Terps handle UMBC, 90-62 Morris, Francis boost No. 6 UM, as pressure, fouls dog Retrievers

November 18, 1998|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- If Maryland's opener was a 100-meter dash, the Terps engaged in a wrestling match last night.

UMBC talked about taking on its "big brother," and at times the Terps' 90-62 whipping of the Retrievers before 13,865 at Cole Field House resembled a pair of siblings pounding on each other in the backyard.

There were 58 fouls, 33 on the visitors, who came within one whistle of having their starting five disqualified.

No. 6 Maryland (2-0) might not have had as much fun as it did in last Friday's record-setting romp over Western Carolina, but whether it's a sprint or a war of attrition, the Terps are capable of dominating the mid-majors, as they ran their all-time record against the Retrievers (0-2) to 10-0.

"Our guys worked consistently hard, but our concentration level wasn't great at times," coach Gary Williams said. "We weren't always tough enough to make the extra pass."

Williams' team was troubled at times with a zone that it figured was coming, but the Terps overcame some lousy shooting -- 42.0 percent from the field, 60.9 at the line -- with 22 offensive rebounds and pressure that forced 27 turnovers.

"We went to a defensive tactic [the zone] to avoid foul trouble, but when we didn't get rebounds, it caused us to foul," UMBC coach Tom Sullivan said. "Maryland came at us with waves and waves of pressure, and you could almost see our shoulders sag from the fatigue."

The Terps were guided by Steve Francis and Terence Morris, who came into the season with a combined one season of NCAA experience.

Morris missed his first four shots, then made six straight, as the sophomore forward out of Frederick's Thomas Johnson High had 19 points and seven rebounds. Francis, the junior college All-American from Allegany College, collected 17 points, eight assists and six rebounds.

Maryland's Obinna Ekezie and UMBC's Kennedy Okafor both had 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Down 55-28 early in the second half, UMBC used some offensive board work to go on a 10-2 spurt. That's when Francis put his imprint on the game, as he twice fed Laron Profit for dunks, and on the possession in between followed his own miss with a slam. A pair of free throws by Morris completed an 8-0 run that made it 65-38 with 12: 16 left.

UMBC cut the deficit to 67-45 before another Maryland run, this time 14-2, gave the Terps an 81-47 cushion with 5: 09 remaining.

With Terrell Stokes joining assorted Retrievers in early foul trouble, Francis got a long look at the point in the first half. He's still learning -- Francis put up four three-pointers in the first half and missed every one -- yet Maryland had enough firepower to lead 48-25 at the break.

Despite making just one of its first 11 field-goal attempts and across-the-board foul woes, UMBC cut the deficit to 29-20 with 6: 01 left in the half, when point guard Terence Ward beat Maryland's press and made a three-pointer on the right side.

The Terps' press finally collected its toll over the next four minutes, in the form of a 16-1 run. It began with some gorgeous movement that required about two seconds, as the ball whipped from Francis at the point to Profit on the wing to Morris at the foul line, and finally to Mike Mardesich for a slam.

The spurt also featured a three-pointer by Juan Dixon and a cathartic steal at one end and slam at the other for Profit, who was held without a basket in the first 16 minutes. Rich Giddens, who set a UMBC freshman scoring record last season, was just as frustrated early, as he shot 0-for-6 in the first half.

NOTES: The game was the first with corporate logos on the Cole Field House floor, which is now officially the 1st National Bank of Maryland Court. The Terps fi- nally released their list of recruits from the early signing period, which began last Wednesday. The holdup came when the national letter of intent for Steve Blake, the premier point guard for Oak Hill, Va., Academy, was sent to his Miami home to get his parents' signatures. The class, which figures to grow next April, also features New Jersey's Tahj

Holden, a top forward prospect, and shooting guard Drew Nicholas of Hempstead, N.Y.

Pub Date: 11/18/98

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