Morris undecided on his next move

Midwest notebook

Ncaa Tournament

March 19, 2000|By Paul McMullen and Jamison Hensley | Paul McMullen and Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS -- After Maryland's season was stopped by UCLA last night, Terence Morris was noncommittal as to where he'll be playing next season.

"I'd like to still come back and play for a national championship, but I have to see what I want to do," said Morris, who was then asked if he will consider entering his name in the NBA draft. "Yes."

Coach Gary Williams, who has seen Joe Smith and Steve Francis leave Maryland early with his blessing, said he felt the lean junior forward from Frederick's Thomas Johnson High could use another year of growth at the college level.

"Each guy is a different situation," Williams said. "I'll sit down and talk with Terence, and go over things. I want him to do what's best for him. I hope he comes back. Physically, I think he could use another year. You look at the pros, and he could use more strength."

Feeling ill

Steve Blake laid motionless in front of his locker, cupping his hands over his face with his body shivering.

The Maryland freshman point guard complained of feeling sick to his stomach a half-hour before the game and was a mere spectator as UCLA's Earl Watson set a school record with 16 assists and no turnovers.

"I didn't have the energy tonight to do anything about it," Blake said. "But that's not an excuse.

"There's always something you can do about it if you work hard enough. Tonight, I wasn't feeling good and didn't have any energy. So I didn't do anything about it and it was one of the reasons we lost."

But Watson didn't limit his flashy play to no-look passes and alley-oop lobs. The smallest starter on the court at 6-feet-1, Watson scored 17 points, hitting five of six three-pointers, as well as making four steals.

So, did Watson show anything that Blake hadn't seen on tapes?

"I didn't expect him to pull up and shoot threes like that on the break," Blake said. "That kind of caught me off guard with that. We knew they would get out in transition, we just couldn't stop them."

No defense

Maryland's flat-footed defensive effort translated into some humbling marks.

The Terrapins allowed UCLA to shoot 62.5 percent from the field (40-for-64), the best by a Maryland opponent this season. The previous best was Duke, which connected on 53 percent of its shots on Feb. 9 at Durham, N.C.

"It's usually a combination of both a lack of defense and good offense," Williams said. "I would like to think we could play better. UCLA was really sharp. They looked quicker than they ever did on tape."

The Terps entered last night holding their opponents to 39.5 percent, tops in the Atlantic Coast Conference. In 10 of their past 11 games, they have limited their opponents to 50 percent or lower.

"During our preparation for Maryland, I was confident about where our team was at in terms of focus," UCLA coach Steve Lavin said. "Tonight was a breakthrough game."

No rest stops

Iowa State point guard Michael Nurse jokingly tried to walk away with the game ball, hiding it under the front of his jersey as he left the court. The referees stopped him to reclaim it, but it wasn't like the Cyclones' starters didn't deserve an extra memento.

Iowa State's starting five, who average 33 minutes as a unit, all played the entire second half.

"All the credit goes to the coaching staff," Nurse said. "If they hadn't put us through all those tough practices, we couldn't have been able to do it and tough it out."

The Cyclone Dome

Was Iowa State playing in the Twin Cities or Ames, Iowa, last night?

It was estimated that Cyclones fans composed nearly two-thirds of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome crowd of 26,328. Iowa State improved to 4-0 at The Metrodome, which is a 3 1/2-hour drive from Ames.

"Honestly, there was a point early in that game when I really felt we were at home at Hilton [Coliseum]," Iowa State coach Larry Eustachy said. "Our team has everything to do with winning, but the support was second to none."

Et cetera

The 35-point loss by Maryland ties the largest margin of defeat in its NCAA tournament history. On March 13, 1981, the sixth-seeded Terps were routed by No. 3 Indiana, 99-64. Maryland is 2-5 all-time against UCLA. Iowa State is 3-4 in the second round of the NCAA tournament and will make its third appearance in the Sweet 16. The Cyclones' center, Marcus Fizer, has scored 813 points this season to surpass Jeff Grayer (811 points in 1987-88) for the school's single-season scoring record.

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