Terps use reserve fuel to beat Duke Bench outdoes starters as UM gains semifinals vs. Georgia Tech, 82-69

Profit: 19 points, crucial plays

Williams' skid against Blue Devils over at 14

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

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- For Maryland, the transition is nearly complete. From senior-dominated to freshman-inspired. From seasoned experience to raw potential.

From end-of-the-line to starting fresh.

The Terps leaned heavily on their young bench to beat a decimated Duke team, 82-69, yesterday at Greensboro Coliseum and advance to the semifinal round of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Maryland (17-11) will face regular-season champion Georgia -Z Tech at 1: 30 today with a chance to go to its first ACC final in a dozen years. Almost certainly, the Terps locked up a berth in the NCAA tournament, as well.

Had it not been for the play of reserves Laron Profit, Terrell Stokes and Rodney Elliott, the Terps likely would have gone home instead. The bench brigade outscored Duke's depleted reserves, 44-3, and even outscored the Terps' starters, who totaled 38 points.

"They keep progressing," Maryland coach Gary Williams said after registering his first head-to-head victory over Duke's Mike Krzyzewski since March 17, 1985, ending a string of 14 losses.

"It was a pressure situation and they responded. Laron and Terrell both played well the first time in the game. And Rodney Elliott played well. Without him inside in the first half. . . . they were killing us on the boards."

For the second straight game, Profit was the emerging star who made the biggest difference. The 6-foot-6 freshman pumped in 19 points, hitting five of seven shots, including four-of-four from the arc. He also had four steals.

Profit cashed in two big plays in a 12-4 run when Maryland pulled away from a 51-51 tie. The first was a spectacular baseline move and reverse layup that made it 53-51. The next was a clutch three-pointer with the shot clock winding down that put the Terps up 63-55 with 6: 48 left.

"He's starting to see the ins and outs of the offense," said Stokes, another freshman, who took over at point guard for Duane Simpkins in the second half. "He's learning when to shoot, when not to shoot. His confidence is building and building. He's got the kind of heart you've got to have."

Stokes contributed five assists and four points in a 22-minute stint directing the offense. Elliott had 10 points and eight rebounds, including a big put-back of a missed Profit free throw to cap a 7-0 run after the tie at 51. He got 19 minutes of playing time, his most in 16 games, because Keith Booth (nine points, seven rebounds) was in foul trouble.

Senior Mario Lucas scored 11 points and took a team-high nine rebounds off the bench to help rebuff the tenacious Blue Devils (18-12).

"Things happen out of desperation," Williams said. "We needed a lift . . . . but you're never sure if you'll get it."

In addition to Booth's foul trouble, Johnny Rhodes needed four stitches to repair a gash in his lip after he took an elbow from Taymon Domzalski in the game's opening minutes.

And the Terps got a scare when Simpkins, fighting the flu, got dizzy and slumped to the floor near midcourt in the final 20 seconds. Simpkins, who had 12 points and seven rebounds, said he would play today against Tech.

Duke finished its ACC season in fitting form. Already rocked by injury, the Blue Devils' point guard, Chris Collins, sat on the bench in street clothes with a sprained ankle, joining Carmen Wallace and Trajan Langdon. Then things got even worse.

When Steve Wojciechowski hit a spinning one-hander in the lane with two minutes left in the first half, the former Cardinal Gibbons star came down awkwardly on his right foot and suffered a high ankle sprain.

So thin were Duke's numbers that it finished the half with a lineup consisting of two walk-ons, Todd Singleton and Jay Heaps, seldom-used Matt Christensen and regulars Jeff Capel and Domzalski.

Wojciechowski persuaded Krzyzewski to let him test the ankle in the second half, and he limped through a gritty 13 minutes.

"I thought he played courageously," Krzyzewski said.

Despite its huge advantage in terms of manpower, the Terps couldn't shake the Devils until the final eight minutes of the game. Duke's last lead came four minutes into the second half at 42-41.

When it was over, Krzyzewski paid homage to Maryland's

seniors when asked about Profit's performance.

"One of the key things for young players is to play with good old players," he said. "As good as Profit is, he's not going to be as good unless he has [veterans around him]. . . .

He played an excellent game, but I'd like to give a little credit to those other guys. I've competed against them for four years and I have a lot of respect for those seniors."

Pub Date: 3/09/96

ACC tournament

At Greensboro, N.C.

Yesterday: Quarterfinals

Maryland 82, Duke 69

Ga. Tech 88, N.C. State 73

Wake Forest 70, Virginia 60

* Clemson 75, N. Carolina 73

Today: Semifinals

Georgia Tech vs. Maryland, 1: 30 p.m., Ch. 54

Wake Forest vs. Clemson, 4 p.m., Ch. 54.

Tomorrow: Championship 1 p.m. Ch. 54

Pub Date: 3/09/96

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