Saxon can't get it done by himself Aggies guard wears down after scoring 18 in 1st half

Ncaa Tournament

March 13, 1998|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- He ducked and weaved, spun and stutter stepped, threaded through defenders, scored 18 first-half points and drove himself nearly to exhaustion.

Utah State guard Marcus Saxon demonstrated yesterday why some NBA teams consider him a potential first-round draft choice. But he wasn't nearly enough.

"I don't think at this level, the NCAA tournament, that one guy is going to beat you too often," said Maryland coach Gary Williams after his team slowed down Saxon and pulled away to an 82-68 victory in the West Regional.

Saxon admitted to getting "kind of worn down late in the second half. They kept a guy on me and tried to keep it out of my hands most of the time. I had to play through it."

While teammate Kevin Rice handled the ball most of the second half, Saxon played the off guard and scored just seven more points.

But he did nothing to decrease his stature among the pros after finishing with 25 points, four assists and two steals and playing all 40 minutes. He simply didn't have enough help after the

Aggies' inside players plunged into early foul trouble.

Saxon, a 6-foot-2 South Carolina native, finished his Aggies career as a two-time All-Big West selection, the league's tournament MVP and a 24.7 scoring average in six postseason games.

"They were able to get the ball out of Marcus' hands a little bit and after a while just wore us out," said Utah State coach Larry Eustachy.

So, the undersized Aggies went home to Logan, still winless in the NCAA tournament since 1970 and faced with the prospect of replacing Saxon, who originally signed with Arkansas but didn't get his junior-college degree and wound up playing for a year at Utah State.

Although he scored only one point, Maryland's Terrell Stokes -- with aid from Matt Kovarik -- did a strong defensive job on Saxon.

"I guess I didn't have a good defensive plan for him [Saxon]," said Williams. "But it wasn't our matchup's fault. He does a great job of getting fouled and going to the line."

Pub Date: 3/13/98

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