Terps deal with another tease loss NCAA TOURNAMENT

March 27, 1994|By Don Markus | Don Markus,Sun Staff Writer

DALLAS -- There was a feeling of deja vu for the Maryland basketball team and the fans who had followed the 10th-seeded Terrapins to Reunion Arena for Friday night's NCAA Midwest Regional game against third-seeded Michigan.

How many times had Maryland played this kind of game this season? It was a game in which the Terps started strong, faded quickly and made a furious second-half comeback, only to fall agonizingly short at the end.

It was a game in which Maryland shot 35.1 percent from the field, went more than eight minutes at the end of the first half with just one basket, struggled to get the ball to freshman center Joe Smith and missed 19 of 36 free throws. Yet Michigan only won by 78-71.

For the Terps, call it the Bittersweet 16.

"It was a replay," a still disappointed Gary Williams said before the team left its hotel here yesterday morning. "But it was fun to have come this far."

As happened so many times this season, the Terps had a chance to win after cutting a 66-45 deficit to only six, 75-69, on a follow by Exree Hipp with 1:32 remaining. Maryland got to six once more, but no closer.

"We played very well for 33, 34 minutes," said Michigan coach Steve Fisher, who raised his NCAA tournament record to 20-3. "But we didn't play very well the last six or seven minutes."

The Wolverines helped keep the Terps in the game by getting into foul trouble -- junior center Juwan Howard, who led Michigan with 24 points and 11 rebounds, fouled out with 2:49 to go -- and by missing seven straight free throws down the stretch. But Maryland couldn't make enough plays, or shots, at the end to win.

"If we had made one more basket [after it was 75-69], it could have been interesting," said Williams.

Said Hipp, "We just made too many mistakes."

Except for freshman forward Keith Booth, who dominated the baseline for 17 points on seven-of-11 shooting and nine rebounds, nobody on Maryland played nearly as well as they did last week in Wichita.Booth's three-of-11 free-throw shooting typified his team's woes at the line.

Guards Duane Simpkins and Johnny Rhodes shot a combined seven of 27, one of nine on threes. Hipp scored seven points in the first 5:36, but had only two the rest of the way. Smith was double-teamed all game, didn't score a basket the first half and was held to 12 points, less than half his NCAA tournament average, on 3-for-8 shooting.

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