UM passes, then fails at Clemson Terrapins overcome eight-point deficit, but fall in OT, 78-65

27 turnovers aid Tigers

McIntyre, Buckner key 13-0 extra period

December 05, 1997|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

CLEMSON, S.C. -- It's a young basketball season, but these overtime games against teams from the Palmetto State are getting old for Maryland.

The Terps lost, 78-65, in overtime to Clemson at Littlejohn Coliseum last night, when they wasted a four-point lead in the final 62 seconds of regulation and were outscored 13-0 in the extra session. The fade, after overcoming a 54-46 deficit, and the fact that it was the Atlantic Coast Conference opener made it a considerably more disturbing setback than the season opener.

Coach Gary Williams' team came in with three consecutive wins over lesser opponents, but before that, there was a season-opening overtime loss to No. 5 South Carolina. If you want to stretch the trend a little, last season ended with a first-round upset loss in the NCAA tournament to the College of Charleston, yet another nemesis from this state.

"I just can't beat 'em, can I?" said junior forward Laron Profit, who's from Charleston, on the other side of the state.

It doesn't get any easier for No. 23 Maryland (3-2, 0-1), which faces No. 2 Kansas in the semifinals of the Franklin National Bank Classic on Sunday at the MCI Center in Washington. The Terps have to wait another 29 days before they get a chance to get to .500 in the ACC, and that Jan. 3 date at Cole Field House is against No. 1 Duke.

The big man at the end was the smallest guy on the floor, as 5-foot-9 junior point guard Terrell McIntyre scored the last four points of regulation and kept the Tigers purring in overtime. Before that, however, No. 17 Clemson (3-2, 1-0) needed a big night from Greg Buckner, who shaded Profit when a Tigers zone wasn't frustrating the Terps.

With a 21.8 scoring average, second in the ACC, Profit two fouls in the first four minutes and didn't score a single point in the first half against the marking of Buckner, but came on to finish with 10. Everyone else was missing at the offensive end in overtime, but Profit took the loss the hardest.

"I don't really know what happened," Profit said. "Early on, I got the two fouls, and that took me out of my rhythm. I just couldn't hit my shots. We had a great opportunity to win and we didn't, and I have to take a lot of responsibility for that."

Junior center Obinna Ekezie was also scoreless in the first half. He complained about the Terps' composure and impatience in overtime, when they padded their turnover total to an unacceptable 27.

"We played hard enough, but we didn't play smart enough at the end," Ekezie said. "That's what Coach [Williams] said. We have to get the ball inside. [Clemson] stayed tough, got the ball inside and scored. We should have done the same thing. We got back in the game by going inside, and this is the second game we got away from that.

"We just need to learn how to win."

Down 52-44 with less than 10 minutes remaining, the Terps got everyone in the flow and went ahead 57-56 on junior point guard Terrell Stokes' three-pointer from the left corner with 5: 48 left.

Rodney Elliott, the senior forward from Dunbar who led Maryland with 15 points, broke a tie at 61 on a put-back, and Profit stripped Buckner and fed Stokes for that 65-61 lead with 1: 17 left.

"We were in good shape," Williams said. "We shouldn't have been in that position at the end."

With 1: 02 left, McIntyre pushed a three-pointer over Stokes. With 28 seconds left, he got double-team help on the right baseline, and forced one of Stokes' six turnovers. Elliott's fifth foul sent McIntyre to the line with 16.7 seconds left. He made one of two for the tie, and then both teams blew chances to win in regulation.

Tony Christie missed an open jumper from the left corner at the buzzer, and the Tigers had the ball because Stokes was called for a charge with 6.6 seconds left. He drove the lane and was trying to get the ball to Ekezie when he ran into Harold Jamison.

"I didn't think it was a charge," Stokes said. "[The Tigers] were flopping all day."

The Tigers got the ball inside to Tom Wideman for the only points they needed in overtime, and McIntyre, who matched Buckner's 21 points, drained his second three with 3: 29 remaining. All the Terps were left with was another bad experience against a team from South Carolina.

"It's not my favorite state," Williams said.

Pub Date: 12/05/97

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