No time for Terps to dwell on W. Va. loss Maryland faces UMES visit tonight

December 07, 1992|By Don Markus | Don Markus,Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- Before the Maryland basketball team embarked for Morgantown to play West Virginia on Saturday night, Kevin McLinton talked about the significance of this early-season game.

"It's a big test," he said. "It's going to set the tone for the rest of December and tell us what kind of team we're going to have."

As things turned out, the Terrapins hope that their first loss of the 1992-93 season -- an 86-72 drubbing by the Mountaineers -- was more a barometer by which Maryland can measure which parts of its game need to be fixed.

As for McLinton, the team's senior point guard is confident that his six-point, 2-of-13 shooting performance was merely a case of a bad night. Nobody had to remind McLinton that he hasn't played well in Maryland's two games this season.

"I know that I'm struggling," McLinton said in the quiet visitors' locker room at WVU Coliseum. "But I'll be back. And I know that this team won't fold either."

Playing its next game quickly is probably the best panacea for Maryland (1-1). That's exactly what the Terps will do when they play host to Maryland-Eastern Shore (1-2) tonight at Cole Field House, beginning at 8.

McLinton's cold shooting was far from the only reason Maryland saw a tie game with a little less than seven minutes left deteriorate into a blowout loss.

"We've got to do a better job running the offense," said senior forward Evers Burns, who had 15 points, eight rebounds and seven turnovers. "But we've got to be more aggressive on the boards."

The final rebounding stats were deceptively close -- Maryland was outrebounded 47-41, 20-18 on the offensive boards -- considering the way 6-foot-8 forwards Ricky Robinson (24 points, 10 rebounds) and Pervires Greene (25 points, nine rebounds) hammered Burns and Chris Kerwin inside.

The Terps will try to take out their frustration on UMES. But it won't be as easy as in the past, since the Hawks appear to be playing more cohesively under first-year coach Rob Chavez.

Evidence of that came Saturday night, when UMES erased an 18-point deficit early in the second half to beat Morehead State, 75-72, in the consolation game of Ball State's Cardinal Varsity Club Classic. The Hawks had lost to the host team, 67-47, Friday night, after being outscored 20-2 down the stretch.

"The guys are getting better, little by little," Chavez said last night. "It's a big boost to our guys to win a game like that."

UMES has won more games than it did for more than half of last season, when the Hawks lost 16 straight games to start the year and saw Bob Wilkerson replace Bob Hopkins. Chavez, who spent five years at Chemeketa Community College in Oregon, obviously is getting results.

"I think they're better coached, that's what everyone says," said Maryland coach Gary Williams, whose team's 55-point victory last year over UMES was the fourth-largest in Maryland history. "They're more disciplined than they've been. They have some good athletes."

Chavez knows tonight will be different.

"I think they'll come out ready for us," Chavez said. "After losing to West Virginia, I don't think it matters who they'd play."

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