COLLEGE PARK -- The University of Maryland basketball team teetered on the edge of disappointment several times against Georgia Tech last night at sold-out Cole Field House. Teetered, but never fell.
It took two missed free throws by Yellow Jackets reserve Brian Domalik, a foul shot by Evers Burns and a three-point air ball by Kenny Anderson for the Terps to hold on for a 96-93 upset.
It also took 33 points by Matt Roe, whose career-high performance helped Maryland (13-10, 3-7) break a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference losing streak and beat Georgia Tech (13-9, 5-6) for the first time in the regular season since 1984 and only the second time in the past 17 games.
"We played unbelievably," said Maryland coach Gary Williams, who masterfully juggled a foul-wracked lineup. "Just to stay in there when we weren't supposed to be. We never lost our confidence with our ability to come back."
Maryland came back from a 61-55 deficit, charged to a 79-68 lead, then watched Georgia Tech make things nervously close. With the Terps leading, 95-93, the Yellow Jackets had a chance to tie the game when center Matt Geiger was fouled going to the basket.
But Geiger crashed to the floor with 11 seconds to go, and stayed down for a couple of minutes, forcing Georgia Tech coach Bobby Cremins to look down his bench for a substitute. Up popped Domalik, a 56 percent free-throw shooter. He missed the first. The Terps called timeout. He missed the second.
"The official would not let him [Geiger] shoot the free throws," said Cremins, whose team dropped its third straight since beating Maryland by 15 Feb. 1 in Atlanta. "It was a tough situation for Brian to be in."
It was also a difficult situation for Burns, who got the rebound on Domalik's second miss and was fouled. Only a 52 percent free-throw shooter, the sophomore forward from Woodlawn made the first with nine seconds to go. His second shot was a little strong.
"I was thinking, 'Make the first,' " said Burns, who had 14 points and eight rebounds off the bench to help spark Maryland's comeback. "The second one put some pressure on me. I thought the shot was in. I thought it was a good shot."
With the other four Maryland players back on defense, the rebound of Burns' second shot caromed wide. Anderson took the ball. Everyone in the building knew he was going to take the shot. About two feet from the three-point line, Anderson pulled up with Vince Broadnax in his face.
"It slipped out of my hands," said Anderson, who had led the Yellow Jackets with 30 points on 10-of-18 shooting, including three of his first six three-pointers. "I felt excited inside, like I was going to make something happen. But it slipped. I had no leverage."
Said Broadnax, "I thought he was going to take it in a little closer."
The missed shot, recovered in the corner by Maryland guard Matthew Downing, set off a wild celebration at center court. Williams could barely stand when he came over for his post-game radio show and Roe was not in much better shape.
The senior guard woke up yesterday morning with the flu. He went back to sleep, staying in bed until late in the afternoon. "I felt a little better," he said. "I'm tired and sore all over now, but any time you win a game like that, it makes you forget what is bothering you."
Roe emerged from a three-game shooting slump by making 11 of 21 from the field, including four of 10 three-pointers. Kevin McLinton, who had committed 20 turnovers in the losing streak, had only one last night, to go along with five assists and three steals. Cedric Lewis blocked eight shots. Six players scored in double figures.
"I thought we had a chance to take control of the game early in the second half, but we couldn't convert," said Cremins. "You got to give Maryland a lot of credit. They came back and took control themselves."
Teetering a few times, but never falling.
NOTES: Maryland made 27 of 32 free throws last night. The Terps will play North Carolina on Saturday. The game is sold out. Williams said after last night's game that injured point guard Walt Williams is not likely to play against the Tar Heels. "That's my opinion, I want him to be 100 percent," said Gary Williams.