Terps drop Duquesne 4-0 No. 5 team packs for Puerto Rico with spurt-filled, 81-47 win

November 24, 1998|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- Looking like a team ready for a change of scenery, Maryland dispatched of Duquesne, 81-47, last night, then packed its bags for Puerto Rico.

"I'm ready to go on the road," senior wing forward Laron Profit said. "It felt like these four games at home, we were on display, and had to do everything spectacular. We played some teams that we're just better than talent-wise, and that's going to change real soon."

A few hours after they rose a notch to No. 5 in the national rankings, the Terps rolled in front of another sellout crowd of 14,500 at Cole Field House.

They were to take a 7: 35 flight this morning out of BWI for the Puerto Rico Shootout, and the eight-team tournament that begins Thanksgiving Day will give them a better read on their potential than has their 4-0 start.

Maryland, which has an average margin of victory of 39.8 points, opens against past giant-killer American University of Puerto Rico. It figures to face No. 10 UCLA in the semifinals, and either defending NCAA champion Kentucky or No. 13 Xavier in Saturday's championship game.

Depth will be a factor, and coach Gary Williams got 33 points out of his bench last night.

Maryland went up 36-18 late in the first half, fell flat and led by only 40-30 four minutes into the second. The Terps were never in danger of losing control, but they didn't put away the Dukes (3-1) until freshmen Lonny Baxter and Juan Dixon fueled a late 16-2 run.

"We knew someone on the bench had to pick us up," said Dixon, the freshman from Calvert Hall who got his first considerable stint at the point. "We didn't score in the first four minutes of the second half, but we're fortunate that we go 9-10 guys deep. We'll wear people down."

Sophomore forward Terence Morris had 12 of his game-high 18 points and junior guard Steve Francis got 13 of his 15 in the first half.

Dixon, with 10, was the Terps' third double-figure scorer on a night when Duquesne spread the floor and slowed the pace. Profit and foul trouble slowed freshman forward Wayne Smith, who came in with a 14.7 average but shot just 3-for-13.

Duquesne, looking to start 4-0 for the first time since 1986, shot 28.3 percent from the field and missed eight of its first 12 free throws.

All of Maryland's victims have made less than 40 percent of their field-goal attempts.

"In the first half, we were playing them pretty tough, but offensively we couldn't put it in the bucket," said Dukes coach Darelle Porter.

The first four minutes of the second half saw Maryland miss all four of its shots and commit three turnovers, but the Terps kept their cool, quickened their movement and stretched the difference to 54-36 on Morris' putback with 9: 33 left.

Dixon's three from out on Route 1 came near the end of the 16-2 run that got it up to 72-42.

"That's just how we are. We come at you in waves," said Profit. "Like Jaws, we keep coming. You think you're rid of us and we're right back there."

Porter, Duquesne's 29-year-old rookie coach, talked more trash than his players.

After the Dukes got their first basket, he told his team, "They can't play no 'D'," but the visitors got just four field goals over the next 13 minutes.

Smith drew his third foul in the seventh minute, as he missed a three-pointer and fouled Francis in frustration.

Maryland had some problems late in the first half with a Duquesne zone designed to limit the looks to Morris and senior center Obinna Ekezie, who had just six points. The Terps used a 9-0 run to go on top 13-5, a spurt that began with the first of the

three three-pointers Francis made in the first half.

NOTES: The dunk du jour was provided by Profit, who had to reach back with his left hand to convert a backdoor lob from Francis in the first half. It was the Terps' 62nd straight win at Cole over nonconference opponents. Maryland leads the all-time series 7-0. Maryland improved to 4-0 for only the fifth time since the 1980-81 season. It was alumni night on the bench, where Rodney Elliott sat. The Terps' leading rebounder and second-leading scorer last season, Elliott is playing professionally in Ieper, Belgium. In a recent battle of Dunbar High grads, his team beat Donta Bright's. Baxter made four of his five shots. Maryland out-rebounded Duquesne 27-14 in the second half. A 7-for-9 shooting night raised Morris' field-goal percentage to 62.8.

Pub Date: 11/24/98

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