UM takes another tumble vs. 'Pack

No. 22 Terps fall, 82-63, fail to build on Duke win

N.C. State hits 13 threes

Williams: `This is on the players'

College Basketball

February 17, 2005|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

RALEIGH, N.C. - Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams has accepted the blame for a couple of the Terrapins' losses this season and made sure his team has gotten the credit for several big wins.

But last night, after the 22nd-ranked Terps were dominated by North Carolina State, 82-63, before 16,393 at the RBC Center, Williams broke from tradition.

Asked to explain why the Terps, who were coming off an emotional victory over Duke on Saturday night, didn't play well against the Wolfpack, Williams directed the blame at his locker room and didn't mince words.

"Ask the players," he said. "This is on the players. I worked hard to get ready for this game. You ask the players why they weren't ready to play. ... It's very frustrating. My teams aren't like this. They play hard every night. I'm very frustrated."

Looking for their first three-game Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season winning streak in two seasons, the Terps fell behind by as many as 20 in the first half and never recovered.

The loss dropped the Terps (15-8, 6-6) into a fourth-place tie with Miami in the ACC. Maryland has four regular-season games left, the first being at Virginia on Saturday. The Terps are still in good position to capture a 12th straight NCAA tournament bid, even though they have yet to prove they can beat an opponent not named Duke on its home court.

The Terps' ACC record away from Comcast Center dropped to 1-5, and last night's loss came at a place where Maryland had won four straight. The Wolfpack, which needs a strong late-season run to have a shot at the NCAA tournament, improved to 15-10 overall and 5-7 in the ACC, completing their first series sweep of the Terrapins since the 1988-89 season.

"We came in here feeling pretty good about ourselves and they made us pay for it," Williams said. "We haven't learned how to do that this year. With four games left this season, we have to accept the responsibility. We get a win like that against Duke and you have to use that to springboard into the next game and we didn't do that.

"Players have to do it. I've coached a long time. I know what it takes to do it. The people that play have to get it done."

N.C. State, which hit 12 three pointers in its victory in College Park last month, made 13 last night and seemingly hit one every time Maryland made a run. The Wolfpack had assists on 22 of its 25 field goals and shot 19-for-21 from the foul line.

Ilian Evtimov and Tony Bethel led the Wolfpack with 17 points each and shot a combined 8-for-14 from three-point range. Engin Atsur scored 14 points and Julius Hodge had 13 points and nine assists.

Meanwhile, Maryland got just seven points from John Gilchrist, who shot just 1-for-6 from the field and didn't have a field goal in the second half. Neither did Nik Caner-Medley, who scored a game-high 19 points, but only two in the second half. Ekene Ibekwe shot just 1-for-8 from the floor and Travis Garrison was 4-for-10.

"It was a combination of a lot of things," Gilchrist said. "Obviously coming in, we didn't have the same intensity, but you can't use that as an excuse."

The Terps were behind by 14 at halftime, prompting to shuffle things up in the second. He continued to stay with a zone defense, which slowed the Wolfpack late in the first half.

He sat Will Bowers and Garrison, who started the game, in favor of James Gist and Ibekwe. And then he yanked Gilchrist, who was so good on Saturday against Duke but struggled mightily last night, early in the second half and replaced him with Sterling Ledbetter.

Maryland cut its deficit to 10 about three minutes into the half, only to watch Evtimov drill two three-pointers to expand the Wolfpack's lead to 58-41 with 14:23 remaining.

That trend continued throughout the second half as the Wolfpack answered every Terps run with a big shot. Atsur nailed a big three-pointer after Ledbetter had cut the Terps' deficit to 12 on a drive with 12:48 remaining.

Consecutive three-point plays by Gist and Garrison then cut N.C. State's lead to 63-56 with just over seven minutes remaining, and the Maryland bench was alive for the first time in more than an hour.

But then Atsur got free, after Gilchrist fell down, for a layup inside and Bethel hit a three-pointer to give N.C. State a 68-56 lead with 5:14 to play.

Jordan Collins then hit N.C. State's 13th three-pointer to make it 71-58 and essentially seal the deal for the Wolfpack.

"We played well offensively, moved the ball well and we were hitting on all cylinders," said N.C. State coach Herb Sendek. "We attacked the basket and we played great team defense."

Next for Maryland

Matchup: No. 22 Maryland (15-8, 6-6) vs. Virginia (13-10, 4-8)

Site: University Hall, Charlottesville, Va.

When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

TV/Radio: Chs. 13, 9/WBAL (1090 AM)

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