Miller expected to return for Iona

Ankle X-rays negative, so UM's defensive standout should keep streak intact

ACC notebook

March 13, 2000|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Maryland usually compounded its mistakes in yesterday's Atlantic Coast Conference championship loss, and no one felt the pain of that more than Danny Miller.

Just 7 1/2 minutes into the game, the Terrapins' defensive specialist sprained his left ankle after trying to stop an uncontested Mike Dunleavy layup off his turnover.

Miller didn't play the final 29 minutes of the 81-68 loss to Duke, but Maryland trainer J. J. Bush said the X-rays were negative and expects him to play Thursday in the Terrapins' NCAA first-round game against Iona.

On the play, Miller let a pass from Terence Morris go through his hands, and Dunleavy pushed the ball down court. Trying to swat the ball away, Miller landed awkwardly, hurting his ankle.

Favoring his foot immediately after the play, he left the game before returning two minutes later. But only a minute after that, Miller realized he couldn't run full court and sat for good with 9: 13 left in the first half and Duke ahead 22-13.

He spent the entire second half at the end of the bench and didn't attempt to stand for the team huddles during timeouts. After the game, the dejected 6-foot-8 sophomore forward slumped over his heavily taped ankle in the locker room.

"It's a bad ankle sprain. So in a couple days, I'll be fine," Miller said. "I was going for a blocked shot [on Dunleavy] and I went down. I jammed it. I tried to go on it and it hurt, so we decided not to go with it and save it for the tournament."

Miller struggled offensively in the ACC tournament, missing 14 of his 19 shots, including a 1-for-7 effort from three-point range. The Terrapins, however, had trouble replacing Miller at the other end, where he guarded the Blue Devils' Chris Carrawell.

With Miller on the floor, Carrawell managed one shot. Without him in his face, Carrawell scored 11 points against Morris and Drew Nicholas.

Miller could only watch as the Terrapins struggled with a rotation that dwindled to seven players.

"[Being sidelined] was the worst part," Miller said. "I probably could have gone in, if I really had to. But we have the NCAA tournament."

Miller has never missed a game in his collegiate career and has started all 34 this season. Although Bush said he should be in the lineup Thursday, he couldn't rule out the player missing practice time.

Last night, Miller walked with a limp as Maryland headed home.

"It's too early to tell," Bush said. "We'll see how it looks in 24 hours. We'll have a better idea of what he can and what he can't do. He'll be all right. He's a pretty tough kid."

Post time

Duke didn't hide where it wanted to attack.

The Blue Devils tossed the ball inside to Carlos Boozer on six of their first 10 possessions. Maryland center Lonny Baxter picked up his second foul midway through the first half, limiting how the first-team All-ACC forward could defend and maneuver offensively around Boozer.

In two losses to Duke, Baxter has made 11 of 28 shots -- two of his worst shooting performances of the season. In the victory in Durham, he was 10-for-17 with 10 rebounds.

Et cetera

Maryland was 25-for-45 from the free-throw line (55.5 percent) here, finishing with the second-worst percentage over a three-game span in the ACC tournament's 47-year history. The Terps entered the tournament as the conference's third-best shooting team from the line at 69.7 percent.

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