Terps make most of Profit, 81-70 His 27 lift shaky Maryland over Fairleigh Dickinson

November 19, 1997|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- Missing a potentially game-winning shot in the final seconds of a season-opening loss made for a longer than normal weekend for Maryland junior forward Laron Profit. So Profit was ready when the Terrapins played their home opener against Fairleigh Dickinson last night.

"Yeah, I had a very bad taste in my mouth about missing that last shot," Profit said of the attempt in Friday's loss to South Carolina. "It stayed with me, and I had to deal with a lot of different things. But like my mom told me, the best medicine was to get back on the court and make sure I gave it my all."

Profit did just that last night, recording a career high in scoring for the second game in a row. After totaling 24 points in the opener, he had 27 last night -- 18 coming in the second half -- as the Terrapins defeated Fairleigh Dickinson, 81-70, before a crowd of 9,318 at Cole Field House.

"Laron did some really good things down the stretch," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "It's what you need when not everybody's playing as well as they can."

It was not a pretty game for Maryland. The Terrapins were outshot by Fairleigh Dickinson (41.3 percent to 40.8 percent) and they connected on just four of 18 shots from long range. It was just a six-point game with just under six minutes left.

What Maryland did do was capitalize on its height advantage, with most of its baskets coming on layups. And the Terrapins' defensive pressure helped force 30 turnovers, taking advantage of a Fairleigh Dickinson offensive style that could be best described as loose.

"They have some good players and they came in ready to play," said Rodney Elliott, who scored 16 points in 23 minutes. "I think, in the end, our size and pressure really wore them down."

Williams was quick to give praise to point guard Terrell Stokes who, though only scoring four points, passed for nine assists in 32 minutes. That effort came after the Maryland backcourt was outplayed in the opener against South Carolina.

"I thought we did well penetrating and kicking the ball outside, and getting into our transition offense," Stokes said.

"We just wanted to open the game up for our big men inside."

The Terrapins didn't do a good job of opening up the game for the big men in the first half, as they hit just one of nine from three-point range. Of Maryland's 16 first-half field goals, only four came from outside the paint as the Terrapins took a 41-32 halftime lead.

"I thought our transition defense was bad early," Williams said. "We got better as the game went along."

What was consistent were the turnovers by Fairleigh Dickinson, 18 coming in the first half. A lot of that probably had to do with starting point guard Elijah Allen missing the game with the chicken pox, forcing backup point guard Tedaryl Fason to play the entire 40 minutes.

Fason did score 15 points, but he turned the ball over six times.

Through two games it's clear that Profit will be the guy the Terrapins go to in a tight game, as he also hit key shots in the South Carolina loss on Friday. Still, the Terrapins are a long way from being the team that they want to be. And they know it.

"We're much better than we played," said Profit, whose 12 field goals made and 22 attempts were also career highs.

"It doesn't bother me that we let them hang around, because we didn't play as good as we could. If they played as good as they could play, and we played as good as we could play -- and we were that close -- I couldn't be upset. But we didn't play to the way we're capable."

Pub Date: 11/19/97

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