Williams hasn't warmed to Arizona Fiesta Classic still haunts Terps coach

December 30, 1991|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Sun Staff Correspondent

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Maryland coach Gary Williams could be excused for wanting to find some other place to spend the week after Christmas.

Both times he's been here for the Fiesta Bowl Classic, Williams has had less than a jolly time.

On his first trip, in 1985, Williams was ejected -- the only coach ejected in the tournament's seven-year history -- as his Boston College team lost to host Arizona in the championship. This time his Terrapins set tournament records for fouls (33) and disqualifications (four, all starters including point guard Walt Williams) in Saturday's 95-79, first-round loss to Rutgers.

The defeat dropped Maryland (7-2) into tonight's third-place game vs. Evansville (6-3). Rutgers (5-1) will face sixth-ranked Arizona (6-1), which will look to extend its 67-game home winning streak at the McKale Center.

To the credit of Gary Williams, he did not pick up a technical foul as his players squandered an eight-point lead in the game's opening minutes. But his anguished look on the sidelines as Walt Williams picked up his third and fourth fouls within a 47-second span in the opening minutes of the second half -- and his obvious restraint during a brief post-game news conference -- were clear indications of exactly how he felt the game was called.

"I'm not saying anything about the officiating," said Williams, biting his lip afterward. "We have to play another game."

When Walt Williams fouled out after playing just 24 minutes, he had 12 points (he averaged 23.8 going in). Starters Vince Broadnax (11 points), Garfield Smith (seven points) and Kevin McLinton (eight points) also fouled out. The remaining starter, Evers Burns, ended the game with four fouls and scored 22 points.

"I'm not going to say anything about the officials -- we just got called for a lot of fouls and they made their free throws," Walt Williams said of Rutgers, which hit eight of 15 three-pointers. "They played us tough."

The Terrapins should expect more of the same tonight against Evansville, which came back from an 18-point deficit to make the ending interesting in Saturday's 83-76 loss to Arizona. The Aces play in the unheralded Midwestern Collegiate Conference, which probably is the reason why most have not heard of perhaps the best-kept secret in college basketball -- sophomore Parrish Casebier.

Casebier scored a career-high 36 points against Arizona -- 25 in the second half. Casebier, 6 feet 3, scored most of his points on the inside against Arizona's massive front line, and spent most of his time on defense playing Wildcats 6-10 center Sean Rooks.

"He's a very clever player -- very strong and surprisingly tougher on the inside than he is on the outside," said Arizona coach Lute Olson. "I thought [Arizona 6-8 forward Wayne] Womack played him well, but then I looked at the stats and the guy just scored."

Casebier, who missed the first five games of the season due to a non-basketball-related suspension, is averaging 31 points in his four games. But Maryland will have to do more than shut down Casebier to beat the young but disciplined Evansville team. Sophomore point guard Todd Cochenour does a good job running the offense, while junior center Sascha Hupmann (nine rebounds against Arizona) gives the Aces some size.

Although Evansville coach Jim Crews has not seen much of Maryland, he is looking forward to the challenge of playing the Terrapins tonight.

"I haven't looked at them, to tell you the truth," Crews said. "But with Walt Williams, I do know they're an interesting team."

NOTES: Maryland's only previous game against Evansville was during the 1953-54 season, with the Terrapins prevailing, 62-58 . . . The Terrapins had won their past 2 Christmas tournaments going into the Fiesta Bowl Classic . . . Gary Williams will be seeking win No. 250 tonight . . . Rutgers will take its streak-busting reputation into its game with Arizona, which holds a 67-game win streak at home. Last year the Scarlet Knights ended Penn State's 24-game home winning streak. And this season they halted Princeton's 29-game home winning streak, and Nevada-Las Vegas' streak of 32 regular-season wins.

Fiesta Bowl Classic

Tonight's games

Consolation: Maryland vs. Evansville, 7

Championship: Rutgers vs. Arizona, 9

Saturday's results

Rutgers 95, Maryland 75

Arizona 83, Evansville 76

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