Terps foul out, 86-59 Technicals turn tide, as UM falls hard again to No. 1 Blue Devils

January 30, 1998|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

DURHAM, N.C. -- Gary Williams declined to comment on the issue of whether there has been a crackdown on bench decorum in the Atlantic Coast Conference, but the officials for Maryland's game last night at Duke seemed to make a statement on the topic.

The top-ranked Blue Devils pummeled the Terps for the second time in 27 days, but the important statistic in Duke's 86-59 romp at Cameron Indoor Stadium wasn't its 16 offensive rebounds or the visitors' 37.7 percent shooting, but rather the four technical fouls called against Maryland within 95 seconds of the first half.

Williams drew the middle two technicals and an ejection, a year to the day after the Terps' coach was thrown out of a game at Florida State. The No. 23 Terps trailed 18-10 when he was banished with 14: 09 left in the first half to his locker room. He listened to the rest of the game on the Blue Devils' radio network, while assistant Billy Hahn ran the team.

"You're responsible to be with your team throughout the game, and I didn't do that," Williams said. "It's a shame that things happened like they did. It probably wouldn't have made any difference if I was there or not. Duke played well, and we didn't, and Duke's good enough that that can happen. They've done that to us twice this year."

Duke pounded Maryland, 104-72, on Jan. 3, the Terps' worst loss at Cole Field House since the 1969-70 season. Maryland (12-7, 5-4) then won five of six to climb from the bottom of the ACC into sole possession of third place, behind only Duke and No. 2 North Carolina.

Duke (19-1, 8-0) has won 10 straight overall and 17 in a row at home, and moved up to the top spot in the polls after Maryland had unseated North Carolina on Jan. 14. The Blue Devils go to North Carolina on Thursday night.

It was the second straight night in which the officials were the focus on Tobacco Road.

Clemson was called for an ACC record 41 fouls and finished with just four players in Wednesday's 88-79 loss at North Carolina. Rick Barnes was hit with a pivotal technical just before the half, and afterward the Tigers coach talked about a letter sent from ACC headquarters that warned of a crackdown on bench decorum.

Asked about the existence of such a directive, Williams said, "I'd rather not talk about that."

He said that "no abusive language was used" by himself or any of his players last night, but the officials contradicted him.

"I warned Gary three times about cursing and he continued," referee Larry Rose told a pool reporter, "so it [Williams' ejection] was the result of excessive language and being out of the coaching box."

Asked about special instructions from the ACC this week, Rose said, "You'll have to check with [head of the officials] Fred Barakat on that subject. That comes from the ACC office."

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski joked about the matter. "I'm not aware of a letter, but then, I don't read my mail," he said.

In Maryland's first game against Duke, the Terps came out flat and suffered their worst loss at Cole Field House in 28 seasons. If they had too much emotion for the officials this time, the Blue Devils still didn't need any help to put them away.

The Terps trailed 9-8 early in the fifth minute, but the night quickly turned dark. Junior guard Trajan Langdon made a three-pointer from the left of the key with 15: 16 left in the half, and Sarunas Jasikevicius complained to Rose about a screen set by 6-foot-8, 220-pound Roshown McLeod.

"I didn't expect it [a technical]," said Jasikevicius, who sported a fresh black eye from other contact during the game, "but at the same time, maybe I said too much."

Rose called a technical on Jasikevicius, and before Langdon could get to the line, another on Williams, who later said, "No abusive language was used. I was told that by the official. I reacted to the explanation, I guess."

Less than a minute later, Duke had the ball after a basket by Terrell Stokes when Sam Croft took offense to a comment by Williams, and the coach was ejected.

"Like I said, there was no abusive language used by the players or the coach," Williams repeated, but Croft claimed otherwise. "The second technical [on Williams] was for language and excessive complaining," the referee said.

At the 13: 31 mark, Laron Profit got the fourth and final technical, this one from Zelton Steed, for what appeared to be taunting by the junior forward after he had scored a basket.

Duke made all eight of its free throws off the technicals. Maryland was down 23-12 and still in the game, but the last of the free throws off the technicals, by Langdon, began a 14-0 run that built the difference to 37-12 with 10: 15 left in the first half, and the last 30 minutes were a formality.

By the time the Terps finally got to the free-throw line, with 8: 56 left in the first half, the Blue Devils were already 13-for-13 there.

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