Georgia Tech realizes it won't pay to ignore Profit Jackets rout N.C. State

Wake Forest tops Virginia

March 09, 1996|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Word of Maryland's newest offensive weapon found its way to the Georgia Tech locker room late yesterday afternoon, when Drew Barry was contemplating defensive assignments.

"We have to concentrate on Simpkins and Rhodes and now this kid Profit," Barry said of today's semifinal matchup in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.

To be certain, the Yellow Jackets must contend with Duane Simpkins, Johnny Rhodes and rising star Laron Profit, who fueled Maryland's 82-69 quarterfinal victory over Duke with 19 points.

Profit may help break the symmetry -- and the tie -- in the season series between the teams. Tech took a 14-point victory in its ACC-opening matchup with Maryland in Atlanta, and the Terps got a 14-point win a month later in College Park.

The 18th-ranked Yellow Jackets, regular-season champions, advanced to today's semifinal with an 88-73 romp over North Carolina State at Greensboro Coliseum.

In another quarterfinal game, Steven Goolsby hit three three-pointers in a decisive 22-7 run in the second half that powered 12th-ranked Wake Forest (21-5) past Virginia (12-15), 70-60.

Profit played only two minutes in the first game against Tech, and 18 in the second, when he collected nine points, five assists and four steals.

"I started to feel comfortable when we played Georgia Tech at home," Profit said. "I played pretty well and was coming along nicely."

Nicely? In his last two games, the lanky 6-foot-6 swingman hit 13 of 16 shots, six of six from beyond the arc, for 41 points. He is another weapon in today's intriguing backcourt matchup.

"We match up very well," Barry said of the two teams. "They have a three-guard offense like we do. And I know they're fired up because they may need one more win to get a bid [in the NCAA tournament]."

The Yellow Jackets (21-10) have won eight straight games since losing in College Park, when the Terps forced 19 turnovers and had 10 steals. That's what Barry remembers most about the game.

"I think I had eight [turnovers]," said Barry, who actually had four. "I forgot that game and the coaches reminded me. We have to take care of the ball. The way they play, they're in transition all the time."

Barry's backcourt mate, Stephon Marbury, averaged 24.5 points the two games against the Terps, but had seven turnovers in the second game, when he was often guarded by Terrell Stokes.

"That is a great matchup," Marbury said of a rivalry with Stokes that goes back to their AAU days. "It's always a good game, a tough game. We always get into it, but after the game we're friends."

In addressing Tech's surge to the regular-season title, Maryland coach Gary Williams pointed to the Jackets' improvement inside with Eddie Elisma and Michael Maddox.

"Their inside guys made a difference in the team," Williams said. "The scoring Elisma and Maddox give them made them a better team."

In the Wake Forest-Virginia game, Tim Duncan led the Demon Deacons with 19 points and Ricky Peral hit for 13. Wake pulled away from a 37-36 lead with its big run, during which Virginia had droughts of 3: 16 and 5: 12.

Trailing 59-43, the Cavs hit five straight three-pointers to make the game appear closer than it was. Curtis Staples led Virginia with 18 points.

Pub Date: 3/09/96

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