UM's Morris delivers with second rebound

11 points, 10 rebounds help forward atone for previous poor showing

NCAA Tournament

West Regional notebook

March 25, 2001|By Christian Ewell and Mike Preston | Christian Ewell and Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

ANAHEIM, Calif. - After a 1-for-11 shooting performance during Maryland's victory over Georgetown, Terence Morris promised to deliver a first-rate performance against Stanford.

He got off on the right foot and overcame foul trouble to have a solid day, with 11 points and 10 rebounds, and helped to negate Stanford's twin big men, Jarron and Jason Collins.

The key yesterday was getting started right, and Morris did that by knocking down a three-pointer from the right wing on Maryland's first possession, 19 seconds into the game.

"When you make the first shot, you feel like you can make any shot that comes out of your hands. ... It gives you confidence not just on offense, but on defense as well," Morris said.

Morris had to sit with two quick fouls in the first half, but he returned to deter shots on defense and rebound on both ends.

This wasn't the first time that Morris had to bounce back from a rotten game. Against George Mason in the first round, he had five rebounds and four points in 28 minutes. The soul-searching led to a 14-point, nine-rebound effort the next game against Georgia State.

He said he also did soul-searching on Thursday night after his no-show against Georgetown.

"I went to practice the next day and worked really hard," Morris said. "I got myself back on track by taking what they gave me, but also being aggressive."

Stopping Jacobsen

Before the game, Stanford's star guard, Casey Jacobsen, lamented poor performances at Arrowhead Pond dating back to high school.

But this time, the venue seemed to have a lot less to do with Jacobsen's 4-for-11 performance than the Maryland players who defended him - a combination of Danny Miller, Byron Mouton and Juan Dixon.

The trio's objective was to make sure that Jacobsen's best opportunities were from inside the arc, not outside, where he was hitting 48 percent of his three-point attempts.

To that end, the Terps made sure they were in Jacobsen's face as soon as he got the ball, preventing him from setting up for any of his shots.

"We knew that the offense runs through [Jacobsen]," said Miller, who did most of the primary work on him. "We just tried to limit him as much as possible. Everyone helped out. We just did a great overall team job on him."

Mouton's moment

Maryland's win meant validation for Byron Mouton's move from his native Louisiana.

The chance to make a Final Four was what brought the small forward from Tulane to College Park in the fall of 1999. He said he told Steve Blake and Williams that when he first came to College Park.

"I told Coach, `I'm here to win a national championship,' " Mouton said. "If not, I could have stayed at Tulane and just been a good player or whatever. But I've been a winner all my life and I wanted to be part of a team that can win a national championship."

Mission denied

Stanford was on a mission to return to the Final Four. The last time the Cardinal was there was 1998, when it lost to Kentucky, 86-85, in overtime.

Stanford had three seniors in the starting lineup yesterday, and they suffered another tough loss.

"You have one opportunity to get to the Final Four,` said Stanford coach Mike Montgomery. "You realize you're going to play a good basketball team to get there."[Maryland] played great. They shot the ball well. Every time we make a play, they had an answer. Maryland disrupted our offense. We had one stretch in the first half where they had a run and we could never get back from that.

"I'm sure Gary Williams is relieved and ecstatic," Montgomery said. "He had to deal with the issue of having so many good basketball teams without advancing to the Final Four. Now he has an answer."

Turning point

Stanford players thought the game's turning point came late in the first half when Maryland went up by nine with a minute left.

"We got ourselves into too big a hole, that's the bottom line," said guard Casey Jacobsen. "When you're down 10 points to a team like Maryland that is playing that well, we didn't think the game was over, but at no point did we have control. We were playing catch-up from too far and they were just too good."

`Ecstatic' for Williams

Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese, one of Williams' closest friends in the business, put down the veil of impartiality as chairman of the NCAA tournament selection committee for a moment to share in the Maryland victory. "Personally, [former Big East commissioner] Dave Gavitt and I are ecstatic," Tranghese said from Philadelphia, where he was watching the East Regional final. "He's been a great coach for a long time and he's finally getting his reward."

Et cetera

This was Maryland's first NCAA tournament win over a higher seed since 1994, when the Terps upset No. 2 Massachusetts, 95-87, in Joe Smith's freshman year. ... Maryland has won 10 of its past 11 games, including four in the NCAA tournament.

Sun staff writer Don Markus contributed to this article.

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