Maryland readies ``50'' defense for Monroe

January 26, 1991|By Don Markus | Don Markus,Sun Staff Correspondent

COLLEGE PARK -- Radenko Dobras of South Florida scored 31 points against the University of Maryland a week ago, more than doubling his season's average.

Reggie Stewart of Boston University equaled his career high of 30 against the Terrapins on Tuesday, 13 points more than his average this year.

Neither likely will be in the National Basketball Association next season. Rodney Monroe undoubtedly will be there and probably will be chosen in the first round.

"Very rarely does one guy beat you," said Maryland coach Gary Williams after the Terps beat Stewart and BU, 85-59. "I'll say that, and watch Monroe get 50 against us."

Maryland (10-7, 1-4) is getting its "50" defense ready for today's 1 p.m. visit from Monroe and North Carolina State (10-4, 3-1) at Cole Field House.

The senior guard from Hagerstown is leading the Atlantic Coast Conference with nearly 29 points a game, including a career-high 48 against Georgia Tech. He had 35 in Wednesday night's 95-89 upset of ninth-ranked Duke in Raleigh.

"Monroe is playing as well as any player in the country," Williams said before practice Thursday. "It's not a great time to be playing against him. But I like it. It's kind of a challenge to be playing against a guy like that who is hot."

This challenge will be shared by a number of Terps, but Vince Broadnax will get the first crack. The junior forward with the long arms and the big heart said this could be his toughest challenge to date.

"We're going to try to deny him the ball as much as possible," said Broadnax. "Once a shooter like that goes off, he's hard to stop."

But stopping Monroe is not Maryland's only problem. Part of the trouble with containing him -- Monroe's season low is 21 against Clemson -- is keeping the ball out of Chris Corchiani's hands.

Corchiani, Monroe's backcourt mate for the past four seasons, likely will finish as the all-time assist leader in National Collegiate Athletic Association history.

"Corchiani's going to cause you some problems," Maryland point guard Kevin McLinton said of the ACC's all-time leader in assists (875) and steals (281). "He'll hack at you, bother you and try to get to upset you psychologically. But I'm not going to let that happen."

Corchiani nearly beat the Terps single-handedly last year in Raleigh. He scored 21, had 10 assists, made seven steals and helped foul out three players -- including Walt Williams -- in an 81-61 victory.

Though Maryland was able to keep Corchiani under control in a 96-95 victory here later in the season, Monroe scored 33 for the Wolfpack. So is it more important for the Terps to stop the passer or the shooter?

"We'd like to see Corchiani shoot the ball more than Monroe," said Broadnax. "We respect Corchiani's shooting, but we'd love to see it."

They probably won't, since Monroe has taken nearly twice as many shots as anybody else on the team. To win, Maryland has to prevent Corchiani from penetrating inside and whipping the ball back outside to Monroe behind the three-point line or on the wing.

"If they [Corchiani and Monroe] get their points, we're going to have to stop everyone else," said backup point guard Matthew Downing.

But there are other dangers lurking about. N.C. State's starting frontcourt of sophomores Kevin Thompson and Bryant Feggins and junior Tom Gugliotta combined for 47 points against Duke.

"They were so confident and they executed so well that it was very difficult to stop them for any length of time," said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.

"It's about as well as we can play," first-year N.C. State coach Les Robinson said yesterday from Raleigh.

The Terps were successful in beating South Florida and Boston University, in part because they were able shut down shooting guards Dobras and Stewart for most of the second half.

But the Bulls and Terriers aren't in the ACC, and Dobras and Stewart aren't being mentioned as potential first-round NBA draft picks. N.C. State is tied for the lead in the ACC and Monroe will be making a lot of money shooting his textbook-perfect jumper.

"When it's clutch time, I want the ball," he said after the Duke game. "It doesn't matter who's on me."

Said Maryland guard Matt Roe, "We're not going to give him any freebies. He's definitely one of the best scorers in the country. It's just a question of how many he's going to score."

The Terps are getting their "50" defense ready.

NOTES: Approximately 1,000 tickets remain for today's game and will go on sale beginning at 9 a.m. The game will be followed immediately by an alumni game featuring former Maryland players, including Tom McMillen, Mo Howard, Jerry Greenspan, Jap Trimble and Greg Manning. Gary Williams, a former point guard, said he would play if his team beats the Wolfpack.

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