Morris eager after rare miss

Ankle sore, but forward hopes to practice tomorrow

Maryland notebook

January 23, 2000|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- Terence Morris missed a game for the first time in his Maryland career because of a sore left ankle, but the junior All-America forward said he may return to practice as early as tomorrow.

Dressed in black, Morris wasn't completely somber yesterday, continually clapping and joking in the middle of the bench with teammate Byron Mouton. Morris walked with a slight limp, favoring the ankle that he injured against Wake Forest on Wednesday. After finding himself tied up with a Demon Deacon in the lane, he tried to replant the foot, rolling the ankle and causing a second-degree sprain.

It ended a streak of 83 consecutive games by Morris, who never sat out a game during his career at Frederick's Thomas Johnson High School. Morris understands the healing process after he fractured his right foot during a pickup game on April Fools' Day.

"It's day-to-day right now," said Morris, talking about the injury for the first time. "I still have some pain, but it's getting better. I really can't tell you anything today. I'm going to try and see what I can do when we get back Monday."

Morris has not attempted to run since turning the ankle and said he knew late Friday that he would not be able to start against Clemson, a team that is down to six scholarship players.

So could Morris have played if it were perhaps Duke or North Carolina instead of the struggling Tigers?

"No. He couldn't have played," coach Gary Williams said. "He was out. It just happened that we were playing Clemson. We're not in position to look past anyone. When you're 1-3 in the league entering this game, you need every win you can get."

Tough and smart

When asked about the aggressive inside play of freshman Tahj Holden, Williams sounded off about what he says are stereotypes about his program.

"When we signed him, that automatically made him not a physical player," Williams said. "I think because he was president of his senior class that people equate that with not being tough, seriously. Just because he didn't go to Duke, that doesn't mean we can't have a smart guy who is a tough player."

Fast breaks

Without Morris, the Terrapins started two freshmen (Holden, Steve Blake) and three sophomores (Juan Dixon, Danny Miller and Lonny Baxter). It was their youngest starting lineup since 1993-94, when they started freshmen Joe Smith and Keith Booth alongside sophomores Johnny Rhodes, Exree Hipp and Duane Simpkins. Melvin Scott, a guard out of Southern High in Baltimore, was in the locker room after the game with fellow recruit Art Bauer, a 6-foot-2 freshman swingman out of Newark, Del. It's the second visit in two weeks for Scott, who is considered the top junior in the area. Maryland became just the third team to out-rebound Clemson this season. The Terps have won 24 of their past 26 games at Cole Field House since Feb. 21, 1998, with their only two losses coming to Duke. Maryland won't play at Cole again until Feb. 2.

ACC standings

Conference Overall

School W-L Pct. W-L Pct.

Duke 6-0 1.000 15-2 .882 N.C. State 4-2 .666 13-3 .812

Fla. State 3-2 .600 8-8 .500

Virginia 3-2 .600 12-5 .706

Maryland 2-3 .400 13-5 .722

Georgia Tech 2-3 .400 9-8 .529 N. Carolina 2-3 .400 11-8 .579

Wake Forest 2-4 .333 11-7 .611

Clemson 0-5 .000 6-12 .333

Yesterday's results

Maryland 74, Clemson 62

Duke 75, Wake Forest 61

Fla. State 76, N. Carolina 71 N.C. State 66, Georgia Tech 58

Tomorrow's game

Virginia vs. Va. Tech, 7: 30 p.m.

Wednesday's games

Maryland at N. Carolina, 7 p.m. N.C. State at Clemson, 9 p.m.

Florida State at Virginia, 9 p.m.

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