Terps stumble in 86-72 loss W. Virginia shows strength in 2nd half

December 06, 1992|By Don Markus | Don Markus,Staff Writer

MORGANTOWN, W. VA. — MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia showed its hospitality last night, giving the University of Maryland basketball team a chance to climb back from a seven-point second half deficit into a tie game with a little less than seven minutes remaining.

But the Terrapins showed their inexperience down the stretch, as well as little interior defense on Pervires Greene and Ricky Robinson throughout the evening. As a result, they wound up getting blown out by the Mountaineers, 86-72, before a crowd of 10,516 at the WVU Coliseum.

Greene was a little too quick and Robinson was a little too strong. Greene, a 6-8 junior, finished with 25 points and nine rebounds, and Robinson, a first-team All-Atlantic-10 player last season, scored 24 points and had 10 rebounds for West Virginia (2-0).

"We're young, and we have to get stronger," said Maryland coach Gary Williams. "We have to get better at running our stuff [on offense]. Robinson and Greene are two good inside players. It seemed like they got their hands on a lot of balls that we had, and scored on a lot of them."

Said senior center Chris Kerwin, who fouled out along with Evers Burns, "We just weren't aggressive on the glass. I think it was our downfall. I know it was our downfall. We have to do a better job if we want to beat good teams this season."

The Mountaineers were certainly beatable last night. And when freshman forward Exree Hipp pulled the Terps even at 56 on a three-point shot with 6:48 left, it looked as if Maryland (1-1) was on the verge of winning here for the first time since 1985.

But on West Virginia's next possession, the Mountaineers got three shots. Robinson was fouled on the third, and missed both free throws. Kerwin grabbed the rebound, but Robinson yanked the ball out of his hands and scored. It started a 9-2 run from which the Terps never recovered.

"When they went up seven again, I think we lost our concentration," said Hipp. "Mentally, they just broke us down."

Those breakdowns led to bad shots and bad passes. Except for freshman forward Mario Lucas, who had 10 points (on five of six shooting) and four rebounds in 11 minutes, nobody played particularly well for Maryland. Burns and Johnny Rhodes, who was also in foul trouble, led the Terps with 17 points.

"I thought Mario Lucas played a great game," said Williams, looking for a bright spot on a bad night. "He showed a lot of heart."

While the freshmen struggle with their consistency, what is particularly troubling is the play so far of senior point guard Kevin McLinton. After getting in foul trouble in Maryland's season opener, McLinton missed 11 of 13 shots last night. He finished with six points and six assists in 36 minutes.

McLinton certainly wasn't alone in his inability to find the basket. After shooting a respectable 17 of 36 and leading by as many as four points on three occasions in a 41-41 half, Maryland was 12 of 36 in the second half. Foul trouble early in the second half led to West Virginia shooting 26 free throws. The Mountaineers were 25 of 36 from the line overall.

"I just told the guys at halftime, 'Let's play basketball,' " said West Virginia coach Gale Catlett. "Maryland plays a certain style that makes you indecisive, but I thought we did a better job in the second half running our offense."

As much as Maryland lacks a go-to guy to help fill the sneakers of Walt Williams, the Atlantic Coast Conference's leading scorer last season, they are also lacking a defensive stopper. Vince Broadnax played that role the past two years, but even he wouldn't have been able to contain Robinson or Greene.

Asked if last night's game was good for his team, Williams didn't take long to answer.

"It's good if we get something out of it," he said.

NOTES: Maryland has three games this week, beginning tomorrow night at Maryland-Eastern Shore. The Terps host American Thursday night and play La Salle in Philadelphia on Saturday.

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