Terps cut down to size by GW Day after stunning Kansas, UM falls in tourney final, 70-66

Terps cold down stretch

5-foot-4 Rogers breaks 'press all by himself'

December 09, 1997|By PAUL MCMULLEN | PAUL MCMULLEN,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON -- A day after Maryland disposed of one of the nation's premier college basketball programs, the Terps were unable to take care of business inside the Capital Beltway.

An upset of Kansas had lifted Maryland to a No. 19 ranking and the championship game of the Franklin National Bank Classic at the MCI Center. The Terps might just fall out of the Top 25 next week, after last night's 70-66 loss to George Washington that included an MVP performance by Baltimorean Shawnta Rogers.

"We have to learn how to play with emotion on back-to-back nights," Terps coach Gary Williams said.

The Terps also have to do a better job of running their half-court offense when the press isn't working. Whereas Maryland burned Kansas with its full-court defense, Rogers is a one-man press offense. En route to scoring a game-high 23 points, the 5-foot-4 junior out of Lake Clifton High minimized that part of the Terps' game.

"Shawnta Rogers killed us," Maryland center Obinna Ekezie said. "He broke our press all by himself."

Left to rely on their half-court game, the Terps (4-3) crumbled. Emotional weariness aside, they had a 62-61 lead on a three-pointer by Sarunas Jasikevicius with 3: 32 left, but their next basket came with less than a second left, and by then the Colonials had run away and hid on an 8-0 run that included several fortuitous bounces.

While GW (7-2) got some fortuitous shots off the glass, Maryland kept taking perimeter shots that didn't fall at the end, as the Terps went more than three minutes without a point.

It was a radical reversal from the championship game in last season's Classic. A year ago today, Maryland beat GW by six on the basis of a 33-14 bulge at the free-throw line. The Terps' last eight points against Kansas came on free throws, but they didn't get in the bonus situation in the second half last night until there were eight seconds left.

Maryland attempted only six free throws in the second half.

"You have to want to work hard in the half-court game, especially when it's physical," Williams said. "You don't get fouled when you're shooting jumpers."

Maryland had two chances to extend that 62-61 lead, but instead of working it inside, both Jasikevicius and Profit were off on three-pointers.

"We had no offensive execution whatsoever out there, and we paid the price for it," Jasikevicius said. "Coach [Williams] emphasizes an inside-out game, but we don't do it. Until we do, we're going to lose games like this. You play at this level, you can't make that many mistakes."

Going to his left, center Alexander Koul somehow hit a bank shot to give GW a 63-62 lead with 2: 07 left, and the game turned for good on Maryland's ensuing possession.

Forward Rodney Elliott, who had spent 10 minutes of the second half on the bench in foul trouble, was stripped by Rogers in the lane. Elliott, out of Dunbar High, then grabbed the shirt of his old east-side rival.

An intentional foul was called with 1: 23 left, disqualifying Elliott for the fifth time this season and giving the Colonials possession after Rogers had hit the second of two free throws. With the shot clock down to eight seconds, GW got a huge three-pointer from junior guard Seco Camara, who added three free throws in the final minute.

"This means a lot to me," said Rogers, who is driven by the way George Washington receives less publicity than Maryland and Georgetown. "I want everyone to know we're a home team too."

Did he get derive any special satisfaction from the strip of Elliott?

"Rodney's a good player, a good friend," Rogers said. "This one is all about bragging rights when we go home."

Elliott and Profit joined Rogers and Kansas' Raef LaFrentz and Paul Pierce on the all-tournament team, but Maryland's leading scorers were off their games in the second half. The Terps made only 37.9 percent of their field-goal attempts after the break, when Profit and Elliott were a combined 3-for-12.

Elliott's tap-in of a Profit miss completed a 14-4 run that gave the Terps a 51-45 lead with 14: 18 left, but in a preview of things to come, Maryland was unable to build on it. With a chance to get the lead up to eight points, Elliott was called for his fourth foul at the offensive end. On the Terps' next possession, Ekezie charged, and then Jasikevicius rushed a jumper on a break that consisted of him against three Colonials.

As energized as the Terps were against Kansas, they were lethargic at times last night. GW coach Mike Jarvis used 11 players to Williams' eight, and if the Terps weren't down physically, they were mentally.

"You see how good we can be against Kansas," Jasikevicius said. "Tonight, you see how bad we can be if we play with no emotion, if we don't play hard, if we don't play smart."

Pub Date: 12/09/97

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