George Mason's Price, at 5-8, not short on effort

`He gave it everything he had,' UM coach says

Maryland notebook

March 16, 2001|By Brent Jones and Gary Lambrecht | Brent Jones and Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

BOISE, Idaho - Before doing his interview with CBS after yesterday's West Regional game, Maryland coach Gary Williams had to shake George Mason point guard Tremaine Price's hand.

Price sat on the floor massaging his hurting calf muscle immediately after missing a three-point shot that would have sent yesterday's 83-80 Maryland win into overtime. Watching Price in pain from the loss and from his leg compelled Williams to offer words of encouragement.

"I told him he's got a lot of guts," Williams said. "I coached a guy at Boston College named Michael Adams who was the same type of player in terms of their competitiveness. When you are that size [Price is 5 feet 8], you find a way to play.

"He gave it everything he had. I don't think he could have run across half-court one more time."

Price suffered from cramps in both legs, the first coming with a little more than 16 minutes left in the game. It forced Price out, and when he returned five minutes later, it was with a slight limp.

"We really missed his presence in the second half," George Mason coach Jim Larranaga said. "It was like he was trying too hard."

Price had trouble guarding Maryland point guard Steve Blake after the injury. On one play, Price tried to pressure Blake in the Maryland backcourt, but Blake was able to go right past him and finish with an easy layup.

Price finished with eight points on two of nine shooting in 30 minutes. Price also had six assists.

Blake on target

Like any true point guard, Steve Blake lives to make the perfect pass and wants nothing more than to extract points from his teammates.

And Blake has fulfilled that role by reaching 400 assists faster than any other player in school history. The sophomore led the ACC with an average of seven assists. The last Maryland player to do that was John Lucas in 1974.

But Blake can shoot, too, even though he has shied away from it for lengthy stretches this season. But not yesterday, when Blake made six of eight attempts to finish with 13 points, his second-highest total of the year.

And, as he has done on several times before, Blake was deadly with the game on the line. His three-pointer from the top of the key with 59 seconds left gave Maryland a two-point lead it never lost.

"I feel very confident shooting the ball toward the end of a game, and teams kind of forget about me," Blake said. "That's why I can take those shots down the stretch."

More time for Wilcox?

Do you think freshman forward Chris Wilcox is earning more playing time in the NCAA tournament?

Wilcox came off the bench to produce six points, one rebound, one assist and one steal in 13 minutes yesterday. He also drew four personal fouls, but he gave Maryland a spark it needed up front, where Lonny Baxter and Terence Morris were ineffective.

"Chris only plays at one speed when you put him in the game," Williams said. "You know something is going to happen. It might not be good, but something is going to happen."

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