Terps rise to occasion

After 4 blowout wins in row, UM faces tougher opponent and rallies to defeat 49ers for 7th consecutive victory

Maryland Men 85 Charlotte 75

January 04, 2009|By Jeff Barker | Jeff Barker,jeff.barker@baltsun.com

COLLEGE PARK - After routing four consecutive opponents at Comcast Center, Maryland encountered something a little different yesterday. It's called competition.

Charlotte, which had come within one point of upsetting Clemson in November, fell to the Terrapins, 85-75, for Maryland's seventh straight victory. The win kept the Terps undefeated at Comcast Center at 9-0.

But, rest assured, when it was over, Maryland felt like it had been in a ballgame. Which is probably good for the Terps (11-2) because their Atlantic Coast Conference schedule begins Saturday with a visit by Georgia Tech.

"This is good for our team to be down like we were early and to see what we can do in that situation because we haven't been in that situation for a while," coach Gary Williams said. "We had to work hard to dig ourselves out of a hole."

The Terps had won their previous four games - against Delaware State, American, Bryant and Elon - by an average of 23 points. But they knew immediately yesterday that they were in for a test.

Charlotte, helped by a bevy of three-point shots, went up by 11 and didn't trail in the first half. The 49ers were led in the game by 21 points from RaShad Coleman, who punctuated one field goal by putting his finger to his lips as if to silence the crowd. The student section had been taunting Coleman because he shot an air ball on an earlier foul shot.

The Terps didn't take their first lead until Landon Milbourne's two free throws made it 46-45 with 17:48 left in the game.

Charlotte (5-7) tied the score at 49 moments later on driving basket by forward Charles Dewhurst, who landed awkwardly and left the game for good with a knee injury.

After that, it was all Terps.

Led by its defense, Maryland scored the next 16 points to make it 65-49 with 11:27 remaining. Greivis Vasquez, who finished with 27 points - one short of his career high - had five points during the run, Milbourne and Adrian Bowie each had four, and Sean Mosley hit a three-pointer.

Mosley, a freshman guard from St. Frances, had the best game of his young career with 11 points and five rebounds, four of them offensive. His previous highs had been six points and six rebounds. He played with emotion, pumping his fist as he hit a three to put the Terps up 62-49.

"I think this game right here helped me out for confidence a lot, just shooting the ball, playing defense and rebounding," Mosley said.

Mosley, who played 23 minutes, has won playing time because of his tenacity in practice.

"I know the guys from the first team don't like to play against him because he's very physical," Williams said.

Mosley's teammates said they were pleased to see the freshman excel. Mosley had been dogged earlier in the season by a bad ankle.

"It was awesome for him," senior forward Dave Neal said. "In practice he probably leads the team in rebounding. He crashes the board really hard."

Williams said it's time his team earned its due.

"At 11-2 hopefully we get some national recognition," he said. "If you look at the polls, I think we have as good [of] wins as a lot of these teams that are in the lower part of the polls. And hopefully somebody will take notice of that."

MORGAN STATE (5-8) @MARYLAND (11-2)

Wednesday, 8 p.m.

TV: Comcast SportsNet

PLAY IT AGAIN

Keys to the game

Defense ignited a 16-0 Maryland run that put the Terps ahead 65-49. Maryland forced three turnovers during the stretch. The Terps also had several second chances because of their 19 offensive rebounds.

Did you notice?

* Charlotte tried a variety of defenses, including a box-and-one and a triangle-and-two.

* Maryland got great bench production, notably from Sean Mosley, and seemed to wear Charlotte down.

* The Terps continued their excellent foul shooting, hitting 16 of 19.

Left to ponder

At 6 feet 10, Charlotte reserve Phil Jones

towered over all other players. Wonder how

Maryland will do when it faces a really good

big man.

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