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. -- Remember the first meeting between Maryland and Duke, when the Terps came out flat and suffered their worst loss at Cole Field House in 28 seasons?

Last night at Cameron Indoor Stadium, they had a little too much emotion for the officiating crew, although the top-ranked Blue Devils did have something to do with No. 23 Maryland's 86-59 loss.

Duke's talent aside, this one was decided during a 95-second span in the first half, when the Terps were charged with four technical fouls in a dispute with the officiating crew. Coach Gary Williams drew the two in the middle, and his ejection spared him from having to watch the Blue Devils blow out his team for the second time in 27 days.

A Duke official said that Williams followed the rest of the game from the Terps' locker room, listening to the Blue Devils' radio broadcast.

A year ago to the day, Williams was ejected near the end of a four-point loss at Florida State. That's the only other time he has been thrown out during his 29-year college coaching career.

The spree of technicals came during a week in which the ACC office had sent a letter to schools warning teams about recent unacceptable bench and court behavior, and one day after Clemson was called for an ACC record 41 fouls in a nine-point loss at North Carolina.

Asked if he had let his team down, Williams said, "Yes, definitely."

He added: "You're responsible to be with your team during the game. I didn't do that. It's a shame it happened the way it did, but it wouldn't have made a difference if I had been around. I have a really bad feeling about what happened. What I did wasn't good for the team."

Duke pounded Maryland, 104-72, on Jan. 3, the Terps' worst loss at Cole Field House since the 1969-70 season. Since that embarrassment, Maryland (12-7, 5-4) had 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) had won nine straight since a Dec. 13 loss at Michigan, and moved up to the top spot in the polls after Maryland had unseated North Carolina on Jan. 14. The Blue Devils, who go to North Carolina next Thursday night, have been ranked no lower than No. 3 this season.

It started well enough for the Terps, who trailed just 9-8 in the fifth minute. The night quickly turned dark for Maryland, however, starting with junior guard Trajan Langdon's three-pointer from the left of the key with 15: 16 left in the half.

The technicals came hard and fast.

At the 15: 06 mark, senior guard Sarunas Jasikevicius argued that he had been screened illegally by 6-foot-8 Roshown McLeod (14 points) under the Duke basket, and all he got for the claim was a technical from Larry Rose.

Before Langdon could get to the free-throw line, Rose hit Williams with another technical.

With 14: 09 left, Duke had the ball after a basket by Terrell Stokes when Sam Croft took offense with something Williams said, and the coach was ejected.

At the 13: 31 mark, Laron Profit got the fourth and final technical in the run, this one from Zelton Steed, who believed that the junior forward had taunted an opponent after a basket.

Williams said that neither he nor any of his players used abusive language, but Rose said, "I warned Gary three times about cursing and he continued. So it [the ejection] was the result of excessive language and being out of the coaching box."

Duke made all eight of its free throws off the technicals. Maryland was down 23-12 and still remotely in the game, but the last of the free throws off technicals, by Langdon, began a 14-0 run that built the difference to 37-12, and the Terps were done.

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. As disgusted as Maryland was with the officiating, there wasn't a phase of the game that the Terps handled, as Duke beat them on the perimeter, in transition and on the offensive board.

Maryland wanted to get the ball inside, but junior center Obinna Ekezie seemed lost there, and he was also foiled at the other end, where forward Shane Battier, the most talented player in the nation's premier freshman class, beat him for a rebound, a three-point play and a 49-26 lead with 2: 48 left in the half.

The difference never got fewer than 22 points in the second half.

Six of Langdon's 16 points came on free throws after technicals. Senior Rodney Elliott led the Terps with 13 points, and freshman Terence Morris added 12 points and 10 rebounds.

The Terps came here with designs on being the first team to beat two No. 1 teams in the same season since Oklahoma beat Kansas and Missouri in successive games in 1991, but they were hardly an obstacle to a Duke team that was winning for the 17th straight time at home.

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