Terps' Roe hopes shot of silence keeps ball falling

January 08, 1991|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Evening Sun Staff

COLLEGE PARK -- It wasn't supposed to be this tough for Maryland's Matt Roe.

Although his 15-point average is a career-high, Roe's 39 percent shooting clip is well below the 45 percent career average he put together playing with the likes of Derrick Coleman, Sherman Douglas, Rony Seikaly and Billy Owens at Syracuse.

So, it would figure that no one would have been happier with his 22-point performance in the Terps' 92-66 win over UMBC last night before 2,891 spectators with cabin-fever.

But Roe, who shot 8-for-14 from the floor and hit four of seven three-point shots, didn't want to say much about his newly rediscovered shooting stroke for fear of jinxing it.

"I know I can shoot and I really don't want to talk much about it," said Roe, a 6-foot-6 senior from Manlius, N.Y.

But he did talk long enough about his slump to say that folks in this area haven't yet seen him do what he can do best.

"I don't think anyone's really seen me shoot the way I can," said Roe. "It's been rough, but I can work through it."

He has tried to do just that, with the help of his father, who attends every Maryland game, and Maryland volunteer coach Michael Gielen, who has repeatedly trounced Maryland players in post-practice shoot-arounds with his outside touch.

Roe believes that the Cole Field House rims aren't as charitable as other baskets he has shot at, but a large part of his problem may well be that he still is adjusting to playing again, after sitting out a year under NCAA transfer rules.

He also is getting used to playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference, which generally is perceived as more of a guard's league than the Big East.

Maryland coach Gary Williams has been patient with Roe, allowing him to work out the kinks in his offense, in the hopes of a greater reward down the line.

"I tell him to keep shooting," said Williams. "I'll always be a believer that a shooter has to do that to keep his confidence up.

"The only way you can get out of a slump is to shoot. You can't tell a shooter not to shoot and then expect him to shoot when you need it."

Roe appreciates Williams' confidence in him.

"Coach is a players' coach and he knows what I'm going through," said Roe. "There were a couple of games where I missed three or four in a row, and he kept me out there. He knows I can shoot."

"We can win a lot of games with Matt Roe," said his backcourt mate Walt Williams, who continued his recent string of standout play with 28 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. "It's a credit to his confidence that he keeps shooting. He's going to hit them."

As for the game, it was about what could be expected from two teams going in completely different directions.

The Retrievers (1-11) stayed with the Terps (8-4) for a good chunk of the first half, before the decidely healthier Maryland squad broke the game open late in the half, with Williams punctuating the first stanza with a three-point bomb just before the buzzer to give the Terps a 22-point halftime lead.

Maryland then busted out of the gate in the second half with an 11-0 run to jack the lead to 33 with 16 minutes left.

But UMBC, playing without senior forward Derrick Reid, its leading scorer and rebounder, battled right back with its own 11-0 run, as freshman forward Stanley Wright scored nine of his 23 points during the run.

Alas, the beleaguered Retrievers, who next travel to Kansas Thursday, had too much ground to make up and succumbed to their 10th straight loss.

"I thought we showed a lot of heart out there," said UMBC coach Earl Hawkins, who coached Walt Williams at Crossland High in Prince George's County.

"We certainly did not quit. Being down by 20, it looked like they could take us by 50 [as the Terps did last season], but we managed to scrap back."

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