Williams considers more changes in starting lineup for struggling Terps

January 05, 1996|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- Decisions, decisions.

In the wake of Maryland's 98-84 loss to Georgia Tech on Wednesday, coach Gary Williams must decide whether to juggle his lineup for the second time in a month or play through the adversity.

Adversity in this case is missing 48 of 80 shots in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener. It's a strong predilection to take the three-point shot when the 10-footer won't fall. It's Exree Hipp mired in the worst shooting slump of his career.

Hipp added to his misery when he hit only two of 10 shots against the Yellow Jackets for six points. He was 0-for-5 in the second half.

Hipp wasn't the only Terp firing blanks Wednesday, but he was the most conspicuous because of his season-long drought (he's shooting 34.2 percent). Whether it will cost him playing time or his starting job was uncertain yesterday when the Terps began preparations for tomorrow's home game against North Carolina.

"Juggling [a lineup] is never really good," Williams said. "I've never been a believer in juggling. But at the same time . . . it really doesn't matter who starts. It matters to the players, but in terms of how you play, what matters is who plays the most minutes."

Williams was noncommittal when asked about Hipp's role for North Carolina. Hipp's 6-foot-8 profile may keep him in the lineup ahead of 6-4 Sarunas Jasikevicius.

"That's a tough one," Williams said. "I have to give that some more thought. Because it gives us a nice size to the lineup with a big guy in there instead of 6-3 or whatever. Especially against a team like Carolina, which has a pretty big front line."

After starting 98 consecutive games for Maryland, Hipp missed one game because of an academic suspension and then came off the bench for another before reclaiming his starting job nine days ago.

Among Maryland's other offensive deficiencies against Georgia Tech:

* Point guard Duane Simpkins did not go to the foul line for the second straight game. He's attempted only three foul shots in the past four games. "We'd like him to penetrate more," Williams said.

* Although the Terps tied a school record with 11 successful three-point shots, they missed, by Williams' count, 10 shots in the second half alone from less than five feet. "In the second half, we slipped back to our impatient self again," Williams said. "Instead of working hard for shots, we were a little impatient."

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