Terps show they rate, beat Badgers in OT

Senior Smith scores 25, rises in OT as UM tops No. 15 Wisconsin, 73-67

Caner-Medley foul shot forces OT

Wilkinson late 3-pointer gives Badgers lead in ACC/Big Ten thriller

December 03, 2003|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - Senior center Jamar Smith scored 25 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, and gave the Maryland Terrapins the lift they needed in overtime last night, as the Terps outlasted No. 15 Wisconsin, 73-67, in a hard-fought, Atlantic Coast Conference/Big Ten Challenge contest before a sellout crowd at Comcast Center.

Smith scored six points in the overtime period, including a huge pair of free throws with 40 seconds left that gave Maryland a 70-65 advantage. That allowed the Terps (4-0) to put away their first ranked opponent of the season, and it allowed them to survive the blistering three-point shooting of Badgers point guard Devin Harris, who scored a game-high 24 points on the strength of 5-for-12 shooting from three-point range.

"I hope we can run our offense like them at some point this year," said Maryland coach Gary Williams. "But my guys' competitiveness and wanting to win that game really showed me something. We had to really suck it up to win that thing."

Last night marked the third time Maryland has faced the Badgers (3-1) in the past four seasons, and the second time the Terps had played Wisconsin in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, with both games requiring an extra period. The Terps lost to the Badgers in overtime in 2000 in Milwaukee.

The Terps were able to make it to overtime because sophomore forward Nik Caner-Medley made a foul shot after missing one with 2.4 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 61. Freshman Maryland guard D.J. Strawberry grabbed a steal and launched a half-court shot that hit the front of the iron as time expired.

Sophomore guard Chris McCray scored 16 points for Maryland on 6-for-8 shooting. Sophomore point guard John Gilchrist had 12 points, a career-high nine assists and seven rebounds.

Maryland seemed to break open a tight contest with just over four minutes left, when Smith made a layup to give the Terps a 54-50 lead. The Terps then forced Wisconsin into a shot-clock violation, then found McCray open at the top of the key. McCray made a three-pointer that extended the lead to 57-50 with 3:04 left.

"We were much faster than them, and I just wanted to face up and go right at them," said Smith, who had his fourth double double of the season. "I have to say this was a must win."

"They didn't have anybody on their team who could guard Jamar," Caner-Medley said. "All we had to do was get him the ball."

But Wisconsin refused to go down quietly. The Badgers took advantage of ill-advised fouls by Travis Garrison and Caner-Medley to convert three free throws, all by Harris.

A three-pointer by McCray, his first basket of the second half, put Maryland up 57-50 with three minutes left in regulation. But Harris scored the Badgers' next six points, and after Smith made one of two free throws for a 60-58 lead with 21 seconds to go, Mike Wilkinson hit a three-pointer to put Wisconsin on top, setting up Caner-Medley's free throws.

"I wasn't going to tell myself to be calm [after the first miss]," Caner-Medley said. "I've never had a game on the line with a free throw before. I'm going to sleep real well tonight."

On the strength of its quickness, eight-point scoring spurts by Smith and McCray and a 14-5 run to end the first half, Maryland took a 30-22 lead into halftime.

The Terps forced nine Wisconsin turnovers and collected eight steals in the opening 20 minutes while shooting a solid 48.4 percent. The half featured three ties and four lead changes.

The Badgers, who were beaten on the boards as well in the first half, managed to stay in contention despite making just six of 20 shots. Wisconsin helped its cause by making three three-point baskets and converting seven of eight free-throw attempts.

The Terps took a 12-5 lead in the opening five minutes by relying on their defensive pressure, fast break and an early spark from Ekene Ibekwe, who came off the bench to relieve Garrison after he drew his second foul with 17:46 left in the first half.

Immediately after replacing Garrison, Ibekwe converted difficult, back-to-back layups in transition. The second came amid traffic in the lane and pushed Maryland in front 8-5. The Terps then forced a turnover, which resulted in a fast-break layup by McCray, who followed with an 18-foot, baseline jumper to make it 12-5.

The Badgers settled down behind Wilkinson, who scored seven of Wisconsin's first 10 points. His five-point flurry - two free throws and a three-pointer from the left wing - cut the Terps' lead to 12-10 with 13:45 left.

That started a 9-0 spurt that gave Wisconsin its first lead of the night at 14-12 with 9:34 to go in the half. Backup forward Zach Morley banked in a 12-footer to tie the game. Harris put the Badgers in front with a layup.

The lead changed hands twice quickly after that, but following a three-pointer from the left corner by Morley that gave the Badgers a 17-16 lead with 7:25 left, Maryland scored eight unanswered points to open up some breathing room, and the rally belonged to Smith.

First, Smith posted up Wilkinson and powered in for a layup. Following a missed shot by Wisconsin, Smith grabbed an offensive rebound and spun underneath the basket before making a difficult hook shot. He then followed a Badgers turnover by banking in an 18-footer, making it 22-17. McCray then hit a short bank shot to give the Terps a 24-17 lead with 3:05 left.

Maryland extended the lead to 26-18 on a put-back by Garrison. A 12-foot jumper by Boo Wade trimmed the lead to 26-20, but the Terps got another lift from Garrison and McCray. Garrison made an 8-foot runner, followed by McCray's 15-footer that made it 30-22 with 34 seconds left.

But Maryland showed its youth soon after. After forcing a missed shot, the Terps rushed the ball down the court, where Gilchrist and Smith failed to execute an alley-oop, instead of holding the ball for the last shot.

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