Uninspired Terps turn back Hofstra

Poor shooting, lethargy mar 87-72 win

Williams says `nobody played well'

College Basketball

November 30, 2003|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - Maybe the Maryland Terrapins were looking ahead to a juicy part of their schedule. Maybe they played down to the level of their competition. Maybe they still have a world of growing up to do.

Whatever the case, the Terps did not exactly shine in last night's 87-72 victory over Hofstra at Comcast Center, where Maryland never could lower the boom on a Colonial Athletic Association opponent it should have dispatched with much more ease.

In a game that required well over two hours and was played before a listless announced sellout crowd, Maryland was uninspired from the start, leaving coach Gary Williams red-faced with frustration.

"We talked a lot about pride and performance," Williams said after a lengthy post-game chat with his team, the most inexperienced he has coached in College Park. "We talked about how, over the last 11 years, we've worked very hard to build a certain pride in our program. All you can ask is that the players play with emotion.

"They've never lost to a team they were supposed to beat. I have. I have that fear every time I step on the court. Hopefully, each time you go out with a young team, you learn a team like Hofstra is going to play. They ran their offense better than we did. Defensively, we weren't good. Nobody played well."

The best thing that happened was Maryland (3-0) won again, although this was not a crisp way to tune up for the hurdles just ahead. During the next 10 days, beginning with Tuesday's visit by No. 15 Wisconsin, the Terps will encounter three Top 20 teams. Sixteenth-ranked Gonzaga and No. 8 Florida are the others.

Maryland shot poorly, both from the field and especially the free-throw line, where it was 31-for-55, the third-most attempts in school history. That basically negated a night in which its defense forced 25 turnovers and notched 14 steals.

Otherwise, the Terps played defense with detachment. They were outworked on the boards. They failed to capitalize on foul trouble that hampered the Pride (1-3) all night, eventually claiming four Hofstra starters and six players overall.

Maryland trailed for nearly the first eight minutes of the game, as it encountered more problems against a 2-3 zone defense and fell behind 11-2. The Terps were able to take a 49-36 lead at halftime, then stretched it to 59-38 on a four-point play by guard Chris McCray with 16:39 left in the game.

The Terps led by 20 points with 11 minutes left, but the cakewalk never materialized. Maryland had to endure a Hofstra comeback, led by guards Danny Walker (team-high 19 points) and Carlos Rivera (11 points), that pulled the Pride to within 76-66 with 4:09 left.

"There's nothing to smile about at all," said Terps sophomore point guard John Gilchrist, who turned in the most consistent effort by a Maryland player, with 18 points, six assists, five steals and only one turnover. "We have a very talented team, and sometimes we feel like we can just get by with that. We really need to step it up."

The Terps were uneven in many facets. Sophomore forward Nik Caner-Medley led the team with 19 points on 7-for-13 shooting, but had just two rebounds - none at the defensive end - in 33 minutes. Senior center Jamar Smith had a double double (11 points, 10 rebounds) that rang hollow. He missed eight of 11 shots, missed five of 10 free throws and committed four turnovers.

Sophomore forward Travis Garrison made eight of 12 foul shots but converted just two field goals in 17 minutes. Maryland's bench was outscored by Hofstra's, 18-15.

At least the Terps maintained their composure in the game's final four minutes and avoided a loss. Their defense buckled down, and a free throw by D.J. Strawberry, a 10-foot baseline jumper by Caner-Medley and fast-break layup by Smith, thanks to a nice feed from Gilchrist, put Maryland on top 81-66 with 3:02 left.

The Pride would get no closer than 82-70 after that.

"We didn't come ready to play," said Strawberry, who contributed five points and three steals in 19 minutes. "When we got here tonight, we weren't focused, and we weren't focused the rest of the night. We know we can't play like this for the rest of the season. It's not acceptable."
































3-point goals-Hofstra 7-22 (Danny Walker 1-3, Gibran Washington 1-2, Carlos Rivera 2-6, Woody Souffrant 1-2, Michael Radziejewski 1-6, Aurimas Kieza 1-3). Maryland 4-13 (Nik Caner-Medley 2-3, John Gilchrist 1-3, Chris Mccray 1-4, Andre Collins 0-1, M

Next for Terps

Matchup: No. 15 Wisconsin (3-0) vs. Maryland (3-0) in ACC/Big Ten Challenge

Site: Comcast Center, College Park

When: Tuesday, 9:30 p.m.

TV/Radio: ESPN2/WBAL (1090 AM)

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