Terps fall because shots won't

January 10, 1991|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Evening Sun Staff

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The folks who market Maryland basketball are using the slogan "No lights, no camera, but plenty of action" this season with the school banished from live television appearances by the NCAA.

Reason and logic dictated that there would be at least one game this season where the Terrapins would be grateful for the ban.

Thankfully for Maryland there were no lights or cameras at the Dean Smith Center, but plenty of action for North Carolina, as it blitzed the Terps 105-73.

"We didn't do many things right and we paid the price for not playing well against a good team," said coach Gary Williams.

"They got us pretty good," said sophomore guard Kevin McLinton. "They gave us a good butt-kicking."

But it didn't have to be that way. The fifth-ranked Tar Heels (12-1, 1-0 in the ACC) played sloppily, turning the ball over 21 times, and shot just 44 percent in the first half.

But Maryland (8-5, 1-2) came out flat and couldn't locate the basket with radar, much less a basketball, shooting a paltry 24 percent in the first half.

"The shots just weren't falling," said junior guard Walt Williams, who had 16 points, but on 7-for-20 shooting from the floor.

"I had some open shots, but they just weren't falling."

In the process, the Terps left behind all the promise accumulated from a string that had seen them win six of their last seven games.

Four of those six wins, however, had come at home, and although Maryland has shown flashes of proving the basketball intelligentsia wrong about its fortunes, it has yet, save for the ECAC Holiday Festival, to put together an impressive performance on the road.

"We're getting to the point where we've got to stop this," said senior guard Matt Roe, who continued to show signs of breaking out of his shooting slump with a 23-point effort.

"We can't make any excuses. You've got to win on the road, whether it's Chapel Hill or Cameron Indoor Stadium [Duke]. We're as good as any team in the conference. We'll play well at home, but we have to stop this."

In fairness, it would have taken an otherworldly game for overmatched Maryland to beat North Carolina at home on a night when a sellout crowd of 21,572 had come to see coaching icon Dean Smith get his 700th career win.

The odds might have gotten a little better had the Tar Heels not dominated the boards.

North Carolina outrebounded the Terps 55-42, as the starting front line of seniors Rick Fox and Pete Chilcutt and sophomore George Lynch combined for 31 rebounds alone.

"They outbeat us to the boards," said Maryland sophomore Evers Burns. "They outhustled us."

And even if they had cleared the boards, there was Hubert Davis.

Davis, a 6-4 junior reserve guard, came off the bench to score 25 points, including five three-pointers -- all in the second half. Two of them came at the beginning of the half, when Maryland attempted to make a mini-run to cut a 19-point halftime deficit.

But afterward the Terps still believed they were capable of a much better showing.

"We came down here to win," said McLinton, who played perhaps his finest all-around game with 13 points, seven rebounds, four assists and no turnovers. "We beat South Carolina and they lost to them."

"We've shown what we're made of," said Gary Williams. "We're a good basketball team. This is one game."

"I think Maryland's a better team than they showed," said Smith. "They're a quick team, an athletic team."

But a team with a second ACC loss, nonetheless. And the barrage may continue Saturday, when the Terps host Duke, which demolished Georgia Tech last night.

"It's not going to be easy to put a 32-point loss behind you," said Walt Williams. "But we'll do it."

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