Break time for weary Terps

Maryland could have to fend off Yellow Jackets' sting again in ACC tourney

March 08, 2010|By Jeff Barker | jeff.barker@baltsun.com

On Feb. 20, Georgia Tech came closer than any other Atlantic Coast Conference team this season to defeating Maryland at Comcast Center. It took Cliff Tucker's rainbow buzzer-beater for the Terrapins to survive.

Now, Georgia Tech is positioned for a possible rematch of that memorable game at the ACC tournament on Friday night in Greensboro, N.C. The seventh-seeded Yellow Jackets would first have to beat 10th-seeded North Carolina - they have already defeated the Tar Heels twice - on Thursday night to advance to face the Terps, who have a first-round bye.

Georgia Tech was led in the Maryland game by 6-foot-10 freshman Derrick Favors, who had 21 points and 18 rebounds.

Before the second-seeded Terps (23-7, 13-3 ACC) could begin preparing in earnest for any possible opponents, they needed some rest.

The team planned to take off Sunday and today - returning to practice Tuesday afternoon - to allow players to recover from a taxing stretch of games that included an emotional win over No. 4 Duke on Wednesday followed by Saturday's 74-68 victory at Virginia.

The Virginia win - Maryland's first at John Paul Jones Arena since 2006 - was the team's seventh victory in a row. Maryland, ranked 22nd nationally, was expected to move up when the latest Associated Press Top 25 is released today.

"It's been exhausting, of course, but we won the [Virginia] game," senior guard Greivis Vasquez said. "We just beat Duke; we beat Georgia Tech. It's been hard, man," Vasquez said.

"We've got to go from here and see what we can do in the ACC tournament," he said. "We've got a good shot to win the tournament, but we've got to get ready for Friday."

Maryland coach Gary Williams said after the Virginia game that his team may be "mentally tired."

Said guard Sean Mosley: "It's kind of tough playing in this league, playing 16 [conference] games. It's just competitive, and all our guys did a great job in the regular season."

Maryland and Duke finished with identical conference records, but the Blue Devils earned the top seed based on the conference's tiebreaking procedures.

"We worked hard the whole season to get where we are today," Mosley said. "It's one of them feelings that I'll never forget." Maryland had not had a tournament bye since the conference expanded five years ago. The top four regular-season finishers are awarded byes.

Duke and Virginia Tech also got byes. Duke will play the winner of Thursday's game between Virginia and Boston College.

The last bye will go to Florida State, since Wake Forest defeated Clemson on Sunday.

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