Terps outlast Clemson for third in row Booth scores 17 in 65-60 victory over No. 18 Tigers

Ekezie gets 11 rebounds

Maryland loses 14-point lead, rallies

January 25, 1996|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- Having squandered a 14-point, first-half lead, Maryland outscored Clemson 16-8 down the stretch to pull out a 65-60 Atlantic Coast Conference victory before 14,220 at Cole Field House last night.

Keith Booth scored a season-high 17 points and Obinna Ekezie pulled down 11 rebounds to help the Terps (9-6, 2-3 ACC) to their third straight win.

No. 18 Clemson fell to 12-3 and 3-3 with the loss.

The Tigers had chances at the end with leads of 47-45

and 50-49 in the second half. But a 6-0 run opened a 55-50 Maryland lead and the Terps held on from there.

Ekezie scored inside for a 51-50 lead. Terrell Stokes hit a jumper from just inside the three-point arc to make it 53-50, and moments later made a steal that resulted in two free throws by Johnny Rhodes and a five-point advantage.

Clemson's freshman point guard Terrell McIntyre hit a three-pointer with just under five minutes to play to cut Maryland's lead to 55-53.

Then Booth scored the next three points for the Terps, the first two on a power move to the basket at 4:10. A free throw at 3:17 made it 58-53.

Fouled by Duane Simpkins on a three-point attempt, McIntyre hit three free throws to bring Clemson within 58-56. But Simpkins answered at the other end with a three-pointer from the top of the circle to put the Terps up by five again.

With Maryland up 61-58, Clemson's Andrius Jurkunas was short on a three-pointer to tie. Booth got the rebound and was fouled. He hit both ends for a 63-58 lead with 59.4 seconds left.

Stokes hit a free throw at 46.2 and Booth hit another at 16 seconds for a 65-60 edge.

The Terps moved to a 37-30 halftime lead -- their first halftime lead in the ACC this season -- behind withering defense and a dominant inside game led by Ekezie.

Clemson's offense was reduced to the three-point shooting of the 5-foot-8 McIntyre, who went 4-for-4 from the arc and had 16 of the Tigers' 30 points.

Maryland's full-court press forced eight turnovers -- the Tigers average only 11 a game -- but more importantly, left Clemson groping for open shots.

The Tigers' frustration peaked on the bench with 9:03 left in the half when coach Rick Barnes, complaining about a hand check, was hit with a technical foul by referee Rick Hartzell.

Sarunas Jasikevicius converted the two free throws for a 22-15 Maryland lead.

Two minutes later, Barnes got involved in some courtside dialog with a fan.

"You guys aren't a team," one fan shouted at Barnes.

"Yes we are," Barnes said, wheeling to face the fan. "We weren't picked to win the league. We're not last in the league."

Barnes, who once worked as Gary Williams' assistant at Ohio State, was referring to an ACC writers' poll that picked Maryland to win the conference this season.

The Terps looked like that team in the first 20 minutes. They used a 9-0 run to open a 15-7 lead. Later, an 11-2 run gave Maryland its biggest lead of the half at 14 points (33-19).

Booth scored 11 points in the half, hitting double figures for the ninth consecutive game and the 14th time in 15 games overall.

Ekezie, meanwhile, intimidated Clemson's shooters inside and cleaned the boards for eight rebounds, three on the offensive glass.

Both Jurkunas and Tony Christie, who played at St. John's-Prospect Hall in Frederick, got in early foul trouble for Clemson. Jurkunas picked up his third foul with 10:30 left, and one second later Christie went to the bench with his third.

McIntyre's three-point shooting kept Clemson in the game early. After Booth scored inside off a pass from Rhodes to give Maryland a 37-23 lead, Clemson scored the final seven points of the half to cut a 14-point deficit to seven.

The Tigers scored the first two baskets of the second half to complete an 11-0 run and get the deficit down to three.

Rhodes tipped in a missed jump shot by Simpkins to end the run and give the Terps a 39-34 lead.

But Clemson got the next two baskets to make it a one-point game at 39-38, capitalizing on the absence of Ekezie inside.

Despite a pair of three-pointers by Jasikevicius and Simpkins, Clemson tied the game at 45 on a tip-in by Harold Jamison.

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