For Terps, it's back to drawing board

UM's bright spots are few after flop vs. Wake Forest

College Basketball

January 17, 2003|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - At least Maryland was able to erase its uninspired play enough to compete. But after a valiant second-half comeback fell short at Wake Forest on Wednesday night, the No. 17 Terps were left to wonder how they could have hit the floor with such a thud throughout most of their 81-72 loss to the Demon Deacons.

The trouble started right away for Maryland, which did not attack the boards with any authority and lacked hustle, in general. Freshman forwards Travis Garrison and Nik Caner-Medley looked intimidated, senior center Ryan Randle lacked presence inside and guard Drew Nicholas could not get a jump shot to fall.

The No. 19 Demon Deacons took the action to Maryland all night, evidenced by Wake's 34-for-42 show at the free-throw line. The Terps shot only 18 free throws while making 12, and got outrebounded decisively, 49-36.

Besides the determined play of senior point guard Steve Blake - who was sporting ice on his left knee after a 15-point, seven-assist evening - the Terps' silver lining could be traced to their bench, which put on its best show of the season.

Led by senior guard Calvin McCall and freshman guard Chris McCray, the Terps outscored Wake Forest's bench, 36-5. McCall scored eight of his 10 points in the first half, when he almost single-handedly prevented the Demon Deacons from running away early.

"I don't think we went after it a hundred percent. We came out flat, and that's a bad way to start out, especially on the road," said McCall, who also grabbed four rebounds and suffered a cut above his left eye after absorbing an elbow from a Wake player during an extremely physical contest.

"When I come into the game, I'm trying to give the guys a lift. I tried to get the guys excited," he added. "I think I did that, for the most part."

McCray supplied more heat in the second half, scoring all eight of his points during Maryland's 22-7 run that cut Wake's 59-42 lead to 66-64 with five minutes left. McCray also had a team-high six rebounds.

"Maybe it takes a game [like this] to learn. Wake worked harder than we did on the glass," Maryland coach Gary Williams said. "If we're going to do anything this year, we have to respond like we do at home."

The Terps (9-4, 2-1), who already have equaled last year's loss total, need to regroup quickly at home, with top-ranked Duke coming in. In four tries, Maryland has yet to beat a team currently ranked.

NOTE: John Guthrie, coordinator of basketball officials for the ACC, said he spoke with Williams on the phone yesterday regarding a complaint by Williams that referee Doug Chowes said he would "see you next week" in a threatening manner. Williams drew a technical foul midway through the second half, which preceded a late technical on Blake and a heated post-game exchange of words between Blake and Wake forward Josh Howard. "We're in the process of gathering information and we'll go from there," Guthrie said.

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