Terps roll, 95-67 meet Utah tonight

November 22, 1994|By Don Markus | Don Markus,Sun Staff Writer

LAHAINA, Hawaii -- Despite not blowing out the much-smaller Chaminade Silverswords until the final nine minutes in the first round of the Maui Invitational yesterday, the University of Maryland basketball team is brimming with confidence going into tonight's second-round game against Utah (ESPN, 9.30 p.m.), which upset 11th-ranked Indiana, 77-72, last night.

The other semifinal matches No. 13 Michigan against Arizona State.

The seventh-ranked Terrapins at one time had a 34-point lead yesterday and eventually settled for a 95-67 victory.

"You're always glad to get through the first game," said coach Gary Williams, who substituted early and often. "We did some good things. I wasn't happy with the way we started the second half, but when you play a team you're expected to beat easily, it's always harder. But I think a game like this will get us ready for tomorrow."

Williams had given his team some history lessons when it arrived here Saturday. The Terrapins didn't visit the Pearl Harbor Memorial, as Indiana did, but they took a trip down college basketball's memory lane.

"We heard all about what happened with Ralph Sampson and Virginia," said junior guard Johnny Rhodes.

At practice Sunday, Williams again reminded them about Chaminade's monumental upset of the top-ranked Cavaliers and All-America center Ralph Sampson in 1982. Those lessons came in handy yesterday, when the Division II Silverswords forced the Terps to call a timeout early in the second half of their season opener.

A 19-point Maryland lead on two occasions in the first half, which had been cut to 14 by halftime, was down to nine. While the Chaminade players tried to exhort the small crowd at the Civic Center -- considering it was mostly Maryland fans, that was hard to do -- their coach tried to draw on the program's brightest moment.

"Maryland's so good. Everyone knows they're so good, and they know it," said Don Doucette, Chaminade's coach and athletic director. "But if you get it to single digits, it creates a tremendous amount of pressure for them. If they didn't grab hold of the game at that point, I think we had a shot."

But Maryland turned up the pressure after the timeout, suffocating the Silverswords with defense. In an instant, any thought of another Chaminade upset vanished, as the Terps pushed their lead back to 34.

What Virginia and Sampson couldn't accomplish here 12 years ago, Maryland and its All-America center, Joe Smith, did. Along with Rhodes, the 6-foot-10 sophomore spearheaded a 32-7 run that turned a 59-50 lead with 11:42 remaining into a blowout. After showing great resilience, Chaminade finally collapsed under Maryland's unrelenting press.

It wasn't the full-court press or half-court trap that the Terps normally employ, but a three-quarter-court press that allows their opponent to get nearly to midcourt before double-teaming the ball handler. It was the same press Maryland used so effectively in its comeback upset of Massachusetts in last season's NCAA tournament.

"I don't think they were ready for that," said Smith, who finished with a game-high 26 points and nine rebounds -- the same numbers he recorded in his much-ballyhooed debut last year against Georgetown -- on 10-for-15 shooting.

Said Rhodes, who had 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting, as well as six rebounds, four assists and three steals: "After they got it to nine, we didn't want them to get any closer. Once any team has confidence, they think they can win."

Except for that brief spurt early in the second half, the Terps executed better than they had in either of their two exhibition games. They were patient in their half-court offense and made 39 of 59 shots from the field, including six of 11 from three-point range.

Aside from Smith and Rhodes, sophomore forward and burgeoning star Keith Booth of Dunbar scored 16 points on 8-for-11 shooting. Reserves Wayne Bristol and Mario Lucas combined for 21 points on 9-for-11 shooting, including 3-for-3 on three-point attempts.

NOTES: Senior co-captain Kurtis Shultz of Randallstown, out with a foot fracture, returned yesterday and played the final three minutes and scored on his only attempt within seconds of entering the game. . . . Exree Hipp had a game-high seven assists, but only seven points, two rebounds and four turnovers.

MAUI INVITATIONAL

YESTERDAY: FIRST ROUND

No. 7 Maryland 95, Chaminade 67

Arizona State 103, Texas A&M 73

Utah 77, No. 9 Indiana 72

No. 13 Michigan 75, Tulane 73

TODAY: SECOND ROUND

Chaminade vs. Indiana, 2 p.m.

Tulane vs. Texas A&M, 4:30 p.m.

Michigan vs. Arizona St., 7 p.m.

Maryland vs. Utah, 9:30 p.m.

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