COLLEGE PARK -- For all of the wizardry that Walt Williams can produce on the hardwood, there is one thing that Maryland coach Gary Williams wishes he would refrain from:
Committing personal fouls.
Through his 88-game college career, Walt Williams has fouled out of 19 games, including Wednesday's loss to Duke and both games of the Fiesta Bowl Classic against Evansville and Rutgers over the Christmas holiday.
That means that Williams has been disqualified from 22 percent, or over a fifth of his games overall, as well as a quarter of this season's contests. In addition, he has committed four fouls in 22 other games, including twice this season.
In effect, Williams has been in foul trouble in 41 of his 88 games, or 47 percent. That's not a bad shooting percentage, but not exactly what you'd expect from a player of his caliber. Not-so-coincidentally, the Terps are 14-27 over three years in games in which Williams has either fouled out or drawn four fouls.
"A lot of it is driving to the basket and making contact. I had a lot more trouble early in my career, but I've worked on it," Williams said following Wednesday's game.
The 6-foot-8 senior, who has helped Maryland to an 18-5 mark in games where he's scored 20 or more points, says that many of his fouls are "anticipation calls," meaning an official assumes that he has committed a foul when he hasn't actually made contact.
Gary Williams says the problem has an easy explanation.
"Walt's biggest problem is his reaching," said Gary Williams. "A lot of guys do that in the summer leagues and sometimes those habits continue over."
So, if the explanation is easy, the solution should be as well, right?
"You tell him not to do it," said Gary Williams. "Walt's very intelligent. He knows what he should do. You're going to get a couple of fouls a game. If you can eliminate the reaching fouls, you can stay out of foul trouble."
Of course, the Terps have other things to worry about right now. They have lost four in a row and five of their last seven since they started the season with five straight wins.
After ACC pastings by Georgia Tech and Duke, Maryland now hits the road for games at North Carolina State on Saturday night (7:30, WBAL-AM 1090) and at eighth-ranked North Carolina Monday night.
The immediate answer for the Terps' slide is their offense. They shot just 40 percent from the floor against Duke and could manage to get to the foul line for only 17 shots.
"We've got to be more consistent in our offense," senior forward Vince Broadnax said after the Duke loss. "We're playing good defense, but our offense isn't clicking."
One of the prime culprits when it comes to inconsistency is senior forward Garfield Smith. In the last two games, Smith has scored just 19 points at a slot where the shorter Terps need big production.
Smith, a 6-6 native of The Bronx, N.Y., shot 5-for-18 against Georgia Tech Sunday and 4-for-16 vs. Duke Wednesday night.
"I have no excuses," said Smith. "My shots just aren't falling. Sometimes, they seem like they're going right in, and then they come right out. I'll get better, though."