking – they're just excited to be here."
"We've got a different attitude this time – (we're) going to win. (I) definitely don't want this to be my last game," Fells, a senior, said.