Last-second foul in OT dooms Terps at Miami

No. 22 loses 2nd of week on 'Canes' foul shots, 75-73

College Basketball

February 06, 2005|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - The decision was made in less than two minutes, but it must have felt like an eternity for the Maryland Terrapins.

As the referees gathered around a television monitor to determine if Miami forward William Frisby had been fouled before or after the overtime buzzer, the Terps huddled about 5 yards away, seemingly resigned to their fate.

Ten minutes earlier, officials ruled that a potentially game-winning three by Guillermo Diaz came after the buzzer in regulation, but this time, the Terps got the news they were expecting - and dreading.

The referees determined that Maryland's Mike Jones fouled Frisby with eight-tenths of a second left in overtime and the Hurricanes senior confidently sank two free throws and Chris McCray then missed a desperation three-point attempt as Miami edged the 22nd-ranked Terps, 75-73, in front of 7,000 at the Convocation Center.

"I wasn't really nervous," said Frisby, whose layup had given Miami a 73-70 lead with 2:21 left in overtime before McCray tied the game on a three-pointer with 1:14 to play. "I was more happy, like, `Wow, I am about to win this game for us.'"

It was yet another tough defeat for the Terps, who allowed Frisby to corral a rebound on the decisive play after forcing Robert Hite to shoot an air ball. It was the Terps' second Atlantic Coast Conference loss of the week against a team below them in the standings, and Maryland (13-7, 4-5) now faces an important home game against Virginia Tech on Tuesday.

"We're in a pretty bad situation," said Terps junior John Gilchrist, who was extremely brief when asked to sum up the outcome. "They wanted to win. We just played to play. That's the difference."

McCray, who scored 20 of his career-high 23 points after halftime and willed the Terps down the stretch, summed up his team's current state by saying, "There ain't too much further we can go down."

Terps coach Gary Williams, who has defended his team after losses this season, didn't yesterday. Asked about Nik Caner-Medley, who had his second consecutive subpar game, scoring eight points on 2-for-10 shooting, Williams said, "It's time to be a player. Players have to play."

Williams said he thought the officials made the right call, both on Diaz's shot and the foul on Frisby. The Terps coach also didn't question a charge call on Caner-Medley, who thought he had put the Terps ahead 75-73 with 14 seconds left in the extra session on a baseline drive.

Caner-Medley had no quarrel, either. "That's a great crew of officials and I am very confident that they made the right call," he said.

On the Hurricanes' final possession, the Terps went to a box-in-one defense with McCray denying Diaz, who had a game-high 27 points and had carried the Hurricanes (14-7, 5-5) late. They forced Hite to take a tough shot, but Frisby went unaccounted for under the basket.

"We played OK, but you have to step up and make plays in crucial situations and we didn't," said Williams, whose team did make a season-high 11 three-pointers but was 14-for-22 from the foul line. "We didn't get the ball there. That's our rebound."

The lapse capped another inconsistent effort by the Terps, who were without key reserve Ekene Ibekwe (bad back).

"He came to me before the game and he said he couldn't play, his back hurt," Williams said of the sophomore center. "That's all I know. ... I guess he slept on it funny or something."

Much like they did in a 15-point loss to Clemson on Tuesday, the Terps played an awful first half with more turnovers (12) than field goals (nine). At one point, they had only one field goal in an 8:54 span against the Miami zone.

That Maryland trailed only 29-26 at intermission had more to do with the Hurricanes' offensive struggles - they shot only 20.6 percent from the field.

But the Terps, encouraged by a crowd that seemed to be at least 40 percent pro-Maryland, came alive in the second half behind McCray and Jones (14 points, seven rebounds).

Maryland trailed 53-48 at the 8:36 mark before taking a 60-57 lead on back-to-back threes by Caner-Medley and McCray.

"[Coach Williams] said, `Forget everything, just shoot the ball,' " McCray said.

Diaz, guarded by McCray all day, sandwiched five straight points around a Gilchrist three-pointer to give Miami a 66-65 edge with 1:17 left. Anthony King made one of two free throws, giving Miami a 67-65 lead.

Gilchrist missed a short jumper in the lane, but junior Travis Garrison grabbed the rebound and was fouled with four seconds left. He converted both free throws before Diaz's shot from just inside half court barely missed beating the buzzer.

"The team showed tremendous poise down the stretch," said Miami coach Frank Haith, whose team won despite shooting a season-low 31.9 percent.

The Terps did, too, but that mattered little when Frisby stepped to the line.

Jones said he didn't think he fouled him, but maintained, "That's not the point. The point is we didn't get that last rebound. That pretty much sums up the game right there."

Next for Maryland

Matchup: No. 22 Maryland (13-7, 4-5) vs. Virginia Tech (12-8, 5-4)

Site: Comcast Center, College Park

When: Tuesday, 9 p.m.

TV/Radio: Comcast SportsNet/WBAL (1090 AM)

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