Rugged road awaits Terps After easy start, Stanford, Wake, Ky., loom in Dec.

Maryland notebook

November 29, 1998|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

BAYAMON, Puerto Rico -- After Maryland had earned a spot in last night's championship game of the Puerto Rico Shootout, coach Gary Williams explained the lack of resistance his Terps had faced in the first several weeks of the season.

"With what we've got coming up," Williams said, "we were entitled to those first four."

No. 5 Maryland won its first four games, all at Cole Field House, by an average of 39.8 points. It prepped for last night's Shootout title game against Pittsburgh with two more lopsided victories here, including a 70-54 breeze past No. 10 UCLA, and the Terps appear ready for one of the roughest stretches Williams has put together in his 10 coaching seasons in College Park.

On Thursday, Maryland will open its Atlantic Coast Conference schedule at home, against Wake Forest, a young squad that nonetheless was one of only two teams to sweep the Terps last season, Duke being the other.

There will be little time to prepare for the BB&T Classic, two games in two days at the MCI Center in Washington. Maryland is matched in next Sunday's semifinals against No. 3 Stanford, a Final Four participant last season that will drop in the rankings this week after its loss to North Carolina.

DePaul and George Washington are in the other semifinal, and the Colonials spoiled the tournament last year, when Maryland upset then-No. 2 Kansas only to fall to a local rival in the championship game.

The organizers of the Puerto Rico Shootout didn't get the Kentucky-Maryland final they had hoped for, when the Wildcats were upset by Pittsburgh, but ESPN will air that matchup from Rupp Arena Dec. 12.

Maryland ends exam week with what has become its annual appearance at the Baltimore Arena, against Princeton on Dec. 19. That game is sold out.

"We do have some seniors, to our advantage," Williams said, but the Terps' most consistent performer has been Terence Morris, the sophomore forward out of Thomas Johnson High in Frederick who had a shooting percentage of .656 heading into last night's game.

That rate figures to drop as the Terps face more resistance, but the 6-foot-9 Morris also gains confidence every time out.

The school record for marksmanship, with a minimum of 100 attempts, is .647, by Buck Williams in 1980-81. Morris' range included a .556 mark (5-for-9) from three-point range, going into last night's final.

He also was shooting a team-high .828 (24-for-29) from the free-throw line.

Et cetera

Laron Profit needed two steals to become the 19th player in ACC history to record 200 in his career. No. 17 on that list is Duke grad Steve Wojciechowski (Cardinal Gibbons), with 203. No. 1 is former Terp Johnny Rhodes, with a distant 344. Profit doesn't lead the current Terps in steals. Point guard Terrell Stokes not only was tops in assists, with 43, but also with 16 thefts. Center Obinna Ekezie made his 89th start. Only Duke's Trajan Langdon has made more among current ACC players.

Pub Date: 11/29/98

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